Longtime Royals scout departs for Angels

Ingrained in KC ops, Watson also has close ties to L.A. front office

December 13th, 2020

KANSAS CITY -- Over the past week, Gene Watson pored over his list of pros and cons about accepting the Angels' offer to become their special advisor to general manager Perry Minasian.

The cons were obvious: Leaving his longtime friend and “brother,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore; leaving new owner John Sherman, whom Watson admires deeply; and leaving manager Mike Matheny, whom Watson believes is the right man to lead Kansas City back to a World Series very soon.

But in the end, Watson couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be involved in every aspect of the Angels’ baseball operation under Minasian, someone Watson has known since Minasian was a kid growing up in the Dallas area.

“Kansas City, with all that young pitching coming up, is ready to rock ‘n roll again,” Watson told MLB.com by phone. “And you have that three-headed monster right now with Dayton Moore, John Sherman and Mike Matheny that’s going to lead them right back to another championship. I’m absolutely sure of it.

“It is very difficult to leave that behind. But at the end of the day, the opportunity for me was just too great to pass up. This is going to be a dream job, and I’m going to be able to advise Perry on every aspect of Angels baseball. This is going to be exciting.”

Watson has been a Royals scout and executive for 14 years, most recently as senior director of pro scouting and assistant to the general manager. He has also been a mentor of sorts for Minasian for decades.

In fact, Watson once served as Minasian’s basketball coach in the Dallas area when Minasian was nine years old.

“I only knew two phrases about basketball,” Watson said, laughing, “and they were ‘Keep your hands up!’ and “Move your feet!’ So I would just go around screaming that. And I also had a towel in my mouth like Tark [former UNLV men's basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian]. I could fake it. But we were a great team.”

Watson first began working under Moore with the Braves in 2000. Watson later worked with the Marlins, receiving a World Series ring with them in '03. Watson got another World Series ring with the Royals in '15.

The Watson-Moore relationship extends well beyond baseball, too.

“First, I love Gene like a brother.,” Moore said. “He is a close friend to me, to my family. He is respected and appreciated by our entire organization. We are all so happy he is getting this opportunity. Gene has been a tremendous influence in my life, and [he] will have that same influence for Perry. We both desire to see Perry do well.

“Although it is hard emotionally for both of us, I know Gene is doing the right thing. I’m proud of him. I’m thankful for our relationship, and we are all so appreciative of his support and dedication to the Royals. His contributions are countless.

“Gene Watson cares about the sport, our industry and most importantly, about people. And I have no doubt we will continue to work together both inside and outside the baseball community, regardless that we will be working for different organizations.”

Watson agreed that his relationship with Moore will remain a major part of his life.

“Dayton is bigger than baseball,” Watson said. “If you just go around the Kansas City community, that is obvious. His influence extends well beyond the game of baseball. His impact on other people begins the moment he wakes up and continues until he goes to bed. He is truly an amazing person.”