Well, the deal for Gary Matthews Jr. got me thinking about the tenure of Bill Stoneman as general manager of the Anaheim Angels, aka the LAAoA.
The first few years were definitely intriguing. The Brian Cooper for Brad Fullmer trade was nails and the signing of Kelvim Escobar prior to 2004 was inspired. Going after Colon was a good move even after a sub-par 2004 and 2006 injury aside. The signing of Jose Guillen to start in LF was genius. Guillen had a monster year in 2004 even though the end of the year was stupid and he ended up being a complete ass, the idea to go after Guillen was a good, outside-the-box idea that worked out from a production standpoint. Then, as Gullen fell out of favor and became a persona non grata in Anaheim, Stoneman was able to swindle the Expos out of Maicer Izturis AND
Juan Rivera for Guillen. That trade, right there, made me believe in Stoneman as a legit GM. A big-picture guy, a thinker and risk-taker. Not so much anymore, but we'll get to that.
Those moves were obviously good moves, but there were obviously bad moves too. Edmonds for Bottenfield and Kennedy comes to mind first, Callaspo for Bulger and the JC Romero deal (Casilli?, Casilla?) are too new to completely lambaste, but we're getting there.
The extensions to Erstad and Anderson reek of stupidity as does the releasing of a bullpen's worth of quality relievers: Jenks, Turnbow, Peralta and Woods. Young, cheap talent is what allows you to go get the big name player to round-out your club. The team released those bullpen arms and went and spent upwards of $30 million on Yan, Carrasco and now Speier. That is money that could be spent elsewhere.
There are other moves that Stoneman doesn't deserve too much credit for - as they were moves that fell into his lap. Landing Guerrero seems to have been sheer luck. Realize, I don't condemn him for this move, but he shouldn't get too much credit either.
However, there are a couple of moves that really made me change my thinking on Bill Stoneman. The first happened only a few days after the trade of Guillen for Izturis and Rivera. The releasing of David Eckstein and then the signing of Orlando Cabrera to play SS. At the time the team acquired Izturis I assumed that he would take over for Eckstein if they wanted to go in another direction at SS. At no time did I think that spending $32 million on a bad offensive player was an option. The fact that this year Izturis was not significantly worse than OC in a good offensive year for OC speaks to the fact that Izturis (aka Mice-Tits) should have been given the SS job in 2005 and OC should not have been signed.
Then there is the signing of Sarge Jr. I am flummoxed. I can't find words to describe the crappiness of this signing. It is mind-numbing.
Bill Stoneman is not a good GM. Bill Stoneman is, in point of fact, a bad GM, and this free agent acquisition has absolutely sealed the deal on his status.