Jerry Dipoto Rumors
Here are a few notes from the American League ...
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto tells Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that his squad is simply "not good right now." He notes that, with so much going wrong, "it's awfully hard to look at one area or one person and say, that's the cure." After investing huge money in Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, the club was only able to afford a pitching corps that sits near the bottom of the league in all of the major, comprehensive pitching statistics. And, of course, neither Pujols nor Hamilton has performed as expected. The team admittedly entered the year "thin after the 25-man team and the 12-man staff," according to Dipoto, and that lack of depth was tested so much that the team was forced "to start drilling for oil." Now, in a comment that Heyman describes as being "perhaps ominous," Dipoto says that the team is left waiting to see what happens as players come back from the DL: "As we get healthy, we'll have a better chance to assess where we are."
- So far, the best free agent signing of 2013 has been the unexpected Mark Reynolds, tweets Scott Merkin of MLB.com. Indeed, Reynolds is tearing the cover off of the ball for the Indians. After tonight's game, he sports a .291/.367/.645 slash with eleven home runs, which he has accomplished in part by lowering his strikeout rate to a level (25.0%) that is well below his career average (32.3%). Whether or not he keeps up this pace, he appears very likely to substantially outperform his one-year, $6MM deal. Certainly, the Orioles are likely regretting the decision to non-tender Reynolds, who would be an unquestioned upgrade at the club's disastrous DH spot.
- Pitcher Colby Lewis of the Rangers, a prospective 2014 free agent, began his rehab assignment this evening with a two-inning appearance in Triple-A. According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Twitter), Lewis stretched his 45-pitch limit over just two innings as he labored through a 32-pitch second and ultimately let in three runs. As MLBTR's Steve Adams recently explained, Lewis could earn himself a multi-year contract if he shows teams that his past durability can be counted on once more going forward. In an injury-shortened 2012, the 32-year-old Lewis put up a 3.43 ERA over 105 innings and registered 8.0 K/9 against just 1.2 BB/9.
With the calendar set to turn to August in less than two weeks, the Pirates continue to shock the baseball world with their sights on winning the National League Central. Winners of seven of its last ten, Pittsburgh owns the best record in baseball since June 16 thanks to the strong play of Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez. McCutchen, one of the frontrunners for league MVP, boasts a batting average of .470 during that time frame with Alvarez leading the Major Leagues with home runs over the last five weeks (h/t Jon Heyman).
Let's catch up on the latest news and headlines from around the league...
- Rangers manager Ron Washington told Jim Bowden of ESPN.com that Texas is willing to consider trading any of its prospects except for Jurickson Profar if the team looks to acquire a piece for another World Series run (Twitter link).
- Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto spoke with Bowden about the team's plans for the non-waiver trade deadline and said that he's working incredibly hard to improve his roster but that the trade market has proven to be difficult (via Twitter).
- With the Dodgers cooling on Ryan Dempster, the Braves have emerged as the favorites to land the right-hander, report Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com. Potential suitors, including the Cardinals and Nationals, are wary of parting with better prospects for what could prove to be a rental given Dempster's status as a free agent at the end of the season.
- After signing Carlos Quentin to a multiyear deal earlier on Sunday, the Padres are in preliminary talks with Huston Street with hopes of retaining his services well into the future, writes Scott Miller of CBSSports.com.
The Rangers named 35-year-old Bobby Valentine their manager on this date in 1985. Valentine, now the skipper in Boston, managed the Rangers for eight seasons. Here's the latest from the AL West, starting with the managerial situation in Anaheim...
- There could be a divide developing between longtime Angels manager Mike Scioscia and new general manager Jerry Dipoto, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times writes. However, Scioscia says he doesn’t think about the possibility that further changes could come and Dipoto said "Mike has done a fabulous job."
- Commissioner Bud Selig says there’s no timetable for resolution on the Athletics’ stadium situation, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.
- Selig said it’s up to Athletics owner Lew Wolff to consider relocation possibilities, Gerry Spratt of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. “That’s really his decision to make,” Selig said. The commissioner noted that a move would require approval from baseball’s other owners.
Here are a handful of interesting notes from around baseball's West divisions:
- The Athletics' interest in re-signing impending free agent DH Hideki Matsui is waning, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Oakland wants to get younger, according to Slusser, and Matsui, now 37, doesn't fit that bill. A return isn't entirely impossible, though, and A's GM Billy Beane will meet with Matsui's agent, Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group, next week.
