As any true baseball fan knows, the Major League Baseball cycle consists of five phases of what I call the five seasons of baseball; more like mini seasons. Spring Training, the first half of the season, the second half of the season after the All-Star break, a postseason and finally the off-season.
With that being said, Major League Baseball is in the transitionary period between the postseason, which I see as a last phase of the cycle, and the off-season which is a first phase that begins a new baseball year. The Angels as an organization have already made news in both of these cycles with Mark Trumbo winning The Sporting News American League Rookie of the Year for 2011 as voted by his Major League peers.
The Halos have also selected Jerry Dipoto as the new Angels General Manager. the former Diamondbacks Vice President was signed to a five-year deal. I have yet to do research on his background since news of the selection only hit the media yesterday, and he was formally announced as the General Manager today.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of General Manager he turns out to be. I can sit here and dissect everything he said during the press conference today. But obviously as we all know playing to the media versus actually following through with what you state are two different things altogether. I honestly hope he is an aggressive general manager that can bring a plethora of championships to this organization since he seemed to understand during the press conference that this is the direction the organization wants to go, win championships.
How does Jerry Dipoto do that? Well, first and foremost he is not building a fantasy team. So to those Angels’ fans that argue that we should go after both Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder; are being a bit unrealistic. First how do you plan to use to first baseman? Especially with the bounty of first baseman that we already have, I am mainly talking about Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales. The argument that’s been floating around in the media and various blogs is to convert Mark Trumbo to third base. Although that’s entirely possible, and I do as he that move happening, what do we do with both Pujols and Fielder? Both individuals are going to want to play every day. How do the Angels handle that balancing act and their personalities? Second, I don’t think it would be wise for the Angels to sign both players from a financial standpoint, if you stockpile at one position that doesn’t leave enough room to rebuild the bullpen and perhaps add another arm of the starting rotation. Which in the case of the bullpen especially, it needs to be revamped, most of the games that ran away from us this past season was because our middle relief was atrocious.
Jerry Dipoto talked about the building are minor-league farm system which I completely agree with, let’s find and develop our own homegrown talent and pay them what they deserve rather than look for a high profile and high paid free agent, however, before that can happen I think it is quintessential to make the passive fans to believe once again in the Angels product so they can spend their money this would in turn allow the organization to gather the money necessary to do everything they need to do. But in order to do that they need to be able to get butts in the seats.
Well, that’s all for now if anything of note happens in the off-season this is the place to read about it, for example, if the Angels sign a key free-agent, make a big trade, because one thing is for certain they can’t even dream about getting back to the postseason without aggressively filling in their weak points.
I purposely haven’t written about the shakeup in the Angels’ organization because I wanted to wait until some actionable maneuvers were made. Now that there are reports of the direction that the Angels want to go as an organization, I feel more comfortable writing down my thoughts on the subject. For this entry I want to focus specifically on the resignation of Tony Reagins and the changes in the General Manager position.
According to multiple news reports the Angels are set to interview Kim Ng. Ng, is a former Assistant General Manager with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Metropolitans. If hired by the Angels she would be the first female General Manager in any major sports franchise in the United States. I strongly believe however, that the sports media is making a bigger deal of this event than it actually is. Would I love if the Angels were to hire her from a social standpoint? Sure, I would love for my beloved team to go down in history as not only having the first person of color as an owner in all of Major League Baseball but also the first female General Manager as well. The Angels would definitely go down in history as true trailblazers in professional sports.
As a fan I look at the situation from a more pragmatic point of view. Ideally I would like someone who would better fit what the Angels’ organization needs. ESPN’s Angels beat writer Mark Saxon argues that the Angels need to hire Ng because she is fiscally conservative and will keep the team from making a bad financial decision that may set them back for years and I would add to that may be several decades. However, I personally don’t think that the Angels need a fiscal conservative as General Manager, what they really need is someone who is able to make smart decisions in order to improve the team and not necessarily save the team money.
I believe the Angels would be better served with someone with a bit more tangible experience someone like a Billy Beane; someone with a proven history, a body of work, not someone who has potential like Ng who I am sure would make a great General Manager for a team that fits her mold and that she fits with the team as well. In my opinion, the Angels are just not the right team for her talents right now. The Angels have made poor contract decisions as of late, highlighted by the questionable contract acquisition of Vernon Wells and the way they handled the contract of Gary Matthews Junior. That does not in my view equate to the need for the team to be fiscally conservative.
The Angels have also made a few more key changes in the front office, truth be told, I don’t know if all these changes help the team make the playoffs next year, but one thing is unequivocally true the team is in need of change, I’m glad that the organization has been able to recognize that change is needed.