Cleat Geeks

There’s a Power Struggle in L.A.?!?!

So, according to several sources, Angel’s General Manager Jerry Dipoto has resigned. There seems to be a huge power struggle within the Angels that involves Dipoto, manager Mike Scioscia, owner Arte Moreno and ……Albert Pujols? Let me see if I can explain.

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 5:  Owner Arte Moreno of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim looks on during batting practice before the game against the Texas Rangers at Angels Stadium April 5, 2008 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

You have a bunch of egos running this organization. First, you have the owner Arte Moreno. Moreno likes to go out and spend his money and sign the “big fish” on the market. Moreno hired Dipoto to replace Tony Reagins in October 2011. Several weeks later, the club signed Albert Pujols to a $240 million contract and C.J. Wilson to a $77.5 million contract. (Several months later, a 20-year-old Mike Trout became an MVP candidate.) The following winter the Angels signed Josh Hamilton for $125 million. Currently Hamilton is playing with the Rangers while the Angels are stuck paying the majority of that contract. These signings were largely believed to be at Moreno’s direction, and perhaps were viewed by Dipoto as efforts against his way to build a team routed in pitching – the bullpen, in particular. When Dipoto sought to address the pitching issues this winter, he dealt from his high-end offense, which has suffered in 2015. I understand that it is Moreno’s money to spend, but if you are going to hire a General Manager, it is his job to construct the team, and Moreno simply signs the checks.

Mike Scioscia is known as more of an “old school” guy and relies more on his gut and past experiences than numbers collected by an analytics department.

DipotoDipoto has more of a analytics-based style as the General Manager. And he was supposedly upset at the way Manager Mike Scioscia has been distributing the information that his team buts together. So, he called a team meeting with all the Angel’s players in the clubhouse before tonight’s game against the Yankees. In that meeting he told the players that he would be distributing the gathered information to the players before the games. This announcement prompted Albert Pujols to speak up and tell Dipoto that the information nor the way it was being distributed were not the problems, the problem was that this years team was less talented than last years was the problem. Pujols’ statement was taken as he was taking up for Scioscia and disrespecting Dipoto.

Dipoto has been on the job for 3 1/2 years and is under contract through 2016. Scioscia has been the manager since 2000, and is currently the longest-tenured manager in Major League Baseball. As the manager Scioscia  led the Angels to their only-to-date World Series championship in 2002. He is the Angels’ all-time managerial leader in wins, games managed, and division titles. Scioscia was honored with the official American League Manager of the Year Award in 2002 and 2009. On May 8, 2011 Scioscia became the 56th manager to win 1,000 or more games and just the 23rd to have all 1,000 or more victories with a single team. Scioscia’s current contract runs through 2018, but he can choose to opt out at the end of this season.

Positioned between Moreno’s whims, Scioscia’s principles and a relationship between the two that dates back to 2003, Dipoto apparently believed his preferred methods of building and operating the franchise would not be fully recognized or implemented. Multiple reports have said that Dipoto has already re-signed and that he hurriedly cleaned out his office shortly after doing so but the Angels, as of the writing of this article have made no official announcement.

pujols&hamiltonThis seems to be another power struggle on how and who is going to run a professional franchise. The problem is, it seems as though with this particular situation there is a difference of philosophy. Analytics and numbers vs. old school, experience and trusting one’s gut vs. simply buying the best available players and assuming that will then field the best team. This is not the first time this power struggle has taken place, and it won’t be the last. The question will be what effect it has on a team that was starting to climb back in the play-off conversation lead by the player who may have contributed in the eventual break-up in Albert Pujols.



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