Well, it happened. Zack Greinke is staying in Southern California, but he'll be doing so wearing Dodger Blue and all the Angels have to show for it is a wobbly rotation and a giant hole in their farm system where three quality prospects used to be.
Some corners of the baseball world are applauding Jerry Dipoto for the restraint he showed in not giving into Greinke's wild demands. That's great, really it is. Not everyone can be the Dodgers and just throw mountains of money at everything with no concern for long-term financial flexibility. In all likelihood, the Angels would've wound up regretting it had they given Greinke the same deal that the Dodgers did and the Halos already have (at least) one giant contract that they are bound to regret in a few years.
The problem is that Dipoto could have not overpaid for Greinke and still held onto Jean Segura, Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena. Much like the Angels couldn't really afford to give Greinke his record contract, the Angels really couldn't afford to forfeit that kind of prospect haul from their perilously thin farm system, at least not unless they were going to keep Greinke beyond 2012, which we now know they did not.
Long story short, it sure seems like Dipoto screwed the pooch on this one. He either paid the lofty trade price for Greinke under the assumption that he'd be able to re-sign him only to get caught with his pants down because he horribly misread the market for Greinke or he made a short-sighted trade that cost the franchise three of their top six prospects so the Angels could rent Greinke for a failed two-month run at a Wild Card spot. Neither is a particularly pleasing option because they both suggest that Dipoto is either not smart or not risk averse enough or both.
What really kills the Halos here though is the fallout from the move. Not only do they not have Greinke, but they also now don't have enough quality prospects in their system to make a legitimate trade offer for another frontline starting pitcher to replace him. That's how they got stuck with Joe Blanton. Having money is great and all, but your cash is only as good as the options available to you on the free agent market. The Halos need other options, but they are now severely limited due to their lack of prospects which are the real currency of the trade market.
It is also how Jerry Dipoto is going to find himself having a much harder time getting Arte Moreno to sign off on deadline deals, especially when it comes to rental players. The Halos are now 0-for-2 on big name rental player trades with the first being the infamous Mark Teixeira trade that resulted in Moreno all but declaring fatwah on Scott Boras. After having Greinke walk away without the Angels even seemingly making a serious bid, that might be all she wrote for that kind of a trade. Having Arte put the kibosh on rental trades isn't an entirely bad thing, but having the owner lose at least a little bit of faith in the GM is quite another.
Of course, if the Halos go on and enjoy a bunch of post-season success this year, all will be forgotten. But if they don't, Dipoto get ready for a whole bunch of fingers to start pointing in his direction.