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.
- You can watch most of the Jerry Dipoto press conference right here.
- Here are the news stories from the press conference from The News Tribune and the Seattle Times.
- Earlier, the Seattle Times had a news story on Dipoto’s hiring which includes a list of his notable moves in his previous job as Angels GM.
- Larry Stone writes that the Mariners have moved into the modern era with the hiring of Dipoto. Dipoto was impressive in his press conference, but that doesn’t distinguish him from previous Mariners GMs who also “won” their opening press conference.
- John McGrath had a somewhat flippant column on Dipoto’s hiring. After the introductory press conference, McGrath produced this column on Dipoto’s background.
- It remains to be seen if Dipoto will keep manager Lloyd McClendon. Bob Dutton reports that their first meeting was positive.
- marc w at USS Mariner writes that Dipoto presided over some terrible farm systems in both of his previous jobs.
- With the new GM watching, Seattle rallied to beat the Astros last night, 6-4, as Shawn O’Malley had the game-winning hit. But the Astros hit three solo homers to beat the Mariners on Monday night, 3-2.
- Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln did a brief Q&A with reporters – here is the transcript.
- Dutton’s Mariners Notebook mentions that James Paxton is being shut down until the Fall League, and Ketel Marte plans to play in the Dominican Winter League.
- The Mariners snuck two players into the very back of Baseball America’s list of the California League’s Top 20 Prospects.
We’ll be back with a fresh post on Friday.