The Angels have lost a senior advisor to the baseball operations staff, someone who had been helping look for a new general manager.
Tony La Russa, hired less than a year ago to provide counsel to then-GM Billy Eppler and others, was named Thursday as the new manager of the Chicago White Sox. He replaces Rick Renteria, who was fired after the team’s first postseason appearance since 2008.
The Angels’ Joe Maddon, 66, no longer will be the oldest manager in the major leagues. La Russa turned 76 in September.
La Russa departs Anaheim after spending the beginning of October assisting Angels president John Carpino identify candidates for the team’s fourth GM in 13 years. He ceased serving in his advisory role shortly after the White Sox parted with Renteria on Oct. 10 and asked the Angels for permission to interview their former manager.
While La Russa embarked on a reunion with the team he managed from 1979 to 1986, the Angels cast what was described by a league official as “a very wide net” for their list of potential general manager hires. The Angels do not intend to announce who they are considering for the job but they have already begun formal interviews, said a person familiar with the search who was unable to comment publicly.
One of many possibilities emerged late Wednesday. MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reported the Angels requested permission from the Chicago Cubs to speak with vice president of scouting Dan Kantrovitz. It wasn’t clear whether Kantrovitz has been interviewed.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) October 29, 2020
Other candidates could include baseball executives who have experience in scouting and/or player development.
“I think we’re open to everything,” Carpino said Sept. 30 when asked what the Angels want in a general manager after they fired Eppler. “Experience is one factor. Scouting is a factor. Player development is a factor. Roster construction is a factor. Communication is a factor. I think you take all of those attributes that GMs have and look at it and find out who the best person is.”
The plan had been for La Russa to help Carpino hire that person. His roots in the sport run deep. During 59 years in pro baseball, La Russa won three World Series titles as a manager (1989 in Oakland and 2006 and 2011 in St. Louis) and another as an executive (2018 in Boston). He was a four-time manager of the year and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2014. He spent the 2012 and ‘13 seasons working with MLB commissioner Bud Selig before joining the Arizona Diamondbacks’ baseball operations department from 2014 to 2017.
For the Angels, he spent 2020 evaluating players and serving as a sounding board for Eppler.
“He’s really good with seeing how we’re teaching and coaching and progressing guys,” Eppler said in July. “He’s done that job for so long. … He’s just there to help and provide any kind of counsel that we seek. So it’s been valuable.”
Carpino and the Angels still have Bill Stoneman, the former general manager who built the Angels’ 2002 World Series team, to guide them through the GM search, which the team hopes will conclude by Thanksgiving.