Contract extensions are all the rage these days. Everyone is doing it. Just ask Mike Trout!
We’ve all been waiting for Trout to get that deal and we were definitely not disappointed with the result. So what should we be hoping for now? This roster is full of guys who either already have big, long-term contracts or guys who haven’t proven themselves enough to be considered for an extension of their own. We have to extend someone, right?
So, why not Jerry Dipoto?
For those of you who don’t know, Dipoto is functionally in the last year of his contract. The team has contract options for him for the 2015 and 2016 season, but they haven’t exercised those options yet (as far as we know, sometimes these front office dealings go unreported for awhile). That puts him in the uncomfortable position of having no job security as he heads into what could be his final season running the Halos.
The thing is though that Dipoto’s job is more or less done for the year as far as big moves go. The trade deadline and amateur draft are still looming, but those typically aren’t periods that should make or break a GM. His work this offseason should speak for itself by now, so should there not be a decision coming?
The Angels haven’t won during Dipoto’s two years on the job, so it would seem to make sense to hold off on extending or firing Dipoto until we see how the 2014 season turns out. Of course, there isn’t much that Dipoto can do about that now. There isn’t really much he can about what happens on the field anyway. Who gets injured, who forgets how to hit and the crazy breaks of baseball are beyond his control.
A general manager should be judged less by the actual on-field results and more on the processes through which he put the roster together and how he used those processes to make decisions. That part of the debate is certainly questionable when it comes to Dipoto, but Arte Moreno clearly thought Jerry did a good enough job to deserve a crack at molding the roster for the 2014 season. If he didn’t like the processes, he should’ve let him go this last winter. As such, if he likes the work Dipoto did this offseason, he should reward Dipoto with an extension or at least a pick up of one or both of his contract options. If he didn’t like what Jerry did, he should just let him go now and begin integrating the new regime.
Frankly, it is hard to see how Moreno wouldn’t like the moves Dipoto orchestrated this offseason. The Freese trade was an overpay, but it should still make the team better in the present. The Mark Trumbo trade was a coup for the Angels. Joe Smith was a smart signing and the Ibanez addition was a solid low-risk move. Of course, there is also the contract extension Dipoto got Mike Trout to agree to. While Arte might’ve preferred to see that extension be a year or two longer, the discount that Jerry worked out earned the contract rave reviews across the baseball world. If that doesn’t make Arte happy, what will?
One can certainly pick apart the moves Dipoto made earlier in his tenure. The Zack Greinke deal looks worse and worse everyday. The Pujols and Hamilton signings have been hindrances, though they may not be entirely his doing. But, again, those are moves made in the past that didn’t merit him getting canned after those two seasons. He shouldn’t still have to pay the price on those a year after a series of what look like smart and savvy moves.
The ball is firmly in Arte Moreno’s court now. Either Dipoto has proven himself or he hasn’t. Commit to him for the next few years or just let him go and get started on finding a new front office.