One of the biggest mistakes under outgoing general manager Tony Reagins happened about a year ago, well before the Vernon Wells-for-Mike Napoli trade that might have cost him his job.
Reagins fired scouting director Eddie Bane. At the time, it seemed like a fine-print transaction, causing barely a ripple. Bane moved on to the Detroit Tigers, where -- as a pro scout -- he helped them get back to the playoffs. The Angels moved on.
Only with hindsight did the move prove ludicrous. Virtually everything that went right for the Angels last year went right because of players Bane scouted and drafted. The offense was kept afloat by youngsters Peter Bourjos and Mark Trumbo when it wasn't being weighed down by players Reagins acquired, like Wells and Bobby Abreu.
The pitching survived because of Jered Weaver and, at times, Jordan Walden. It got little or no help from Reagins acquisition Scott Kazmir and Joel Pineiro. (Reagins did acquire Dan Haren, but one of the players he gave up, lefty Tyler Skaggs, is now the Arizona Diamondbacks' top pitching prospect.)
The Angels have an opportunity that is so rare in life: They can fix a mistake without admitting they did anything wrong. The Angels, who are narrowing their search for a GM as we speak, can bring back Bane, who has a good relationship with team president John Carpino and owner Arte Moreno.
In fact, if the Angels hire New York Yankees uber-scout Damon Oppenheimer as a GM, this just might happen. Bane and Oppenheimer have a great deal of mutual respect even though they attended rival Pac-12 schools (Bane at Arizona State, Oppenheimer at USC). The Angels have plenty of jobs that might Bane return to, including an assistant GM opening, a farm director spot. You can always create a position, give it a long, boring title and simply let Bane sit in on important meetings.
If the Angels really are committed to fresh thinking, they'll consider fixing one of the last regime's most glaring errors.