- Angels owner Arte Moreno said that the Halos' 2012 payroll will be in the $130-140MM range, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), which would prevent them from pursuing any expensive free agents. In the Angels' installment of MLBTR's Offseason Outlook series, Ben Nicholson-Smith calculated that the Angels will have about $120MM on the books before accounting for players making the league minimum, so new GM Jerry Dipoto will have about $10-20MM to play with.
- Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson's 2013 club option vested when the Snakes reached the playoffs this year, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The D'Backs almost certainly would have picked up the option anyway considering Gibson's success in his first full season as skipper, but Arizona's postseason berth assured it. Gibson's coaches have all been extended through 2013, as well.
- D'Backs GM Kevin Towers will focus on position players this offseason rather than pitchers, according to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com, with second base being a key spot of interest. It's been expected that Aaron Hill's $8MM 2012 club option will be declined, though Arizona would like to re-sign him, according to Gilbert.
- Towers doesn't expect to find a new vice president of scouting and player development, the position vacated by Dipoto, according to Piecoro. As well, Towers and Dipoto will hash out which executives the latter will be allowed to bring to Anaheim, with director of international scouting Carlos Gomez expected to be a person of interest in those talks. "That'd be a tough one," Towers said. "He's good. International guys are hard to find, especially young guys. He is under contract. I plan on offering him even a second year."
2:51pm: Dipoto's deal is for three guaranteed years followed by two option years, clarifies Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times on Twitter.
SATURDAY, 9:45am: The team announced that Dipoto received a five-year contract to be GM in a press release. His introductory press conference will be held at noon PT today.
The 43-year-old was the top name on MLBTR's list of GM candidates. He emerged as one of the game's top executives after a successful stint as Arizona's interim GM, but he told Tim Dierkes in August that he's always looking for more knowledge.
"The day I feel like I've stopped learning about baseball is the day I should go home," he said. "Every single day you're going to learn something new and start to adjust your lines of thinking. It's an ongoing education. Every person I meet in the game, my first instinct is to learn something from them. My mentor is the game."
Dipoto, a former Major League reliever, was Arizona's senior VP of scouting and player development before landing the Angels job. After an eight-year playing career that included stints with the Indians, Mets and Rockies, Dipoto joined Colorado's front office. Later, he worked in Boston's front office and was with the Red Sox for their 2004 title, before returning to the Rockies and then leaving for Arizona.
The Angels are far from the only team affected by the move. Rays executive Andrew Friedman -- apparently owner Arte Moreno's top choice -- won't be going to Anaheim. The Orioles, who had interviewed Dipoto for their GM opening, lost their chance to hire Dipoto. Meanwhile, Tony LaCava of the Blue Jays, De Jon Watson of the Dodgers and John Stockstill of the Orioles have improved chances of becoming Baltimore's GM.
The Angels also considered Thad Levine of the Rangers, Damon Oppenheimer and Billy Eppler of the Yankees, former GMs Dan Evans and Omar Minaya, Kim Ng of MLB and Rick Hahn of the White Sox. The Angels won't announce the move before Saturday, since MLB prohibits major announcements during the World Series.
MLBTR's Transaction Tracker offers a look back at the moves Dipoto made while running the Diamondbacks last summer. He acquired Daniel Hudson from the White Sox and obtained Joe Saunders and prospects Tyler Skaggs and Patrick Corbin from the Angels.
Arizona's Jerry Dipoto interviewed for the Orioles' GM opening yesterday, and Toronto's Tony LaCava is scheduled for today. The latest:
- Jon Heyman of SI.com hears that Dipoto has a “good shot” at the job (Twitter link).
- The Orioles originally planned to interview at least four candidates, according to Steve Gould of the Baltimore Sun. They've interviewed Dipoto and Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava so far and it would be surprising if they don't interview more people.
- Dipoto will also interview for the Angels job, and Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com expects him to get one of the two GM positions. Kubatko notes that the Orioles are likely to reassign director of player development John Stockstill, replacing him with coordinator of minor league instruction Brian Graham.
