Little by little, as time passes, former Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto reveals more about his stormy relationship with Angels Manager Mike Scioscia, which ended July 1 when Dipoto abruptly resigned in the wake of renewed friction with Scioscia.
Dipoto was reluctant to speak publicly about Scioscia in July, and about all he said on the topic after being named Seattle Mariners GM in late September was that he and Scioscia “had disagreements in certain areas,” but that the two were not “constantly at war with each other,” as many perceived.
But in an interview with MLB Network Radio on Friday, Dipoto, who hired former Angels assistant GM Scott Servais as Mariners manager in October, admitted that he did not have what would be considered a “healthy” relationship with Scioscia.
“I have a manager now in Scott Servais who I do see eye-to-eye with, and we have discussed every move,” Dipoto said. “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].
“With Scott, we talk about it, we cut it up on the floor, we’ll introduce it to the coaches and scouts, and at the end of the day, I think that’s healthy. Healthy disagreements are 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.”
Many of the differences between Dipoto and Scioscia stemmed from Scioscia’s resistance to data prepared by Dipoto and his staff and the GM’s firing of longtime hitting coach Mickey Hatcher, one of Scioscia’s best friends, in May 2012.
The two seemed to iron out their differences in 2014, when the Angels went a major league-best 98-64, but Dipoto reached a breaking point in late June after details of a tense clubhouse meeting before a game were leaked to Fox Sports.
In that meeting, Dipoto reportedly expressed frustration with the failure of Scioscia and his coaches to convey scouting and statistical information provided by the front office to the players. The general manager was also upset that Scioscia’s in-game decisions seemed driven more by instinct than information.
Dipoto did not have owner Arte Moreno’s approval to fire Scioscia, who is entering the seventh year of the 10-year, $50-million deal that Moreno signed him to in 2009, so Dipoto resigned.
Moreno’s hands-on approach and penchant for making emotion-based decisions also caused friction between the owner and Dipoto.
It was Moreno, not Dipoto, who spearheaded the pursuit of outfielder Josh Hamilton, whose five-year, $125-million deal with the Angels in December of 2012 was one of the worst free-agent signings in franchise history.
Hamilton, who has long battled an addiction to cocaine and alcohol, was a bust on the field during two injury-marred seasons in Anaheim and suffered a substance-abuse relapse last winter. He was eventually traded back to Texas in April, with the Angels eating about $60 million of the remaining $80 million on his contract.
“There were times when it was very difficult to do the job that I was asked to do because I was caught in between perhaps two different dynamics,” Dipoto said. “And I would say the same of them; I had some different ideas that maybe they weren’t as comfortable with.
“But we did put a winning product on the field in three of the four years, and one of those seasons, we led the league in wins. We had flaws and warts but kept trying to adjust as the car was moving down the road.”
Though it may not seem like it, Dipoto said he did have some fond memories of his 3 1/2-year stint with the Angels.
“I appreciate those [3 1/2] years, and for much of that time, I had a great time,” Dipoto said. “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.”
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