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Jerry Dipoto Rumors
Jerry Dipoto has made “a final decision” to resign as the Angels GM, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports on Twitter. That appeared to be where things were headed last night, though a report indicated that the club’s owner and president were attempting to convince Dipoto to stay on.
While not unexpected at this point, the overall situation is rather stunning. The Angels are facing some tough decisions over the next month as the team tries to keep up with the Astros in the AL West after opening play today four games back. All said, it’s rather an inopportune time to be making such significant changes in the front office. It remains to be seen how the team will fill the void left in Dipoto’s wake.
The base cause for the signing appears, by all accounts, to be an authority struggle between Dipoto and skipper Mike Scioscia. Prior differences seemed to have been resolved with ownership intervention, and the organization had already exercised Dipoto’s option for the 2016 campaign. But tensions re-emerged over the last several days, according to reports. Without rehashing all the information that has come out, suffice to say that Angels owner Arte Moreno was ultimately unable to maintain a workable allocation of power between the pair of key baseball men.
Dipoto took the GM seat for Los Angeles in the fall of 2011 after the firing of predecessor Tony Reagins. He oversaw major free agent acquisitions, including Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and C.J. Wilson, although those major outlays have often been connected to Moreno’s involvement.
More recently, Dipoto has looked to build the team’s pitching staff through the trade market. He shipped away starting second baseman Howie Kendrick to acquire young lefty Andrew Heaney this offseason after moving slugger Mark Trumbo to acquire Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago.
Dipoto also bolstered last year’s club with relievers Joe Smith (signed to a three-year pact) and Huston Street (added in a summer trade). Street ultimately agreed to an extension recently, with the team getting two more years of his services, plus an option year, for a seemingly reasonable $18MM commitment.
But the crowning achievement of Dipoto’s transactional history with the Halos is probably the Mike Trout extension. Having already established himself as the game’s very best player at just 22 years of age, Trout signed on to a six-year, $144.5MM deal. It’s a significant commitment, to be sure, but that money pales in comparison to the overall cash later promised by the Marlins to Giancarlo Stanton. Notably, Stanton was in a much different situation given his service time. But the Trout contract looks to be rather an incredible bargain, given that the club is committed only through his peak prime years with relatively little overall risk.
The Dipoto-constructed Angels had some disappointments along the way, missing the post-season in his first two seasons at the helm despite the major free agent signings. But the club put up 98 wins and an AL West title last year before running into the Royals buzzsaw in the playoffs.
Los Angeles has had its issues this year, with the team’s overall offensive production sagging despite big seasons from Trout and Pujols. Offseason acquisition Matt Joyce has simply not hit, and the club was backed into an awkward situation with Hamilton that ultimately saw him shipped to the Rangers for some salary savings.
Despite the turmoil, however, the club is as noted still very much in the thick of things heading into trade deadline season. As good as Houston has been, putting up an AL-leading 46 wins at the start of the day, the Angels have every opportunity to take another division crown. That’s especially true, perhaps, given that the club reportedly reserved payroll capacity to be deployed over the summer. Now, the question is not only how it will put those funds to use, but who’ll make that decision.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
9:54pm: Rosenthal provides an overview of the situation, writing that “he and his staff viewed Scioscia and the coaches as practically insubordinate” in declining to utilize statistical information.
9:15am: The current situation is “chaotic,” tweets Passan, with “high-ranking members of the organization” unsure whether or not Dipoto is still the general manager.
9:07am: Dipoto cleared out his office and told members of his staff he was resigning, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports.
9:01am: A second source tells Crasnick that Dipoto is leaving the organization. (Twitter link.)
2:21am: Jerry Dipoto is “definitely out” as Angels GM after apparently resigning his post last night, sources tell ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. Multiple Angels players entered last night’s game under the impression that Dipoto was no longer at the helm, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports tweets.
While the club has yet to make anything official, multiple reports emerged over night suggesting that change was afoot. MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reported that Dipoto was considering resigning in the wake of the Angels’ organizational tensions. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, meanwhile, tweeted that two sources told him Dipoto had packed up his office (though he noted the possibility that Dipoto might simply have been acting “out of emotion”). Crasnick tweeted that strife between Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia had only increased since Rosenthal reported earlier this week that the two again weren’t getting along (after having also had significant disagreements in 2012). Crasnick also indicated that Dipoto approached Angels owner Arte Moreno with an ultimatum that “backfired.”
