Manning the front office of a big-market, MLB franchise such as the Los Angeles Angels must make a GM feel like a kid at the candy store: money is no object, everything looks good, and you want to take everything you can get your hands on.
Unlike, say, the NFL with its harsh salary cap and constant demand for cheap replacement players, Major League Baseball is a domain ruled by unrestricted free agency and unfettered by a meaningful salary cap.
The free-for-all nature of player acquisitions doesn’t mean that baseball GMs are any more immune to screw-ups, however, and Halos GM Jerry Dipoto has certainly had his share of those since taking the reins of this franchise in late 2011. Those misfires have caused many to speculate that the Angels may show Dipoto the door by the time 2013 is up.
Dipoto’s opening statement was his boldest and perhaps his most foolhardy: he signed veteran legend Albert Pujols to a monstrous 10-year, $240 million deal, a number that doesn’t include Pujols’ $10 million pension plan upon his retirement.
Since the signing, Pujols has hit a mere .275 with just 47 home runs in his first two years in Southern California, so I think it’s safe to say Los Angeles hasn’t quite seen $48 million worth of production out of the slugger.
Next, Dipoto decided the 2012 Angels needed one more piece to make a World Series run, spurring him to trade for Zack Greinke before the trade deadline. Greinke’s acquisition came at the expense of top prospect Jean Segura, who has since turned himself into an NL All-Star for the Milwaukee Brewers. As for Greinke? Well, the World Series run failed to materialize, and the right-hander went to the Halos’ crosstown rivals in the NL.
Finally, Dipoto’s pièce de résistance may have been the five-year, $125 million signing of Josh Hamilton, who has crashed and burned for most of 2013 despite a mini-resurgence of late.
None of these developments bodes well for Dipoto’s future in the Angels’ front office. To be fair, it wasn’t he, but rather owner Arte Moreno who pushed for the 2010 trade of Vernon Wells, the biggest bust in recent Halos memory.
Even so, baseball is a “what have you done for me lately” kind of business, and Dipoto’s resume is looking pretty thin at this point. If these rumors pan out and Dipoto is shown the door, it’ll be hard to argue with the decision.