It was a logical first question to ask of a 71-year-old man who is eight years removed from his stint as the Angels general manager and was enjoying a comfortable semi-retirement as a senior advisor for the team before being pulled back into the demanding 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week life of a baseball GM.
Are you nuts?
“We’ll see,” Bill Stoneman said with a chuckle Thursday morning, one day after he was named the Angels' interim general manager for the remainder of the season. “I don’t know. All of this came up so quickly, and it’s only a three- or four-month type thing, so we’ll give it a run.”
Stoneman was in a rental car with his wife, Diane, on Highway 16 in Georgia, heading to Savannah for his son’s wedding on Friday. Two nights earlier, he was in an Angel Stadium suite, like he normally is, watching a game against the New York Yankees, when team president John Carpino came in for a chat.
Jerry Dipoto was about to resign as general manager in the wake of renewed friction with Manager Mike Scioscia, the man Stoneman hired back in 1999. Would Stoneman be willing to take on an interim general manager role just one month before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline?
Stoneman, company man to the core, loyal to the team he helped guide to the 2002 World Series championship, agreed.
“Hopefully I have the energy to do it and my mind still works well enough to do it,” Stoneman said. “I did it for eight years. We’ll see how much I’ve lost over the years. Mike and I always got along fine, and I always got along with players. I don’t know why it should be any different. I just have to get caught up.”
That process will begin Monday, after Stoneman returns from his son’s wedding and sits down with Assistant General Managers Matt Klentak and Scott Servais and other members of the front office.
Stoneman said Klentak will handle much of the trade talks and day-to-day operations of the club until he can get up to speed.
“I’m going to want to know what they’re talking about, and when we get a chance to sit down, we’ll figure out how communications will get done,” Stoneman said. “We’ll see where it goes. There are good people there, guys I know and trust. We’ll get all of that taken care of.”
Almost all of those people, including Klentak, were hired by Dipoto, which could be a source of conflict or tension between the front office and field staff, but Scioscia said it will not be awkward moving forward with the current regime.
“There will be absolutely no problem with the guys who are still here and doing their jobs,” Scioscia said. “I think Bill will keep us together. He’ll keep the communication going, and his decision-making process is incredible. I think it will be a calming effect for the front office and staff.”
Stoneman has worked closely with every member of the front office, and he has a longstanding relationship with Scioscia and his coaches. As volatile as the situation might be following Dipoto’s departure, Stoneman does not enter as an outsider.
“We’ll work things out,” Stoneman said. “I know everybody on the staff. I have to get caught up, but the relationships should be good. I just don’t see that there will be issues going forward.”
Stoneman said Dipoto also reached out to him to offer guidance or information on trade talks.
“Jerry and I got along fine, and if I have to call him, I’ll call him,” Stoneman said. “He said he will help out if he can. He wants to make sure things run well too. The guys who are working there, he cares for. He wants this to work out as much as anyone.”