With the Halos experiencing a somewhat underwhelming start to the year, tensions apparently boiled over recently. According to a Rosenthal report, a pair of meetings called by Dipoto — one with Scioscia and his staff, and the other will both uniformed staff and players — turned “contentious” last weekend. The club’s top baseball decision maker reportedly drew strong reactions from an unnamed coach as well as Hall of Fame-bound first baseman Albert Pujols.
The immediate issue seemed to involve the manner in which information on in-game decisions (e.g., shifting, strategies against certain hitters) was distributed to players. But Rosenthal raised the possibility that there were deeper philosophical and relational differences between the club’s two key leaders.
The working relationship between Dipoto and Scioscia was once said to be nearly irreconcilable, but they had seemingly worked together in at least a reasonably workable truce. When asked about the report earlier this week, Scioscia said that the pair continued to “work together the same way that we’ve worked the last couple years” (via Gonzalez, on Twitter).
In recent days, however, those former hostilities had seemingly been rekindled. Two club officials spoke anonymously with Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown, with one telling him that there were “a lot of closed doors” around the club’s facility Tuesday, given the persistent tension.
The second source indicated that he or she felt the end result could be rather drastic change. “Something’s going to give this time,” said the source. “Looks irreparable.” Owner Arte Moreno had managed to patch things up previously, at least for a good stretch, but it remains to be seen what can be salvaged this time around.
Then, there’s the reported involvement of Pujols, the team’s highest-paid player, who has finally played up to his massive contract this year. The highly respected veteran said today that he was not going to comment on what had gone on in the clubhouse, as Gonzalez reported.
But Pujols did address the idea, as reported by Rosenthal, that he had said that the club simply does not have as good a roster as it did last year. As Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweeted, Pujols said he would never disrespect his teammates in the manner implied in that supposed comment. According to Gonzalez’s sources, however, Rosenthal’s report was quite accurate (Twitter link).
Regardless of what actually happened, there’s yet another layer to the controversy. Gonzalez writes that there was “anger” among the players that the story was leaked in the first place. And Pujols also called it “really embarrassing” (to whoever revealed the information) that the story had reached the public sphere. “We’re supposed to be a family here,” he said.
Months ago, the Angels exercised their 2016 option on GM Jerry Dipoto’s contract, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets. That news had not been reported until now. The option is the last one on Dipoto’s original contract, a three-year deal that included two options. That the organization has not extended Dipoto to this point might or might not be notable. The Angels have not always quite lived up to lofty expectations in the last few seasons, and Dipoto’s tenure has been shaped in part by an unfortunate contract and ugly dispute with Josh Hamilton (which, to be fair, were both at least partially the fault of owner Arte Moreno), but the team is coming off a 98-win 2014 campaign. Here are more notes from the West Coast.
- Outfielder Andre Ethier has reestablished himself this year after a winter in which the Dodgers couldn’t trade him, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register writes. “I don’t think anybody wanted me either,” says Ethier. “It takes two to tango like in a lot of things. … At the same time, maybe they knew what they were doing. Maybe the reason it didn’t happen was because they were asking more than other teams were willing to give.” Now, Ethier is in the midst of a resurgent .287/.369/.506 season, and Plunkett points out that, as the dollars remaining on Ethier’s contract continue to shrink (he’s currently owed about $49MM more through 2017, including a buyout for 2018), it might become a lot easier for the Dodgers to trade him than it was last winter.
- Giants executives Brian Sabean and Lee Elder were on hand to watch today’s Reds/Cubs game in Chicago, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes (all Twitter links). As Rosenthal points out, the natural conclusion is that Sabean and Elder were in town to watch Reds starter Johnny Cueto — Cueto will be a sought-after trade target this summer, and the Giants need rotation help. It could be, though, that the pair were at Wrigley for other reasons.
- Giants outfielder Hunter Pence is headed to the disabled list with wrist tendinitis, as Rosenthal tweets. Pence has not played since June 2, so he should be able to return within a week if he’s ready. To take Pence’s place on the active roster, the Giants selected the contract of righty Mike Broadway today after promoting an outfielder, Jarrett Parker, earlier this week.