- Kubatko hears Rangers executive Thad Levine could be interviewed later, but he'd be surprised if the Orioles hire him (Twitter link). Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun believes Levine will be interviewed if the Orioles haven't hired someone by the end of the World Series. The Rangers' assistant GM is an Alexandria, Virginia native who told MLBTR he "grew up a big Orioles fan."
- Connolly tweets that as of Tuesday evening, the Orioles had not asked permission to talk to Levine, the Dodgers' De Jon Watson or Logan White, or the Angels' Tony Reagins, and the Marlins' Dan Jennings may be denied permission. He also considers the Tigers' Al Avila a longshot.
On this date in 1988, Dodgers outfielder Kirk Gibson slugged his historic walk-off homer off Oakland's Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the World Series. Here are some notes on clubs that reside in MLB's West divisions, including one on another Los Angeles outfielder:
- The Angels have received permission from the Diamondbacks to interview Jerry Dipoto, Arizona's senior vice president of scouting and player development, a major league source tells Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. The Angels will also interview Yankees executives Damon Oppenheimer and Billy Eppler, and Dipoto is expected to interview for the Orioles' GM job.
- Dipoto is considered the favorite to become Baltimore's next GM, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
- Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz recently rehashed his near move to Japan a few years ago with Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com. Nick Collias of MLBTR and Rumores de Beisbol was kind enough to translate: "My agent told me they were really interested and they'd pay me a relatively large amount of money for the last two months of the season," Cruz said. "I was in the minor leagues, I didn't have a future with the Rangers, and I wanted to begin to explore other options." The interested team was the Yomiuri Giants, and the salary would have been $800K, but Texas GM Jon Daniels declined. Good thing for the Rangers that he did.
- Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp was named Major League Player of the Year by Baseball America. Kemp tied for the highest adjusted OPS (BA's version) among center fielders in the past 30 seasons, matching Ken Griffey Jr.'s 171 in 1997, writes Joe Haakenson.
The Phillies suffered their first sweep since August 2010 on Thursday night, but they got good news regarding the long-term outlook of one of their starting pitchers. More on that in this late-night grab bag of links ...
- Phillies righty Roy Oswalt's agent, Bob Garber, said that the 33-year-old is no longer considering retiring after this season, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. Oswalt and the Phils have a $16MM mutual option for 2012, although Zolecki writes that it's unlikely the Phils will exercise their end of that deal. The Phils could bring back Oswalt on a lesser deal, however. In February, Oswalt, who has dealt with back injuries in recent years, said, "I'm going to play this year and see how it goes."
- Diamondbacks senior vice president of scouting and development Jerry Dipoto has played an integral role in Arizona's resurgence this year, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The Snakes' former interim GM remained with the organization last offseason, even though he was a candidate for the full-time GM job and didn't get it. Dipoto was interviewed recently by Tim Dierkes as part of MLBTR's GM Candidates series, so be sure to check that out.
- Teams are moving closer to monitoring their players' physical conditioning year-round, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, although the players' union likely won't care for it. Some executives are growing increasingly frustrated by players who report to Spring Training out of shape or let themselves go during the season, according to Olney.
MLBTR's list of general manager candidates introduced 20 people who were identified by their peers as potential Major League GMs. We’re bringing you closer to the candidates with a series of pieces. Today the series continues with Diamondbacks executive Jerry Dipoto, who ranked first on our list.
By May of 2000, right-handed reliever Jerry Dipoto had appeared in 378 big league games for the Indians, Mets, and Rockies, saving 49 along the way. Faced with a lengthy DL stay for a neck injury, the Rockies invited the 31-year-old to take part in a unique experience: exposure to the inner workings of the front office. Though he had not yet retired, Dipoto's education beyond the mound began, as Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd let him into the draft room to be a fly on the wall and many of the organization's future star executives showed him the ropes. When retirement officially came about in 2001, O'Dowd invited Dipoto to officially "step across the aisle and help the Rockies build a champion."
Dipoto assumed a jack-of-all-trades role for Colorado, taking in everything from baseball operations and trade discussions to postgame commentary on television. After a few years his education continued with the Red Sox, as he followed Josh Byrnes to Boston and was a member of the front office for the '04 World Champion team. Dipoto went back to the Rockies in '05 as their director of player personnel, and then settled in with the Diamondbacks in '06.
