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Angels pick Jerry Dipoto as new general manager

Jerry Dipoto, a former major-league relief pitcher, has most recently been senior vice president of scouting and player development for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Dipoto will be introduced Saturday at a news conference.

October 28, 2011|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Former Arizona Diamondbacks executive Jerry DiPoto answers questions during a news conference in Phoenix on July 2, 2010.
Former Arizona Diamondbacks executive Jerry DiPoto answers questions… (Ross D. Franklin / Associated…)

The Angels will hold a noon news conference Saturday to introduce Jerry Dipoto as their general manager, according to people familiar with the search process but who are not authorized to speak publicly until the official announcement.

Since Major League Baseball discourages teams from making announcements during the World Series, Angels vice president of communications Tim Mead would neither confirm nor deny the news on Friday.

Dipoto, 43, spent the past six seasons as Arizona's senior vice president of scouting and player development. He replaces Tony Reagins, who resigned two days after a season in which the Angels finished 10 games behind the Rangers in the American League West and out of the playoffs for the second straight year.

The Angels made a strong push to lure Tampa Bay GM Andrew Friedman and were prepared to offer the highly regarded 34-year-old a position as president of baseball operations, but Friedman chose to stay with the Rays.

Dipoto, a former big-league reliever, also interviewed for the Baltimore GM job. He met with the Angels twice in two weeks before being offered the job.

"He's worn almost every hat that you need to wear," Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers said of Dipoto in an Arizona Republic story in September. "He's been a closer, a big-league player, a scout, a special assistant, worked in development when he was with Colorado. He was an interim GM.

"He has tremendous recall. He knows players. He's very organized, thorough, has people skills and work ethic. Really, there are no negatives. Do I think he'll be a good GM? I think he'll be outstanding."

Dipoto is the 11th GM in Angels history. He beat out a list of finalists that included former Mets GM Omar Minaya, former Dodgers assistant GM Kim Ng, White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn and Yankees professional scouting director Billy Eppler.

The Angels were impressed by Dipoto's strong communication and leadership skills, his experience as a player and a talent evaluator, and his ability to understand and embrace both the statistical analysis and scouting aspects of the game.

They also liked that Dipoto had experience as a GM, serving on an interim basis for the Diamondbacks after Josh Byrnes was fired in July 2010.

It was Dipoto's call to trade pitcher Dan Haren to the Angels that month for a package that included pitcher Joe Saunders and highly regarded pitching prospect Tyler Skaggs. He also dealt pitcher Edwin Jackson to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Daniel Hudson, who played a prominent role in Arizona's worst-to-first run to the National League West title in 2011.

Dipoto interviewed for the permanent GM job in Arizona and remained with the Diamondbacks even though Towers was hired.

"I watched what he did at the deadline knowing that I was going to interview for this job," Towers said, "and every move that he made was like, 'Wow.' There at the beginning, I thought, 'Hey, I've got a pretty good shot at this.' The more that I watched the work that he did, I thought, 'This ain't going to be easy.'"

After an eight-year big-league career that ended in 2001 because of a bulging disc in his neck, Dipoto served two seasons (2003-2004) as a scout for the Boston Red Sox and one (2005) as the Rockies' director of player personnel. He joined the Diamondbacks as their vice president of player personnel in 2006.

As a pitcher, Dipoto, a right-hander, went 27-24 with a 4.05 earned-run average and 49 saves in 390 appearances with the Cleveland Indians, New York Mets and Rockies from 1993-2000. He played the bulk of his career after having a cancerous thyroid removed in 1994.

The Angels wanted to have a GM in place by the start of free agency next week, but one of Dipoto's first priorities will be to rebuild a front office by hiring a player personnel director, assistant GM and farm director.

He will also have to learn how to navigate between one of the most powerful managers in the game, Mike Scioscia, who has considerable input on player personnel moves, and strong-willed owner Arte Moreno, who has been heavily involved in negotiations for premier free agents in recent winters.

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

twitter.com/MikeDiGiovanna

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