Interim General Manager Bill Stoneman joined the Angels in Seattle this week and met with Manager Mike Scioscia to discuss, among other things, the team's needs leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.
"Bill is trying to get up to speed on some things, but it's good to have him back in the fold," Scioscia said before Friday night's 7-3 victory over the Mariners in Safeco Field. "We worked together for a long time. Our conversations just picked up where they left off."
So, the Angels are looking for a big bat to protect Vladimir Guerrero and a left-handed reliever to balance an all right-handed bullpen? Scioscia chuckled at the quip, saying, "Those were the conversations for a while, huh?"
They were when Stoneman, now 71, resigned as GM following the 2007 season. Stoneman took over in late 1999 and helped guide the Angels to the 2002 World Series championship and American League West titles in 2004, 2005 and 2007, but he never did land that big bat so many clamored for.
The Angels don't necessarily need a "big bat" this summer — they've got two huge ones in Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, who have combined for 52 home runs and 110 runs batted in after Trout's two homers Friday — but they could use an upgrade over Matt Joyce (.195) in left field and an established leadoff hitter.
That's why Jerry Dipoto was targeting players such as Philadelphia's Ben Revere, Milwaukee's Adam Lind and Oakland's Josh Reddick and Ben Zobrist before he resigned in the wake of renewed friction with Scioscia on July 1.
"We know what sort of stuff we prefer," said Stoneman, who served as a senior advisor for the past eight years. "My standard answer when asked about trade stuff is you're always looking to make yourself better, no matter what time of year it is."
Stoneman was nowhere near as active on the trade front as Dipoto. His most significant July acquisition was reserve outfielder Alex Ochoa in 2002. But Stoneman won't feel compelled to make a deal just to make one.
"If it's the intelligent thing to do, you do it. If it's, 'Hey, there are expectations that you have to do something?' No. That's not the sort of pressure I bend to," Stoneman said. "Is it something that's good for us? If it is, then you go for it. Those calls are actually pretty easy."
Stoneman said he and assistant GM Matt Klentak are handling most of the trade talks and assistant GM Scott Servais and baseball operations director Justin Hollander have input.
"We share the calls and share the information," Stoneman said. "And every day, we're communicating."
What happens when trade talks reach a critical point?
"I suppose I'd have final say … but I'm leaning on the guys in the office who are up to speed on everything," Stoneman said. "Everyone will have an opinion. You take the information you've got. If four guys are saying they love this guy and I don't, I'm going to say, 'What am I missing here?' and think that they're probably right."
There is a perception that Scioscia won a "power struggle" with Dipoto and that the manager will now have more of a say in personnel matters, but Stoneman, who hired Scioscia in 1999, expects the GM-manager dynamic to remain the same as it was during his eight years at the helm.
"It won't be any different than it was back in the day," Stoneman said. "I always kept Mike involved."