Ruben Amaro is still the general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, so any speculation about potential future general manager candidates for the Phils is nothing but speculation and conjecture, and my apologies if this seems a bit unfair to Mr. Amaro.
But we are soldiering through a 100-loss season and it seems clear to everyone that, with the addition of Andy MacPhail to the franchise as its future president, a new GM will take over for Amaro once his contract expires at the end of this season.
So, we look around. We investigate the potential candidates. And hey, what do you know? A prime candidate may have just shaken loose.
Jerry Dipoto said he has stepped down as Angels GM. More to come.— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) July 1, 2015
Right now, the Los Angeles Angels are a toxic brew of dysfunction, mismanagement and egos gone wild. And as bad as you think things have been here in Philadelphia, the Phils' front office has never been in the kind of disarray they're experiencing right now in Anaheim.
On Tuesday night, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto packed up his office after a continuing rift with manager Mike Scioscia that had quite simply run its course.
Dipoto is one of those younger, analytics-driven general managers Phillies fans are craving for and have become all the rage in baseball. However, he's been butting heads for years with the old-school Scioscia, who prides himself on being a manager whose decisions are guided more on "feel" and "experience."
The latest evolution in their years-long feud came after Scioscia and his coaches refused to pass along analytics-based scouting reports to the players that came from Dipoto's office. Instead, Dipoto announced he would distribute the information directly to the players. This rankled Scioscia and the staff, and it appears the man who is the longest tenured manager in baseball, with a World Series title under his belt, won the power struggle.
So with Dipoto a free agent, there is the obvious question for Phils fans. Is Dipoto a good candidate to replace Ruben Amaro should he be let go, as everyone assumes he will be?
For the first time in their history, the Phillies are now openly and loudly embracing sabermetrics and analytics. This is Dipoto's bread and butter. However, the Angels have made some questionable moves in free agency over the last few years, doling out long-term, big-money contracts for veteran players that will surely be damaging to the team in the near future.
While he's playing very well this season, the 10-year, $254 million Albert Pujols contract will continue to pay him big dollars through the 2021 season, at which point he'll be making $30 million as a 41-year-old. There is the five-year, $125 million deal to Josh Hamilton, the latter of which has already blown up in their faces. They're on the hook for around $28 million in 2016 and 2017, and he isn't even playing for them anymore.
However, it's widely believed it was the owner Arte Moreno, and not Dipoto, who was the driving force behind those two deals.
Phillies fans know that story (see: Montgomery, Ryan Howard extension).
He also signed C.J. Wilson to a five-year, $77.5 million deal before the 2012 season as a 31-year-old. In his four years with the Angels, he's put up a bWAR of 0.7, 3.3, 0.0 and 0.7 so far this year. Not too great.
But there has been some good. He re-signed Howie Kendrick to a four-year, $33.5 million deal, which avoided his final year of arbitration and bought out the first three years of his free agent deal. That deal was largely effective, with Kendrick totaling 11.6 bWAR over the first three years of the contract. He was traded to the Dodgers last off-season in exchange for pitching prospect Andrew Heaney, a consensus Top-45 prospect heading into this year.
He re-signed Erick Aybar to a five-year, $40 million deal that has also worked out well for the team, with Aybar worth 10.6 bWAR since 2012, including an All Star appearance in 2014.
He also locked in Mike Trout through the 2020 season with a six-year, $144.5 million deal, taking him through his age 28 season. Everyone agrees that was a good deal. And he somehow found a way to get rid of Vernon Wells' ridiculously awful contract in a trade, too.
Of course, all those free agent contracts resulted in no first round picks in 2012 and 2013, and the farm system has been one of the worst in baseball, ranked 28th out of 30 by Baseball America heading into this season. The year before, they were dead last.
With Dipoto, his tenure with the Angels seems to be a mixed bag, with some of the more high profile moves were reportedly driven by a meddling owner in Moreno. But the Angels did win 98 games and took the AL West crown last season, and are currently 41-37, just four games behind the Houston Astros this season. They were in a much deeper hole last year before roaring back in the second half.
So does the rest of baseball think that Dipoto is a good GM, given a meddling owner and a coaching staff that won't listen to him?
Dipoto appears to be the kind of guy that Phils' ownership would be looking for, someone to utilize numbers and analytics in order to help make the team better. But it would be a risky move, given the turmoil in the Angels organization and what appears to be a less-than-clear track record.
Hiring anyone from Anaheim should be done with a whole lot of investigation and with eyes wide open. Because the state of that front office is about as toxic as it gets.