After two straight seasons of signing the highest profile free agent hitter (Albert Pujols in 2012, Josh Hamilton in 2013), it appears Los Angeles Angels owner is ready to give the axe to his management team. According to Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com (who quotes industry sources) ongoing “philosophical differences” plague the Angels ownership as compared to the front office and field management, and owner Arte Moreno is ready to make a change of both the General Manager (Jerry Dipoto) and field manager (Mike Scioscia).
Dipoto was both praised and panned for the signing of Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $240M deal that will employ the future Hall-of-Famer through 2021 and the age of 41. And beyond, as a $10M/10-year personal services contract is part of the package once his playing days are over. Dipoto was praised for putting together a total package and landing the best hitter in baseball (at the time). He was panned for committing too much to the aging slugger, as there were whispers that Pujols was slowing down already and would never live up to the deal.
Just a few years ago, Mike Scioscia was considered the best manager in the game, as he consistently melded new parts on the field and was able to win without superstar talent. The two-time American League Manager of the Year (2002 and 2009) was the skipper on the franchise’s only World Series title (2002), has been the longest-tenured manager in franchise history (14th season), and is by far the winningest manager with over 1200 victories. In fact, Scioscia has been with the Angels longer than any other current MLB manager has been with their franchise. Interestingly, Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel came into the year third on that list, but has since been let go. Minnesota Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire would be the longest tenured if Scioscia is sacked (and Gardenhire was retained for his 13th season).
The Angels are sliding in the highly competitive American League West, finding themselves flip flopping in the standings with the Seattle Mariners (currently 3 game behind them) instead of contending the division leading Texas Rangers or playoff contender Oakland Athletics. The only team they look down to in the AL West standings are the lowly Houston Astros, baseball’s worst team.
Should he not be retained, there’s little question that Mike Scioscia would be a leading candidate for any and all high profile vacancies this offseason. He might be better fit for a team of above average players than a team built around one or two superstars.
According to Morosi, Angels owner Arte Moreno had no comment on the speculation. If the move were to be made, you’d figure there’s no reason to wait until the offseason since the Halos are just playing out the string.
– David Whitlock