As an Angels fan I'm just trying to claw through the rest of this pathetic season. At this point I'm numb to the losses. I accepted this team was in serious trouble a couple of months ago. We haven't been sellers in a very long time. I'm enjoying it. I figure any change at all makes this club better. We could just rot from within and go down in flames as a team. Maybe splintering it at the deadline buys karma (or prospects) down the road.
The Dipoto hate is reaching a fever pitch these days. We're collectively in some bizarre stage of blame where we just shift it to the next eligible face of the franchise. It's morphed from Sosh to Butcher to Arte to Dipoto. Even Trout is getting grief now. We need to pull ourselves together.
I've routinely defended Dipoto on these boards for no other reason that his analytical approach is something this franchise has never seen before. Tony screwed up this team terribly bad. Dipoto is just making lemonade out of lemons I've been saying. Well maybe. A lot of the org changes are hard to judge at this point. There is also a lot of stuff you just aren't going to see reading boxes and watching games. Lyle Spencer isn't even paying attention.
So yeah I'm a Dipoto fanboi. Or at least I think I am. I started doing some digging. What has this guy done so far? Clearly not enough to turn the team around the last couple of seasons. Clearly we're going to have to get worse before we get better. But are we really upset about trading the likes of Scott Downs and Alberto Callaspo? Seriously? This upsets us? Or are we just upset the season is officially over, despite the fact we've been terrible since the second game of the season and haven't looked up since.
I'm going to lay out the major moves here all in one place. Some caveats to this: Some transactions are hard to judge early on. When you trade away prospects or pick some of them up you really don't always know what you have or lost, or at least we don't, until many years down the road. The same can be said for FA signings and long term deals. Josh Hamilton sucks right now. He also has played only 1/10th of his contract. I'm not annointing that signing as good by any means, but it's not a total disaster. Not just yet at least.
That said we can make judgments and speculate. That's part of what we do here. So I present the Dipoto report card. Well not really a report card, more of a summary.
1) Signing Pujols and Hamilton
So far they've been a bust. That said they have a lot of time left on the deals. A cynic would suggest they are only going to get older and less effective. An optimist would point out that Pujols has actually been pretty solid. I really think it's too early to claim these signings are terrible. But I won't call them good either. Not for that amount of money. Also notable that we know Pujols was basically all Arte's doing and rumor has it he's taking the fall on Hamilton too. These guys might come back next year and tear the cover off the ball. I don't consider them Dipoto's boon or bust. No opinion here when judging our GM. Grade: NA
2) Chatwood for Ianetta
Ianetta looked pretty good last year. He looks like Johnny Bench compared to Jeff Mathis. He also is less than awesome this year and Chatwood has suddenly turned into Roger Clemens. We desperately needed a big upgrade at catcher when we got Ianetta. Pitching wasn't completely dire and Chatwood was frankly never good on this club. Things change. Dipoto also gave Ianetta a 3 year extension. Not a terrible signing but hardly genius either. Grade: C
3) Amarista and Roach for Frieri
Frieri is not Mariano Rivera. He might not even be Bryan Harvey. Either way he's a solid bullpen piece despite the fact he clearly hates our team this week. He's also racking up negative points for me in my fantasy bullpen. Stop it Ernie. Amarista has a sub .700 OPS. Donn Roach might be a solid pitcher one day. That day was not last season and it isn't this season either. Advantage Dipoto. Grade: A-
4) Pena, Hellweg, Segura for the guy who now pitches up the Freeway on a team that is winning.
Getting Grienke was considered a coup. Segura was blocked because we had Erick Aybar who may get traded today. Hellweg had a cup of coffee in the majors this year and dumped the coffee all over his pants and scalded his jock (-1.0 WAR in 10 innings). Pena is TBD. Segura is of course an All-Star shortstop. Whoops. Hindsight naturally tells us this was a terrible trade of Vernon Wells proportions. Dipoto can't see the future. If we make the playoffs last year maybe we're all pleased with this trade. I'm sympathetic with Dipoto here. I know most fans are going to point to this one when we can the guy down the road and claim it as exhibit A. Grade: C-
5) Signing Joe Blanton
6) Vernon Wells for....
It's almost like those two pitchers switched brains this season. Haren looks like Santana (leading the league in HR allowed) and Santana looks like old school Haren. Or even old school Ervin. Ervin is up to 2.0 WAR now which is better than any other pitcher we've acquired. Haren is -1.0 WAR. At least we got Sisk. Grade: C
8) Walden for Hanson
Hanson has been replacement level with all the time missed. Walden is suddenly a good pitcher again (please see Tyler Chatwood). Hanson still has another season to prove himself. I'm unsure if we want him to. Grade: D+
9) Scott Downs for Cory Rasmus
Rasmus is a AAA closer and is suddenly our best prospect. We also saved money. Downs was dead weight. Rasmus will be useful as early as next season and maybe sooner. Grade: B
10) Callaspo for Grant Green
We are younger. We are cheaper. We have removed Tony's last acquisition. Grade: B-
11) Signing CJ Wilson.
He's better than Ervin Santana. Grade: B+
The above is the major stuff. We fired Mickey Hatcher too. We also signed some guys to short extensions and picked up some people off waivers and such. We traded Mathis. We got De La Rosa. We shipped Morales for Vargas but frankly because of how the season went that trade may well have not even happened. We also drafted Cron and Maronde and signed a couple of relievers who have been on the DL all season.
I think it's a mixed bag on the surface. Some good moves and some bad. I think most of the work is still happening behind the scenes: The drafts. The minor league work. The facilities and the Latin American presence are all getting overhauled. This is going to take some time, and as we've seen the last few off-seasons there really are no quick fixes. God help us, and God help Dipoto.