After the 2011 season, the Angels decided it was right to move on from longtime General Manager Tony Reagins after missing the postseason two consecutive seasons. The 2010 and 2011 seasons brought 80 and 86 wins, respectively. For many organizations in Major League Baseball, that would be considered a fairly solid performance. But when you are the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and made the postseason six times since 2002, winning the division five times and the World Series once, there is a sense of disappointment. So when it came time for owner Arte Moreno to select Reagins successor, he had the task of choosing someone who could revert the Halos back to their days of being a playoff threat.
On October 28, 2011, the Angels named their new General Manager: Jerry Dipoto. Immediately, the media was confused as to why Dipoto was chosen and believed that the Tampa Bay Rays Andrew Friedman would get the job; however, it did not take long for the new Halos GM to change skeptics into believers.
It all started with what was the winter of Albert and CJ. In the 2011 offseason, Jerry Dipoto and the Angels swooped in as the "mystery team" on Albert Pujols. The Marlins and Cardinals were believed to be the clear frontrunners: big money against hometown loyalty. Pujols chose neither. Instead, the slugger selected the Halos with a 10-year $254 million deal. I was in class when a friend leaned over and broke the news to me. I was stunned to say the least. And Dipoto was not done there. That same day, CJ Wilson signed as well and much like Jered Weaver did a few months before, it was a home state discount. Jerry Dipoto was the mastermind of the 2011 MLB offseason and managed to capture two premier free agents. He filled the pitching void that was left by the departure of John Lackey a season before and the lack of another slugger because of Vladimir Guerrero's absence.
And finally, the most recent addition to the Angels roster: Josh Hamilton. Jerry Dipoto yet again stunned the media by capturing the center fielder and slugger of the Texas Rangers. Among the frontrunners were the Rangers, Mariners, and possibly the Yankees. Each of them lost out to Jerry Dipoto.
The Angels General Manager has consistently proven that he can sign players to fill voids in a cost effective manner. Don't believe me? Dipoto declines expensive options for Ervin Santana and Dan Haren with replacements like Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton and then trading Kendrys Morales for a needed left handed pitcher in Jason Vargas. Also, don't forget about not signing Torii Hunter to a new contract. That saved the Angels money that did not need to be used on an aging outfielder. Prior to the aforementioned moves, Jerry Dipoto signed CJ Wilson for somewhat of a discount allowing him to spend the money on Albert Pujols, who has a back loaded contract making him currently cheaper. As a result, the Angels had the money to sign Josh Hamilton to a very wise five-year deal so he will not linger around in the future once production declines. Jerry Dipoto has proven case-by-case that he can get players into Anaheim for a good price. The Angels payroll for 2013 is around $141 million. By the end of Hamilton's contract, their payroll sits at $27 million and most of that being taken up by Albert Pujols. Arte Moreno clearly has found someone that can handle his money. With the reloading that Jerry Dipoto has done for the Angels, fans of the Halos should get that rally monkey ready because the 2013 season and beyond seems to have much promise.