APRIL 14: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Hamilton’s contract does indeed contain language that would allow the Angels to terminate or convert the deal if he is physically/mentally incapacitated due to alcohol and drugs (specifically, if he is less than “first-class condition”), though the clause is not unique to his deal. However, Hamilton and the union would still be able to argue that the JDA supersedes contractual clauses of this nature, so it remains unclear if the Angels would be able to take any form of action. If they were eventually able to attempt such action, they can only target Hamilton’s $30MM salaries in 2016 and 2017, as his 2015 salary of $23MM became fully guaranteed on Opening Day.
APRIL 10, 9:44pm: The union has issued a statement rejecting the idea that the Angels would have any basis to pursue Hamilton (h/t Ken Rosenthal):
“The MLBPA emphatically denies Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno’s assertions from earlier today that the Angels had requested and received the approval of the Union to insert language into Josh Hamilton’s contract that would supersede the provisions of the Joint Drug Agreement and/or the Basic Agreement. To the contrary, the collectively bargained provisions of the JDA and the Basic Agreement supersede all other player contract provisions and explicitly prevent Clubs from exactly the type of action Mr. Moreno alluded to in his press comments today.”
7:38pm: Angels owner Arte Moreno told reporters today that his club may seek to enforce provisions of the team’s contract with Josh Hamilton relating to the use of alcohol or drugs, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times was among those to report (Twitter links). Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register reports further details.
Hamilton was recently determined not to have violated his treatment program by an arbitrator, despite apparently admitting a relapse of some kind. (His early career was, of course, marred by numerous drug-related suspensions.) That led to a rather firm rebuke from the club.
The the precise language that the Angels might rely upon remains unknown, as does the remedy they could theoretically seek. “It’s not about money, nothing about money,” Moreno said. “In our contract, there’s language that he signed and that his agent approved that said he cannot drink and use drugs. So, we have specific language in the agreement. We have a couple other players who have the same language.” While the language may not be unique, Moreno did say that it was a point that the team specifically negotiated: “When we started talking to him, we went through his history. We felt it was important for us to have language in our agreement.”
Underlying the matter at this point is the fact that Hamilton not only has apparently relapsed, but that he is starting the year on the DL after two rough seasons to start his career with the Halos. The club owes Hamilton $83MM from this season through 2017 under his deal, and at this point would certainly welcome a chance to avoid some or all of that obligation (though Moreno says “it’s not about money”).
Moreno’s statements (coming on the back of the strong words from GM Jerry Dipoto) certainly seem to indicate that the team is serious about pursuing some action. Asked if he could say that Hamilton would again play in an Angels uniform, Moreno replied: “I will not say that.”
But one major issue with any attempt to pursue action under Hamilton’s contract is the collectively-bargained Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program (JDA). As Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets, the prevailing wisdom holds that the JDA — which outlines punishment for PEDs and recreational drugs — precludes resort to contract terms to punish players for violating the league’s drug rules. There may be some arguments around the JDA’s bar on other means of enforcing violations of its terms, but they seem to face an uphill battle.
Needless to say, it was a frenetic end to the Winter Meetings. Over the course of the morning, several forward-looking reports emerged. We’ll round those up here:
- The Giants are focused on free agent starter James Shields, according to Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News (via Twitter). San Francisco is alive on both Shields and Ervin Santana, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle adds on Twitter. The club met with Shields in San Diego, as Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reported yesterday (Twitter link).
- The Twins are still trying to land Santana, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, who adds that the Giants, Royals, and Yankees have also expressed interest in the free agent righty.
- The Marlins are still looking hard at the free agent and trade market for a first baseman, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports on Twitter. A deal could come at any time, Spencer adds.
- Attempts by the Marlins to deal for Justin Morneau of the Rockies have fallen apart, tweets MLB.com’s Tom Singer. He hears that Miami could rekindle talks with the Pirates regarding a Pedro Alvarez-for-Nathan Eovaldi swap.
- Communications between the Marlins and Rockies regarding Morneau will continue, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports on Twitter, though Harding’s source says he is not sure if the potential match “has legs.”
