Where have you gone Jerry DiPoto? Come back we need you!
By Grant Avise
The Angels are really starting to feel the effect of losing their general manager Jerry Dipoto, who resigned earlier this month after a highly publicized, tumultuous relationship with long-time Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia. With the trade deadline rapidly approaching the Angels’ front office like all other teams in baseball is trying its best to add the last minute pieces to their puzzle. Dipoto, during the 2014 season, somehow was able to makeover a struggling Angels’ bullpen and make it into strength for the team. He added Jason Grilli from the Pirates and Huston Street from the Padres, to solidify the back-end of the pen last year and in the same trade that brought Street also included a young hard throwing right hander Trevor Gott who has been a key part to this year’s bullpen.
Angels third baseman Conor Gillaspie (22) hits a single during his first weekend as an Angel . Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
With Dipoto’s departure, the club named former general manager Bill Stoneman as their interim GM for the remainder of the season. Stoneman has a track record for not making significant moves during the season. This season has been no different. When third baseman David Freese was sidelined due to a broken right index finger Wednesday, Stoneman brought White Sox utility infielder Conor Gillaspie (.259/.285/.372 in 2015) to help fill the void left by Freese (.240/.309/.397). While Gillaspie is a solid defender like Freese, he has struggled mightily with the bat this season. Gillaspie will share time at third base with Kyle Kubitza and Taylor Featherston.
Monday, Stoneman made another, Stoneman-like move when he acquired veteran outfielder Shane Victorino (34) and cash from the Boston Red Sox for Josh Rutledge, a minor league second basemen the Angels’ obtained from the Rockies’ in the offseason. Rutledge was supposed to battle for the starting second base spot, but struggled during spring training allowing Johnny Giavotella to win the job. Giavotella has kept a firm grip on the position all season, so there was not much room left for Rutledge. The Angels’ have needed a top of the lineup guy for a while and a consistent leftfielder ever since the whole Josh Hamilton debacle started in the offseason, which resulted in Hamilton being traded to the Rangers. Matt Joyce was supposed to be that left fielder/DH but has not been able to hit all season (.178). Victorino is looked at as being short-term answer to fill both the leadoff and left field concerns.
Victorino has only played in 33 games this season due to leg issues and most of last year in the disabled list but has been playing consistently since July 3rd. However he has also been only hitting .217 since his return to the lineup (245 on the year). He also was a switch-hitter most of his career but now is exclusively right handed since 2013. Victorino is certainly on the downward side of his solid career, but to me it is more about what he brings to the clubhouse than to the field that makes this trade worthwhile. He is a 2x all-star, 4x gold glove winner, and 2x World Series champion (’08 with the Phillies and ’12 with the Red Sox). So he knows how to win and what it takes to be on top.
Angels acquired veteran outfielder Shane Victorino from Boston on Monday afternoon in hopes of filling a season long void in left field. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
In the two trades the Angels made this past week they only had to give up one player and some cash to obtain two players that fill holes on the team. I give the trades an overall B-. They were not substantial trades that will impact the team for more than just this season, but they are not very high risk moves nor did the team give up any of its highly sought after young pitching. Just the way Stoneman likes to operate. However it is my opinion that if Dipoto was still at the helm in the front office some more bold and impactful moves would have transpired. Only time will tell if these moves will help the team out in the long run but for their sake and my sanity I hope that they do.