Dipoto initially served as Arizona's vice president of player personnel, overseeing all aspects of the club's scouting and player development. During his tenure, he's had interviews for GM openings with the Mariners and Nationals. When the D'Backs let Byrnes go last summer, they made Dipoto interim GM, and he authored multiple crucial trades. Dipoto interviewed for the full-time job, but the D'Backs hired Kevin Towers after the season, with Dipoto staying on as the senior vice president of scouting and player development. Dipoto, a self-described "talker," chatted with me on the phone Friday evening.
On his experience with the Red Sox:
It's a great franchise with a storied history and they had a new, young, cutting edge general manager who was building a group around him that was very eclectic. There were longer-in-the tooth, experienced baseball people with decades of experience to younger up-and-comers that I knew personally. It was cool to be in at the ground floor of a system they were creating from scratch.
On his education of the statistical side of the game:
As the Bill James literature became more mainstream you had somebody you could read along with and understand. I wouldn't qualify myself as a saber-junkie but I would say that from the early stages you start to understand trends. There are things you notice when you're a 12-year-old kid that you can break down in more specifics when you're a 40-year-old man.
I've always been hungry for information and have an understanding of the analytics and have a personal feeling on how to apply them on a case-to-case basis. There are times when the blend starts to favor one side or the other [stats or scouting]. If you try to apply one formula or stick with one natural inclination I think you'll make a lot of mistakes.
On the constant thirst for baseball knowledge:
The day I feel like I've stopped learning about baseball is the day I should go home. Every single day you're going to learn something new and start to adjust your lines of thinking. It's an ongoing education. Every person I meet in the game, my first instinct is to learn something from them. My mentor is the game.
On his experience as the Diamondbacks' interim GM:
It's experience you really can't buy. Until you're into the fire you really don't know, like pitching the ninth inning of the World Series. It was a very unique time for the organization. As a group we made a lot of really effective moves that positively changed the future of the team. Ken Kendrick said to me, "You are in charge now. These are your decisions to make." I appreciated their trust. At the end of the day I am very happy with what we were able to do.
On his proudest moments in player acquisitions...
I'm very proud of this draft. Trevor Bauer, Archie Bradley, Andrew Chafin, Anthony Meo, Kyle Winkler in the tenth round. I'm also proud of the 2009 draft, the way we went about picking off offensive performers and restocking a system that had been picked apart a little bit by graduations and recent trades.
The trades last summer, in particular the Dan Haren deal with the Angels and the Edwin Jackson deal with the White Sox, largely because it was essentially the first time I was operating and had done that with no net. The industry's reaction to the Dan Haren trade in the hours and weeks surrounding it, there might be a little bit different opinion of it today, which is I think the essence of scouting. I'm extremely proud of the Edwin Jackson deal, not only because Daniel Hudson's been terrific for us since they we acquired him, but because the guy on the back end of that deal, David Holmberg, is actually a good prospect himself.
Take the total haul from those two deals and it's a pretty high volume of pitching. And it helped us get our finances situated so that we could handle this draft and build a team within our payroll confines. I'll probably always look back on it, whether I have an opportunity to be a full-time GM or not, as one of more exhilarating moments I've had in the game. If I do get a chance to be a full-time GM and do another hundred deals, I'm not quite sure any of them will bear the weight that those deals did in that moment in time.
On his career goals and whether he's aiming to become a GM:
I wouldn't tell you that I don't have the desire to be a GM. As a general rule I've always believed the game will tell me how far I will go. My current role is awfully hard to complain about. If a GM job becomes available it's be an honor to be considered, but I have no expectation of it nor do I feel like my career is a failure if I don't get it.
The Diamondbacks signed manager Kirk Gibson to a two-year extension with a club option for 2013, reports MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. Additionally, he tweets that former interim GM Jerry Dipoto will become the senior vice president of scouting and player development under new GM Kevin Towers. As first noted by the Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro on Twitter, only Matt Williams (first base) and Glenn Sherlock (bullpen) will remain on Arizona's coaching staff. Bo Porter (bench) and Jack Howell (hitting) were let go, while Mel Stottlemyre Jr. (pitching) and Joel Youngblood (third base) were offered other jobs in the organization.
The Diamondbacks posted a 34-49 record under Gibson this year; he took over for A.J. Hinch while Dipoto succeeded Josh Byrnes. Dipoto engineered the trades of Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson, Chad Qualls, and Chris Snyder in July.