Ken Rosenthal dropped a bad mojo bomb today on the Angels fandom and schadenfreude-loving fans of other teams, as his new report details some very dysfunctional and discouraging feelings brewing between Angels manager Mike Scioscia and the GM, Jerry Dipoto.
Emotions simmered in a series of meetings over the weekend when Dipoto expressed frustration with the coaches’ failure to convey scouting information to the players, sources said. At least one coach responded heatedly to Dipoto and first baseman Albert Pujols issued a pointed rebuttal to his GM, sources said.
The intervention of Dipoto in such a forceful manner is uncommon even in an era when GMs are exerting more authority over in-game strategy. It also comes at a time when Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in baseball, could choose to make the current season his final one with the Angels.
Bad blood between those two isn't news, exactly, as it was reported a few years back that they didn't see eye to eye on multiple things; be it hitting coaches, use of advanced stats or personnel, they came up against one another more than once, and some sparks may have flown. Arte Moreno made them continue to play in his millionaire sandbox, though, and extended both rather than firing one or the other...they were stuck together, but often it would work. This year, not so much.
Rosenthal has a source that claims this year's sad start has brought a lot of bad vibes to the surface, and Scioscia and Dipoto are back at war regarding the use and dissemination of the scouting reports obtained by Dipoto and the front office. From the report:
Dipoto met with Scioscia and his coaching staff on Friday, and the exchange turned contentious when the GM asked the coaches to better communicate to the players scouting reports and statistical information provided by the front office.
In a separate meeting with the players, coaches and Scioscia on Sunday, Dipoto informed the players that they would now be given the information directly by the front office; they then could decide whether or not to use it.
Pujols challenged Dipoto in the meeting, saying that the coaches are working as hard to prepare the players as they did last season, but that the roster is not nearly as strong as it was a year ago.
It would seem like Mike Scioscia is back to burying his big head in the sand again when it comes to using pesky numbers in his baseball scheming. The round mound of manager will only listen to those he knows and trusts, usually other men who themselves don't lay any faith with the pesky numbers. Defensive shifts, scouting reports and pitching approaches be damned, this is Scioscialism, after all!
Dipoto, according to sources, believes that the coaches too often rely on "feel" while teams such as the AL West-leading Astros are at the forefront of incorporating data. The coaches, in turn, seemingly do not trust the information they are given, and either are not willing or able to translate it for the players.
Consider me officially on Team Jerry, if we're forced to choose a la Kramer vs. Kramer or Twilight. Of course, the real enemy is probably Arte Moreno, who refuses to do anything with one guy or the other, and instead opts for his Baseball Team As Pure Business, polo shirt wearing method of madness and PR gaffes. But if we can't officially designate Moreno as the bad guy, then Dipoto begins to look pristine and free of any mud slung in the past few seasons. Moreno wanted Wells, he wanted Hamilton and Pujols, and he keeps the front office machine that worships Per Caps chugging along with infusions of more cash; and Scioscia keeps out the wisdom of others, it worships Roles and Holes and Lasagna Bowls. Arte is going to be around until he sells the team, but Scioscia can go after this season. Something has to give, otherwise it's a future of mediocrity and misery and an owner that will give you cheap beer to buy your hesitant approval.
The Angels just really can't keep their noses clean lately, almost to the point where it's a brilliant, black comedy about how NOT to run a professional sports organization in the 21st century. Miscues, public relations nightmares, Josh Hamilton debacle, caucausian heritage night and just your run of the mill, questionable baseball moves mess-ups. In a year where you keep thinking they can't distance themselves from the fanbase any more, this team flaps it's tattered, atrophied angel wings and creates some new, magical breed of mismanagement and miscalculation to surprise us all.