Angels hire Braves’ Perry Minasian as new general manager

Sports

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Perry Minasian has been named the Los Angeles Angels’ general manager.

The Angels announced the hiring of the Atlanta Braves’ assistant general manager Thursday to replace Billy Eppler. Minasian got a four-year contract.

“His background in scouting and player development along with his unique understanding of roster construction were the leading factors in our decision,” Angels owner Arte Moreno said in a statement.

Minasian spent the past three years in the Braves’ front office with GM Alex Anthopoulos, including the past two seasons as Atlanta’s vice president of baseball operations. Minasian also worked for Anthopoulos during his previous nine seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, where Minasian became the club’s director of pro scouting.

Minasian has been a part of ample success over the past six years. Toronto and Atlanta reaching the playoffs five times in that stretch, appearing in three league championship series and winning three division titles.

His new team has endured five straight losing seasons for the first time since 1977, and its winning percentage over the past two seasons is the Angels’ worst two-year run since 1992-93. Los Angeles hasn’t won a playoff game since 2009, winning the AL West and reaching the postseason just once in that 11-year span.

The 40-year-old Minasian has been in baseball since he was an 8-year-old batboy for the Texas Rangers, where his father, Zack, was the team’s clubhouse manager. He became a clubhouse attendant and eventually an advance scout for the Rangers before serving as an assistant to manager Buck Showalter.

Minasian won an extensive competition to replace Eppler, who was fired Sept. 27 by Moreno after Los Angeles finished its fifth consecutive losing season in his tenure. The Angels also made deep cuts in their scouting department earlier this year with furloughs during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Halos went 26-34 in the pandemic-shortened season, failing to make even the eight-team AL playoff field despite the presence of Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Shohei Ohtani and Albert Pujols.

While Eppler made significant strides in rebuilding the Angels’ farm system and supplementing the big-league roster with talent, he never secured enough quality starting pitchers to win. Eppler’s efforts were financially hamstrung by the lavish free-agent contracts handed out by Moreno — none more problematic than the 10-year, $240 million deal Moreno gave to Pujols, who is finally in the last season of that contract in 2021.

While Minasian has a stellar baseball pedigree, his hiring follows Moreno’s pattern of signing untested general managers eager for their own teams and willing to work around the wealthy owner’s desire to be involved in baseball decisions.

Minasian is the third first-time GM hired by Moreno since he bought the Angels in 2003. The fourth, Jerry Dipoto, had been an interim general manager in Arizona for less than three months.

Minasian emerged as one of the finalists for the job earlier this week after a lengthy Zoom interview process. The other top contenders were Seattle Mariners assistant general manager Justin Hollander, a former Angels front-office employee under Eppler and ex-Angels GM Jerry Dipoto; Chicago Cubs senior vice president of player personnel Jason McLeod; and Arizona Diamondbacks assistant general managers Amiel Sawdaye and Jared Porter.

All of the finalists would have been first-time GMs.

Minasian’s brother, Zack Jr., is the pro scouting director for the San Francisco Giants. Another brother, Calvin, is the Washington Nationals’ clubhouse coordinator.

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