On December 8, 2012, Zack Greinke opted to drive down Interstate 5 to join Los Angeles' other team in Chavez Ravine. Greinke signed a 6-year, $147 million deal with the Dodgers. Just one day prior to when the massive deal (largest for a right-handed pitcher) was announced, Jerry Dipoto said it was a "practical decision" to move on. So why exactly did the Angels' General Manager decide to move on?
Jerry Dipoto proved just five days later, on December 13, that he had much more important plans for the Halos. He made a splash in his usual, quiet way. He signed one of their rival's franchise players, Josh Hamilton, to join an already powerful offense in Anaheim. Hamilton signed a 5-year, $125 million deal to play in the outfield alongside one of the most explosive players in the game, Mike Trout.
The Angels wanted to build upon an already solid offense. In many categories, the Halos ranked in the top half of the MLB; however, there were some imbalances. Mark Trumbo had a slump after the All-Star game and Vernon Wells continued his dormancy in Anaheim. Signing Josh Hamilton adds another spark and he can be a player that easily lifts others. He may not be on the same level as Torii Hunter in the leadership department, but he is a leader. Having players like Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Howie Kendrick, Mark Trumbo, and now Josh Hamilton in the same lineup can prove to be the "x-factor" in Anaheim, sending them deep into the playoffs.
Dipoto deciding to spend on Hamilton over Greinke came from the simple fact that the former Cy Young Award winner is not worth the kind of money that the Dodgers decided to shell out (and they will be spending even more to extend Clayton Kershaw's stay). And that is exactly why he went to the Dodgers. New ownership has a deal pending with Time Warner Cable that would pay the Dodgers more than $7 billion over twenty-five years; therefore, the spending spree occurred. If the Angels wanted to spend that kind of money, it would not be feasible. Before the conclusion of the 2011 season, the Angels extended Jered Weaver's contract at a steal of a price. And being that Weaver is their ace, it would not make sense for the Halos to pay someone else, like Greinke, almost double what their ace is making.
By not retaining Zack Greinke, the Angels were forced to explore other options on the mound. With Jered Weaver and CJ Wilson at the top of the rotation, many people wondered where the Angels would go to round it out. They traded Kendrys Morales for Seattle's left-handed pitcher Jason Vargas, sent Jordan Walden to Atlanta for Tommy Hanson, and signed Joe Blanton. Those additions may not seem like Zack Greinke caliber players, but that is not necessarily what they are meant to be. Those three pitchers are supposed to be replacements for Dan Haren and Ervin Santana.
Jerry Dipoto went to work yet again to make improvements for the Angels. Also, he did it in a cost-effective way. Rather than paying Zack Greinke nearly double Jered Weaver's contract, he found alternatives in Blanton, Hanson, and Vargas. Those men are meant to be solid players, not aces. Josh Hamilton should be waving, with a smile on his face, to Zack Greinke as the $147 million man looks in his rear-view mirror, driving down the Freeway to Dodger Stadium because there is something better in Angel Stadium of Anaheim.