Angels' front office moving on without Dipoto

Angels' front office moving on without Dipoto

ANAHEIM -- It was exactly two weeks ago, a day after Jerry Dipoto resigned as the Angels' general manager, when assistant GMs Matt Klentak and Scott Servais hosted three conference calls, with all of the pro scouts, all of the amateur scouts and everybody involved in player development.

Each call carried the same general message: "This is OK. One person left, it's a blow. But we'll get through it. Everybody's still here, and we need you now more than ever."

Two weeks away from the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, and three and a half months before an offseason that looms with uncertainty, this has been the front office's rallying cry. Bill Stoneman is now the interim GM, but he's been deferring mostly to Klentak and Servais, the two Dipoto executives striving to keep operations running as normal and peaceful as possible.

"Nobody wished for this to happen, but the reality is that we have to move forward," Klentak said Thursday. "And the truth is that once we got through the initial transition period and Bill got settled in, everything has been business as usual. Bill has been awesome."

Dipoto said he stepped down because he "didn't feel like [he] could help take the next step forward in the position [he] was in," a diplomatic way of alluding to the widely held belief that he and longtime Angels manager Mike Scioscia could not coexist. Did it set up a potentially awkward situation with the employees who remain, the vast majority of whom were brought in by Dipoto?

"Not at all," Klentak said. "We might agree sometimes, we might not agree sometimes, but we're not constantly fighting. That's an easy narrative, I guess, but it's not really true."

It isn't an ideal dynamic, and a lot can change in the offseason if an outside GM is hired and the front office gets restructured.

But it helps that Angels owner Arte Moreno and president John Carpino wanted Dipoto to stay, which speaks well about those who remain. Or that Stoneman -- 71, mild-mannered and detached as an adviser the last eight years -- knows his limitations. Or that basically every executive, scout and coach has agreed to at least see the season through. Or that Klentak, 34, has a laid-back personality and seems to have a good relationship with Scioscia.

"In the last two weeks, my dialogue with Mike -- talking about roster moves, injuries, etc. -- has been perfectly normal," Klentak said. "Business as usual; I have always gotten along with Mike."

Stoneman will rely heavily on, and potentially defer to, Klentak and baseball operations director Justin Hollander regarding potential trades, with Servais continuing to run scouting and player development. But it remains to be seen whether Scioscia takes a more active role in personnel decisions.

The Angels still seek a bat. They'd ideally get a left-handed-hitting left fielder who could lead off or bat fifth -- or both -- but they're open to offense however it comes. They'd prefer to trade for players controlled beyond this season, but they'll consider rentals at reasonable costs.

Dipoto's vision remains; his remaining employees hope a discord with Scioscia does not.

"We're not just following Jerry's vision -- we are invested in it and we are a part of that," Klentak said. "So it is really natural for us to just continue how we've been operating. Over time, we may end up drifting in a slightly different direction than Jerry would've drifted if he was here, but for the most part, whatever the course that we were on, we all believed in it. That's why we were here. That's why we all bought in, because we all agreed with where we are, where we want to be and how we're going to get there. Naturally, I feel like we're all going to continue on that course."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.