Jerry Dipoto, very politely, says working with Mike Scioscia was a pain in the butt

Associated Press
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Jerry Dipoto left his post in Anaheim under a cloud. There were several reports that he and manager Mike Scioscia clashed on any number of issues and that owner Arte Moreno was content to take Scioscia’s side in most matters. This is not really how most baseball teams operate these days.

Ideally there is cooperation and communication between the front office and the field manager. If that can’t be achieved, the typical case is that the GM’s vision for the franchise takes precedence. With the Angels, however, Scioscia was clearly in charge. It was reported that he and his coaches routinely ignored Dipoto and his analytics department’s input. It was an untenable situation for Dipoto given that the owner didn’t have his back. So he left.

Dipoto runs the Mariners now, and he was on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio channel today with Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette talking about his current gig and, for really the first time since he left Anaheim, his last one. His words about Scioscia were about as diplomatic as could be expected under the circumstances, but if you read between the lines it’s very, very clear that Dipoto was fed the heck up with the guy who, apparently, has the best job security in the business:

“The four years that I spent in Anaheim, and I appreciate those four years and for much of that time I had a great time.  And I got an opportunity to work with a manager who I believe is very likely to wind up in the Hall of Fame.  And I got a chance to work for an owner who never spared any expense in throwing as much money at a roster as he could, and the aggression they showed was great.  There were times where it was very difficult to do the job that I was asked to do because I was caught in between perhaps two different dynamics.  And I would say the same of them, I had some different ideas that maybe they weren’t as comfortable with.  And therefore we end up where we are four years from now.  But we did put a winning product on the field three out of the four years and one of those seasons we led the league in wins, and understood that we had flaws and warts but kept trying to adjust as the car was moving down the road to make the appropriate adjustments that would allow us to get into the win zone.”

Given that the Angels are thought to have the worse farm system in the game and are already starting out the spring with Albert Pujols — a very Scioscia/Moreno signing — injured again, the “win zone” is going to be hard for the Angels to find. I don’t think it takes too much interpretive magic to see that Dipoto knows this and offers these words as a nice form of “Welp, they are gonna stink because they didn’t listen to me. Oh well!”

Dipoto went on:

“I have a manager now in Scott Servais who I do see eye-to-eye with and we have discussed every move, we have disagreed on many ideas as we’ve gone through this offseason but in a really productive way.  And, you know, fair or unfair, that was not always the case with Mike [Scioscia].  And [with] Scott we talk about it, we cut it up on the floor, we’ll introduce it to coaches and scouts and at the end of the day I think that’s healthy.  And healthy disagreement is a good thing and sometimes in Anaheim, as you saw played out nationally multiple times over the four years, it wasn’t quite as healthy.”

Ultimately baseball wins and losses will tell the tale of who did better post-breakup, Dipoto or Scioscia, but for now this is the equivalent of a guy filling his Facebook feed with pictures of himself with his new girlfriend, happy as can be, knowing that they’re gonna get back to the ex.

Listen to the whole interview here.

 

 

 

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

The Rangers went 68-94, firing manager Chris Woodward during the season, and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco. Texas’ six straight losing seasons are its worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation.

Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.