News Analysis:  Angels’ new general manager Perry Minasian is a baseball lifer with an unusual path

The Angels' newly- hired general manager Perry Minasian.
The Angels hired Perry Minasian as their new general manager on Thursday.
(Kevin Liles / Atlanta Braves)

Perry Minasian, the man named Thursday as the new general manager of the Angels, may not be the baseball operations leader fans expected their long-suffering team to hire.

But with the help of veteran manager Joe Maddon and the support of owner Arte Moreno and president John Carpino, he could be the executive who reverses the course of a team that has a 417-453 record since its last postseason appearance in 2014 and guides Mike Trout to the first playoff win of his career.

That’s what the Angels are hoping to get from the first-time general manager, the fourth first-timer they’ve hired to lead baseball operations since Moreno bought the team in 2003.

His “background in scouting and player development along with his unique understanding of roster construction were the leading factors” in his hiring, said Moreno in a news release announcing that Minasian, 40, who was among more than 16 interviewed for the job, had been signed to a four-year contract.


Minasian has an unconventional background.

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His baseball career began in 1988 when he started working as a batboy with the Texas Rangers, for whom his father, Zack, ran the clubhouse for two decades. He was joined there by brothers Rudy, Zack Jr. and Calvin.

Minasian became a clubhouse attendant in the late 1990s. He transitioned into talent evaluation, served as staff assistant to Rangers manager Buck Showalter from 2003 to 2006 and worked as an advance scout before joining the Toronto Blue Jays’ scouting department in 2009.

His childhood experience proved invaluable.

“It’s hard to even quantify the impact” of growing up in the Rangers’ clubhouse, said Zack Minasian Jr., who is now the San Francisco Giants’ pro scouting director. “It’s not only you get a sense of baseball philosophy and baseball in general, but even just team building. You know how players can work off of each other, complementing each other.

“Perry was there longer than I was, so he saw some really talented teams. And we also saw teams with talent that didn’t win. [We learned] how those players meshed together, how character matters.”

Not long after he was hired by the Blue Jays, he took over Toronto’s pro scouting department. He played a significant role in the club’s acquisition of third baseman Josh Donaldson, an MVP who in 2015 led the Blue Jays to their first playoff appearance in 21 years; the signing of international free agent and star prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr.; and the drafting of All-Star pitcher Noah Syndergaard.

Toward the end of Minasian’s nine seasons in Toronto, the Blue Jays advanced to the American League Championship Series in 2015 and 2016. In 2018, his first season with the Braves, Minasian helped general manager Alex Anthopoulos end Atlanta’s four-year playoff drought. The Braves have now played in three straight postseasons, most recently losing the National League Championship Series to the Dodgers last month.

“I consider myself a grinder,” he said Thursday in an interview on Angels radio station KLAA 830. He shared during the 30-minute segment memories of his upbringing. In one anecdote, he spoke of a moment when he was 13 and watching Randy Johnson warm up. He decided then he’d more likely make an impact on the sport if he quit playing and “started studying teams, studying players.”

By the time he reached Atlanta, Minasian had climbed enough rungs to be entrusted with a larger role. He was initially hired in September 2017 as a director of player personnel by former Braves GM John Coppolella. Minasian was promptly elevated to assistant GM and vice president of baseball operations when Anthopoulos took over two months later for Coppolella, who was banned from the sport for violating international signing rules.

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He served the last two seasons as senior vice president of baseball operations, though he has long been Anthopoulos’ right-hand man.

Despite his unusual path to the Angels’ top job, Minasian’s ascent doesn’t shock Doug Melvin, a longtime baseball executive who was the Rangers’ general manager from 1994 to 2001. He often saw his son with the Minasian brothers in the clubhouse, discussing rosters after the youngsters completed their daily duties.

“They knew the game,” Melvin said of the Minasian brothers. “They could talk to players. Players enjoyed talking to them. Front office members enjoyed talking to them.

“I think he was gonna get his chance. I don’t think this is like a [situation where] this is a long shot or people will be surprised.”