- The Dodgers did not make their moves as a prelude to dealing away Zack Greinke or dealing for Cole Hamels, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter. Los Angeles has already done its heavy lifting with yesterday’s series of moves, says Sherman.
- After trading away second baseman Howie Kendrick, the Angels are “open to opportunities” for additions at the position, GM Jerry Dipoto tells Mike DiGiovanna of MLB.com (Twitter link). The Halos are not interested in free agents Jed Lowrie and Stephen Drew, per Dipoto. Of course, the team just added Josh Rutledge to join in-house option Grant Green in the current mix.
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The Angels exercised their 2015 option to retain general manager Jerry Dipoto, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports. The decision was made around the All-Star break, though Dipoto didn’t want to publicize it. The Halos also hold an option on Dipoto for 2016, though no decision has yet been made on that year. Financial terms of Dipoto’s contract aren’t known.
Since becoming the Angels’ GM on October 29, 2011, Dipoto’s tenure has been marked by several major free agent signings (Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, Josh Hamilton) and trades (acquiring Zack Greinke, Jason Vargas, Huston Street, David Freese) yet the team didn’t reach the postseason in either of Dipoto’s first two seasons. Between this lack of success and rumors of discord between Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia, there was speculation that Dipoto (or Scioscia) could be replaced last offseason.
Now, with the Angels owning the best record in baseball and looking like World Series contenders, it seems as if Dipoto could remain in Anaheim for a while. It’s fair to speculate that a deep playoff run will likely get Dipoto that 2016 option or even an extension.
Dipoto, 46, enjoyed an eight-year career as a reliever with the Indians, Mets and Rockies before transitioning to scouting and front office work with the Red Sox, Rockies and Diamondbacks. He served as Arizona’s interim GM for the last half of the 2010 season after Josh Byrnes was fired.
Jerry Dipoto is plotting the Angels' future, even though, after a very disappointing 2013 season, it's unclear whether he'll still be around to see his plans bear fruit, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times writes. "I'm not going to get into it," says Dipoto when asked about his future. "I don't want to have this conversation." DiGiovanna notes that, although there's been buzz for months about the possibility of either Dipoto or manager Mike Scioscia leaving after the season, it looks increasingly possible that both could stay. Dipoto says that he will be looking for "young, controllable starting pitching," and DiGiovanna implies that one way of acquiring it would be to trade Howie Kendrick or Mark Trumbo. Here are more notes on the Angels.
- The Angels appear unlikely to extend a qualifying offer to Jason Vargas, writes Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. The team will already be close to the luxury-tax threshold of $189MM, and Gonzalez notes that if Vargas took the qualifying offer of around $14MM, the Angels would "basically already be over budget." Vargas has posted a 4.01 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 143 2/3 innings in 2013.
- The luxury tax is an obstacle to signing Mike Trout to an extension, Gonzalez writes. The luxury tax is calculated based on the average annual value of the players on a team's 40-man roster. So, Gonzalez notes, if the Angels were to sign Trout to a ten-year, $300MM deal, $30MM per year would count toward the luxury tax, even if the contract is backloaded. Without an extension, Trout will again make near the league minimum in 2014.
Mike Scioscia is as committed as ever to the Angels, the manager tells MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom. Scioscia discusses such topics as his relationship with GM Jerry Dipoto and owner Arte Moreno, his frustrations over the Angels' disappointing season and things he'd like to change on the team in 2014.
- The Angels will look to add starting pitching to next year's roster, with an eye towards obtaining young arms, if possible. "Really what we need is organizational starting pitching. We need starting-pitching depth; we need options from within," Dipoto said. "We need young, controllable starting pitching. Essentially guys that when something goes wrong at the Major League level — inevitably an injury will occur, somebody's going to struggle for a period of time — guys that can step in and guys that you can build toward. It's gold in the game."
- Third base will be an area of concern for the team this winter. "In an ideal world, we’ll come up with what we believe is a combination of players" to play the position, Dipoto said. Chris Nelson, Grant Green, Luis Jimenez and Andrew Romine are some of the Halos' current third base options.
- Dipoto will look to add bullpen depth but Ernesto Frieri is expected to continue closing.
