The Best GM That No One Knows
It’s difficult to tell when one of these "resignations" occurs whether it was a concealed firing, the resolution of a power struggle, or an actual resignation, but if the reports that Los Angeles Angels GM Bill Stoneman is resigning are true (ESPN Story), there should be a long list of suitors for his services.
Stoneman is one of the most understated, unnoticed and successful GMs in baseball over the past ten years and he has built the Los Angeles Angels into a consistent winner with a productive farm system. There have been criticisms of Stoneman saying that he never filled the Angels need of a power bat to protect Vladimir Guerrero in the Angels lineup, but one thing about Stoneman is that he’s not going to do something desperate and stupid to fill a need if it’s going to affect the franchise in the long term. The success of the Angels should be enough to deflect any criticisms of their general manager.
Stoneman isn’t one of the current crop of GMs who speaks in corporate circles to make himself sound smarter than he is while saying a few paragraphs that (when they’re analyzed) actually said nothing at all. In fact, I don’t know if I ever remember hearing Stoneman’s voice. That doesn’t take away from his effectiveness as an executive, in fact, it adds to it. He probably wouldn’t do well in a big market area like New York or Boston where the GMs are constantly under siege, but if a team that needs to pretty much start over again wants to hire someone competent who will turn things around, Stoneman would be a good choice.
The Devil Rays come to mind as such a team. Perhaps after three or four more losing seasons, they’ll realize the mistake they’re making by not immediately replacing the clueless Andrew Friedman with one of the two top GMs now available in Walt Jocketty and Stoneman and then they’ll make a change, but by then it will be too late to make up for all the wasted time. Maybe I’m giving them too much credit. The same arrogance that is compelling them to maintain their current course will preclude them from taking the proper steps to fix their problems. Rest assured there will be one or two teams that are getting quality management in Walt Jocketty and/or Bill Stoneman.