What's that you say? There's no Angels new you say? Well, of course not. It is the annual holiday lull in baseball, which makes things pretty had on us blogger sorts. This year seems to be even more difficult, for me at least, since Jerry Dipoto has already wrapped up his off-season shopping, put a bow on it, stuck it under the tree, had the recipient open the gift and give an insincere thank you as they peak out of the corner of their eye for a gift receipt to see if they can return in it. That leaves me with very few options for producing content, especially since I've already pulled the emergency "list article" cord. Really the only thing left for me to do is break the glass, reach for the alarm button and fire ax so I can produce the tried and true "report card" post.
Financial Accounting = C-
While the grade here may not be pleasing, Jerry should take solace in the fact that he is showing signs of improvement. He had to repeat this course after handing out a ten-year, quarter of a million dollar deal last off-season, but this semester the largest contract he completed was for exactly half the years and half the money. That is still too large for anyone to be comfortable with, but at least it is progress. Mr. Dipoto also showed admirable restraint in his assignments by only acquiring assets on cheap and/or short-term contracts. With a little more focus and dedication, Jerry should be able to make the honor roll in this subject next school year.
Risk Management = B
Mr. Dipoto still seems to have trouble resisting high-risk assets, but he has learned how to balance his gambles with some conservative investments to off-set his risk, which is the primary principle of this course. For example, the rotation re-construction project he handed in featured significant risks in the off-loading of two known quantities and the addition of one high-risk asset, Tommy Hanson, but he hedged against those risks by acquiring two stable, low-risk units, Blanton and Vargas, as well as the very smart decision to have not one but two back-up plans available in the event of a total disaster. Jerry also earned some extra credit for learning from his mistakes the previous semester by no longer investing in assets near the end of their usable life.
Marketing = F
It appears Jerry does not understand even the most basic concepts of this subject. Every move that he has made was preceded by almost no hype whatsoever. Quite often the first time the public got wind of his signings or trades was the moment when they actually happened. The only exception to this was the Dan Haren trade to Chicago, which turned out to be a complete disaster since they trade not only didn't come to fruition but also left the team looking like fools because the reported details of the trade were so wildly in the favor of the Cubs. At the end, Mr. Dipoto looked as if he had been too incompetent to pull off a bad trade which is a special kind of incompetent. Jerry also lost points for setting up a press conference to introduce four of his acquisitions at the same time, only there were less reporters than ballplayers at the press conference, which was just plain embarrassing for everyone involved.
Architecture = C+ for results, A for effort
Jerry made some questionable structural changes to the franchise, which is why his grade here is a bit low. However, Mr. Dipoto should be applauded for the effort he made in making those changes. Not only were his changes plentiful, but they were implemented proactively and decisively. Even if the decisions that Jerry made prove to be less than aesthetically pleasing, you cannot really fault him for the manner in which he executed the plans he drew up. That being said, the blueprints of this franchise do raise some concerns over structural integrity. Three of the four pillars of the team's foundation are a 32-year old slugger whose career progression is eerily similar to that of someone who is really 34 years old, an injury prone former addict with an alarming decline in plate discipline and contact rate and an ace pitcher with back and shoulder issues as well as reduced velocity. On a more macro level, the foundation has also been materially changed to that of one more reliant on scoring runs than preventing them, which could create some difficulties for the managerial staff and the way they normally like to operate.
History = D
The whole point of learning about history is so that we can learn from the past, in particular the mistakes of the past. For example, one would have thought that Mr. Dipoto would have learned from his exploits last year that spending a whole bunch of money doesn't equal success. Alas, Jerry once again spent a whole lot of money in order to chase success. He spent less money, which is why he didn't fail the class outright. So he has that going for him, which is nice.
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