Mariners Name Dipoto General Manager

The Seattle Mariners introduced Jerry Dipoto as the team’s new General Manager in a press conference on Tuesday.

Dipoto, 47, is a former major league reliever who immediately started working in the front office when his career ended. He’s been a scout, a farm director, and a GM previously in his carer. He was the Los Angeles Angels GM from October 2011 until earlier this season, presiding over some winning Angels clubs.

Of course his No. 1 priority is to put a winning team on the field in Seattle, but he did say a few things about the minor leagues yesterday.

Early in the press conference, he said the team “wants to have a steady stream of minor league players coming through the system”

He spoke of acquiring players internationally – not just through the draft. He wants to tap into Cuban and Far East markets – areas where the Mariners have been only mildly (but successfully!) active in recent years.

When Dipoto was GM of the Angels, his Triple-A Salt Lake clubs posted the following records:

  • 2012: 73-71, third place.
  • 2013: 78-66, lost in PCL Championship Series.
  • 2014: 60-84, last place.
  • 2015: 58-86, last place.

A mixed bag, eh?

At the major league level, his Angels teams (including this year – he might be gone, but he built the club) had winning records in three of his four seasons, including a division title in 2014.

Most of the talk at the press conference was about major league goals, the status of Lloyd McClendon, and his background. He did make a comment of interest in a side interview which Larry Stone tweeted.

“I was a little disheartened at the overall strikeout rate in the minor leagues.” Dipoto indicated that improving contact will be a developmental priority.

Well, that would be a big change for the Rainiers from recent years – but not 2015. Tacoma was 11th in team strikeouts in the PCL this season – or stated another way, they were the sixth-toughest team to strike out among the 16 teams in the league. Dipoto was talking about the lower levels, where Advanced-A Bakersfield easily K’d the most in the California League, and Low-A Clinton had the second-most strikeouts in the Midwest League.

I find myself wondering how Dipoto’s hiring will impact a single player: Shawn O’Malley. Last year, O’Malley played for Salt Lake and was a September call-up (by Dipoto). He played sparingly as the Angels were busy winning 98 games, and then after the season Dipoto designated him for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. That’s when O’Malley became a free agent, ultimately signing with the Mariners.

Now here O’Malley is again, having played his way into another September call-up. But this time O’Malley is seeing more action, he’s played pretty well, and he appears to be a viable option to be the utility player in 2016. Will Dipoto give him that chance?

Dipoto spent a season pitching in the PCL. He went 9-9, 4.94 in 50 appearances (nine starts) for the 1992 Colorado Springs Sky Sox. That was the final year that the Cleveland Indians had their affiliate in the Springs – the Rockies came into existence and moved in the following season.

So even if he never scouted at Cheney Stadium, we know he’s pitched here before.

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We’ll be back with a fresh post on Friday.

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