Jerry Dipoto: Seattle Mariners GM Candidate


The Seattle Mariners are currently looking at candidates for their open general manager job. Here we examine the case for Jerry Dipoto.

Ever since the much-celebrated firing of Jack Zduriencik, the Seattle Mariners have been a team without a general manager. This hasn’t stopped them from trading Austin Jackson (and Justin Ruggiano) since Z’s dismissal, but it does stand as a big hole that needs to be filled. Every team needs a top decision-maker, and the Mariners currently don’t have one. This requires a fix.

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One thing we’ve had no shortage of since the team fired Zduriencik? Names. So, so many names have been connected to the Mariners job, and some of them even seem like reasonable suggestions. Such as Jerry Dipoto! Dipoto’s a guy who’s been linked to the M’s GM opening since the beginning, and so as such it’s probably important that we take his candidacy seriously.

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You know Jerry Dipoto! He’s the guy who’s been running the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for the last few years. He held that post from 2011 until this summer, when he resigned because the Angels are a bunch of stinky idiots basically chose their manager over their general manager. Before that he briefly served as interim general manager following Josh Byrnes’s firing in Arizona, and before that he enjoyed a nice playing career from 1993 until 2000. Accomplished fella, that Dipoto.

The first thing that jumps out at you about Dipoto’s track record is that his Angels teams have always been a Mike Trout away from disaster. The recent strategy in Anaheim has boiled down to “Mike Trout plus some junk,” and those teams have had all of one successful season. The temptation is to blame Dipoto for these shortcomings, since it was his job to build the roster. And there’s something to that.

In looking at his style as an executive, one can’t help but be impressed with how well he’s been able to blend scouting and analytics. This should really be a bare minimum requirement for any executive in this day and age – if you can’t use numbers you’re a joke, and if you disregard scouting information you’re a total joke. Anyone who does anything less than consider all available information isn’t doing the job right. The most informed decision always involves using every possible tool. Dipoto does that.

September 20, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels pitcher Garrett Richards (center) is presented the Nick Adenhart pitcher of the year award by manager Mike Scioscia (14) and general manager Jerry DiPoto before playing against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A.Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It’s easy to look at Dipoto’s abrupt and heated exit from the Angels organization as something of a red flag, but I actually think that decision paints him in a positive light. The Angels hired Dipoto largely for the progressive way he approach his job, but then made it clear that he didn’t even have authority over his field manager, the ever anti-progressive Mike Scioscia. When Scioscia refused to let best practices inform his managerial choices, the team made the (incorrect) decision to stand in his corner. Dipoto realized he could no longer do his job to the fullest of his abilities, and so he left to go find a new job.

Which didn’t take long – Dipoto quickly latched on as an advisor for the Boston Red Sox. It’s a temporary spot, however, and the latest word has Dipoto all ready for an interview with the Mariners. So what does this specific executive bring to this specific organization? Can he work with the M’s home ballpark and a sometimes-meddlesome ownership group?

Angel Stadium is very pitcher-friendly, yet Dipoto’s Angels teams usually didn’t have a lot of trouble on offense. This is, of course, largely out of Dipoto’s control – he was gifted Mike Trout from the heavens and Albert Pujols from ownership – but it must be noted that he succeeded with a constraint that absolutely destroyed Jack Z. Doesn’t mean he can necessarily build an offense in Safeco Field, but there’s reason to believe it could be done under his watch.

As far as meddlesome ownership is concerned, the Mariners honestly don’t have squat on the Angels. Yeah, they matched the Angels’ Pujols contract with their ten-year Robinson Cano signing, but the Angels also did the whole Josh Hamilton thing. And then there’s all the Scioscia drama. The Angels loudly, publicly screw their general managers, and they do it all the time. Compared to that, dealing with Howard Lincoln should be candy.

There’s reason to believe Jerry Dipoto would be a good fit as Seattle Mariners GM: he’s experienced in running a balanced, effective front office, and never really got a fair chance to succeed in Los Angeles. Then again, he was unable to succeed with a huge budget and Willie Mays 2.0, and he’d be coming to a city where winning has always been a challenge. Is he the right fit? Hard to say! Let’s hope the Mariners get a lot out of this interview.

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