So, Scioscia and Dipoto are staying together, presumably for the good of the kids. Their relationship is damaged and they aren't really in love anymore (if they ever were to begin with), but they are going to stick it out for the greater good. They are going to try one last time work through their differences to try and get back to a place where everyone can be happy. As with many fractured relationships, there isn't just one big issue driving a wedge between the two men, but rather a few key areas where they must work together to start patching things up.
The only reason I had thought that the Angels should've considered firing Scioscia was the way this team dealt with the pressure of high expectations. On multiple occasions, Angel players, including Mike Trout, admitted that the team playing was too tight and feeling the pressure. There were also plenty of rumors of this causing unrest in the clubhouse. I fail to see how letting Scioscia, and to a lesser extent Dipoto, twist in the wind for weeks before deciding to keep them is going to alleviate that pressure.
The way in which the retention of Scioscia and Dipoto was handled made it perfectly clear that they are both on thin ice. If the 2014 season starts going wrong, one or both could very well get fired. Scioscia and Dipoto know this and so do all of the guys in the clubhouse. It is up to Scioscia to find a way to help them deal with that pressure, but that is a tall order when they all know the pressure is actually on Scioscia. The problem is that it has been Scioscia's job to relieve that pressure the last two seasons and he has thus far failed to do so.
Maybe in some weird way having Scioscia on the wobbly chair will somehow redirect the pressure on the players towards Scioscia and allow them to loosen up, but maybe it will only increase the pressure on the players as they once again try to do too much in an effort to spare their skipper from the chopping block. The bottom line is that this is a deep-rooted cultural issue right now and it is going to take a unified effort from Scioscia, Dipoto, Moreno and every player on the roster to change that culture.
The philosophy gap
Scioscia has been swearing up and down that there is no philosophical gap between Dipoto and himself. Methinks he dost protest too much.
I mean, there has to be at least a little bit of a gap because I can't imagine that the sabermetric-loving Dipoto can possibly agree with Erick Aybar batting second in the order. Besides, Scioscia betrayed that line of placation with comments he made toward the end of the season in which he openly complained about being too reliant on "batter's box" offense. He wants a contact-heavy, speedy lineup but that isn't what Dipoto gave him the last two years.
One of them is going to have to meet the other in the middle. Either Dipoto can trade a thumper like Trumbo and sign some "Scioscia-type" players to fill out the holes in the roster, or Scioscia is going to have to adapt to playing a more patient style of ball. It is basic evolution. You must adapt or you will die. These two have failed to adapt to each other and, as a result, the franchise has been dying a slow death. They still have a pulse, so getting on the same page with building the roster and using it properly could resuscitate the club. If Scioscia is telling the truth about that gap having been closed, he better prove it in 2014.
The coaching staff
An extension of the philosophy gap is the remaining decisions on the coaching staff. There is still an obvious disconnect between Scioscia and Dipoto here as Mike is still bemoaning the firing of Mickey Hatcher. Finding a new hitting coach, third base coach and possibly assistant hitting and pitching coaches has the potential to be a territorial pissing match. Scioscia can push to hire the coaches he wants, Dipoto can try and force coaches who are more in line with his way of thinking on Scioscia or the two can work in concert to make hires they both agree with.
The fact that the uber-loyal Scioscia even let Picciolo and Eppard be dismissed suggests that Dipoto is capable of getting his way, but the promotion of Ebel to bench coach also hints at compromise. Hopefully the two find a way to make a mutual decision on hiring, especially at hitting coach, since the coaches can influence philosophy and they don't need to introduce more philosophical clash by having one party force an unwelcome voice into the clubhouse.
More than anything, Scioscia and Dipoto must find a way to join together and use their powers as one a la Voltron to try and control Arte Moreno from making more impulsive decisions. Considering how Moreno clearly isn't enamored of either man right now, that will be difficult, but forming a unified front in their dealings with Arte is beneficial to both of their futures with the organization.
There is little doubt that the most damaging moves the Angels have made the last few years have been made (or not made) at the behest of Moreno. Maybe Arte has learned his lesson the hard way after the lost 2013 season, but just in case he hasn't, he is going to need someone to stand up to him the next time he makes an ill-informed decision over the head of everyone else. The Hamilton signing clearly shows that Dipoto doesn't have the juice to do it himself, but Moreno still has immense respect for Scioscia, so Mike backing up Jerry's attempts at rebuffing Moreno's commands might be just what is necessary to rein in Arte during his most irrational moments.
The unifying theme of all of these problems is that Scioscia and Dipoto need to work together to solve them. Having differing opinions in an organization is a good thing, but only if everyone shares the same agenda. That did not appear to be the case the last two seasons between Scioscia and Dipoto. Yes, they both want to win, but they both wanted to win "their way." If they continue down that road this season, they will find that the road ends at one place: mutually assured destruction.
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