Angels owner Arte Moreno is said to be so upset with the Angels performance he is expressing unhappiness behind the scenes about the job performance of both legendary manager Mike Scioscia and heralded general manager Jerry Dipoto, people familiar with the situation say.
Moreno's displeasure can't be particularly surprising in that the Angels went into Friday night's game with the White Sox four games out in the race for the second wild-card spot, clearly not what he envisioned when he spent $315 million on one day last winter -- on Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. Moreno is not a man who takes defeat well, whether it be games lost or missed free-agent opportunities.
An Angels person downplayed Moreno's recent private complaints, suggesting there's nothing out of the ordinary for a team failing to meet expectations.
Behind the scenes, Moreno is said to be vocal about his belief that the team's record is not matching its talent. But apparently, while Moreno has suggested the team has plenty of ability, he also has expressed dissatisfaction with Dipoto at times, too, going so far as to question whether he made the right call to hire him (Dipoto didn't return messages).
Complicating matters is that the relationship between Scioscia and Dipoto has been slow to develop. Scioscia is said to have been very upset by the May firing of longtime teammate and hitting coach Mickey Hatcher, who's found work with their old team, the Dodgers. While the Angels have played better since a brutal April, the underperformance has weighed on both men and their relationship. The Angels person allowed that a new program is an "adjustment'' for many. That's probably especially true for Scioscia, who used to run the show.
Scioscia was accustomed to being the main man -- he was seen as the real baseball decision-maker when Tony Reagins was the GM -- and that changed with the hiring of the well-regarded Dipoto. The Angels person referred to both Scioscia and Dipoto as "brilliant.'' But as with the clubhouse, they likely aren't short on ego.
While the Angels have gained a bad rep in recent years for firing a lot of people (they've already let go of scouts Willie Fraser and Brad Sloan during this season), it's hard to see how that's a realistic solution here. One management person on another team said he believes "there's some pressure on Scioscia,'' but it would seem farfetched to think Scioscia is fired now, even if they should miss the playoffs for a third straight year. More likely, he gets at least another year considering all the good will he's built -- not to mention the extraordinary $30-million-plus remaining on his 10-year, $50-million contract through 2018.
Dipoto, meanwhile, is only in his first year, so he's just getting started. And while the team hasn't gelled as they had hoped, more moves have worked than haven't. The trades for reliever Ernesto Frieri and Zack Greinke have been a plus. The Wilson signing isn't working as hoped, though he did make the All-Star team before a second-half slide.
If there's a criticism, it might be a reliance on youth in the pen a year after that was their very issue. While the hard-throwing Frieri has been a big boon for the pen, the lack of a veteran presence in the pen has been a detriment again.
The team actually doesn't seem to have a lot of weaknesses, which makes their standing especially confounding.