- Dipoto offered no comment on any extension talks with Mike Trout, though "obviously, we'd like him to be here long-term." Craig Landis, Trout's agent, said yesterday that there have been no negotiations of a multiyear contract with the team. Trout is under team control through the 2017 season and Dipoto declined to comment on whether the team had altered its policy on pre-arbitration contracts given the controversy surrounding Trout's 2013 salary.
- Dipoto didn't comment on whether or not the Angels would non-tender Tommy Hanson or Jerome Williams. Hanson is a "slam-dunk" to be non-tendered, Gonzalez opines (Twitter links), but Williams is a tougher decision since he could return to Japan rather than re-sign with the Angels at a lower price, plus the team likes his "flexibility" as a swingman. Hanson is entering his second year of arbitration eligibility while Williams is entering his third.
On this day in 2007, Terry Ryan announced that he would step aside from his post as the Twins general manager at the end of the season. As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted, Ryan's history was checkered at best at the time. Of course, as a read through this site's most recent post would indicate, Ryan is now back at the helm. Though the team has yet to post more than seventy wins in a season since Ryan returned in November of 2011, Minnesota stands at 15th in ESPN's latest future power rankings on the strength of its minor league system. While Ryan has long been said to have his job as long as he wants to keep it, some other GMs may not be so lucky …
- There are four general managers around the league who could soon be replaced, writes Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com. According to Gammons, two of those — Jerry Dipoto of the Angels and Larry Beinfest of the Marlins – have arguably been undone by meddling owners. (Gammons cites Arte Moreno's $365MM investment in Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, and Jeffrey Loria's propensity for "whimsically run[ning] everything.") Meanwhile, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik may not survive to see whether the team's top young pitching talent can drive a winner. And Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd — the game's fourth-longest tenured GM — has yet to figure out how to craft a squad that can win away from Coors field. (For what it's worth, O'Dowd was in charge for the franchise's lone season with a winning road record, when it posted a 41-40 mark in 2009.)
- It would be ridiculous to consider Rangers GM Jon Daniels among those at risk, writes Baseball Nation's Grant Brisbee. While he surely could have sacrificed future value to win at all costs this season, says Brisbee, Daniels was prudent not to and still delivered a team that should qualify for the post-season.
- Teams must determine whether to make outgoing free agents a qualifying offer just five days after the conclusion of this year's World Series, and those decisions will play a major role in setting the stage for the 2014 free agent market. For non-obvious candidates, writes Dave Cameron of Fangraphs, an important part of the equation lies in valuing the compensation pick that the team would receive if the player declines the offer and then signs with another club. Working off of a rough valuation of international signing slot dollars, Cameron opines that teams could value the dollars spent on a comp pick as much as three-to-four times higher than money the team could spend outside the draft. As he explains, this would imply that there is substantial excess value in obtaining non-marketable draft picks, which could move the needle in favor of making qualifying offers in marginal situations.
- As we prepare to weigh a new class of free agents, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman ranks the best signings of 2013. His top three are a collection of veterans whose contributions have vastly outweighed the relatively meager financial commitments that they received: Pirates starter Francisco Liriano, Red Sox reliever Koji Uehara, and Athletics starter Bartolo Colon. Next on his list is Boston's David Ortiz, who as Heyman notes was the only player to accept a qualifying offer in the first year of the system.
Here's the latest from Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan:
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia are separated by a "rift" despite Scioscia's recent denial, Passan writes. Since Scioscia's contract runs through 2018, and since his influence throughout the organization is strong, Dipoto is more likely to wind up on the chopping block if the Angels do indeed decide to fire one or the other.
- General managers suspect that Jack Zduriencik of the Mariners needed to have his superiors approve potential trades at the deadline, Passan writes. He also says that the Mariners have checked to see whether former GM and current Phillies advisor Pat Gillick might be interested in coming back to Seattle. Still, now that Zduriencik is apparently under contract through 2014, it appears he'll get more time to see if the Mariners' new core of young players (which includes Kyle Seager, Nick Franklin, Brad Miller, Mike Zunino and Taijuan Walker) can come together.
- Despite the Blue Jays' extremely disappointing season, GM Alex Anthopoulos should get more time, Passan argues, noting that Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion's contracts have been terrific.