Angels won’t renew contract of scouting director
The Angels fired scouting director Eddie Bane on Wednesday, informing the 58-year-old that his contract would not be renewed. He has held the position since 2003.
Bane, whose two-year deal expires after this season, oversaw a department that was responsible for drafting and developing such highly regarded prospects as Jered Weaver, Kendry Morales, Nick Adenhart, Hank Conger, Peter Bourjos and Mike Trout.
But the farm system, among the top five in the game from 2005 to 2007, has fallen to 25th according to Baseball America’s most recent rankings. The club has also developed very few power hitters in recent years.
In addition to Bane’s dismissal, the Angels fired three amateur scouts, Jim Bryant, Bart Braun Jr. and Jeff Scholzen.
Repeated attempts to reach Bane were unsuccessful. General Manager Tony Reagins declined to discuss his reasons for the firing.
“I made a decision, and beyond that, I’m not going to comment on a personnel matter,” Reagins said after the Angels’ 2-1, 11-inning win over the Oakland Athletics in Angel Stadium. “It’s not appropriate for me to comment in the media.”
However, there were indications from sources familiar with the Angels’ front office that philosophical differences between Bane and Reagins led to the split.
Bane, who was hired by former general manager Bill Stoneman, is more of an “old-school” baseball man, a former major league pitcher with a background in scouting and coaching.
A former Arizona State star who was a first-round pick of the Minnesota Twins in 1973, Bane spent 11 years as a national cross-checker and major league scout for the Dodgers and three seasons as a minor league coach and manager.
Bane preferred high-risk, high-reward draft picks, players who graded high on raw tools and athletic ability but maybe weren’t as polished or as close to being big-league ready as others. His drafts always leaned more toward high school than college players.
Twice, Bane drafted and failed to sign outfielder Patrick White, a quarterback who played football at West Virginia. He signed Washington quarterback Jake Locker to a $300,000 bonus in 2009, even though Locker is expected to be a top NFL pick next spring.
Reagins, the team’s farm director when Bane was hired in 2003, never played baseball professionally and is part of a relatively new generation of executives who rely heavily on statistical analysis.
As a result, the two did not always see eye to eye on players in the farm system.
Bane recently interviewed for the Arizona GM position but didn’t get the job. He could be abrasive at times and was outspoken in his criticism of agents during negotiations for some top draft picks.
He waged a lengthy war of words with agent Scott Boras in the year it took the Angels to sign Weaver after selecting the pitcher in the first round of the 2004 draft.
Reagins said his search for Bane’s successor will begin immediately. Tory Hernandez, the Angels’ manager of baseball operations, is expected to be among the candidates.
After the Angels failed to score after loading the bases with one out in each of the ninth and 10th innings, Torii Hunter hit a two-out, run-scoring single to center in the 11th to lift them to their 10th walk-off win of the season in their final home game.
Hunter’s game-winner was the only hit the Angels had in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position on the afternoon.
Joel Pineiro allowed one run and five hits in seven innings, and Michael Kohn, Kevin Jepsen and Bobby Cassevah each threw an inning of scoreless relief for the Angels, who took over sole possession of second place in the American League West.
“We ended on a good note at home, and that’s a good thing,” Hunter said. “The fans got excited. They got more than their money’s worth.”