It is now Jerry Dipoto’s job to end Major League Baseball’s longest postseason drought.
The Seattle Mariners confirmed Monday their choice of Dipoto, 47, to be their new general manager and will formalize the announcement at 10 a.m. Tuesday during a news conference at Safeco Field.
“I’m honored to be joining the Mariners family,” Dipoto said in a statement released by the club. “As the 2015 season draws to a close, we have a great fan base, ballpark and organization, providing a great opportunity for success.
“I truly look forward to both the challenges and rewards to come as we chart a fresh course for the future of Mariners baseball.”
Dipoto served 3 1/2 years as general manager for the Los Angeles Angels before resigning July 1 after a public spat with manager Mike Scioscia over the use of analytics and other matters.
The Boston Red Sox hired Dipoto to an advisory role in mid-August. New club president Dave Dombrowski said recently he hoped to elevate Dipoto to a full-time position if he isn’t hired by another club.
The Mariners targeted Dipoto from the beginning in their search process to replace Jack Zduriencik, who was fired Aug. 28 after nearly seven years on the job.
“Jerry impressed us at each step of the process,” said club president Kevin Mather, who headed the search. “He has a very unique skill set, having been a successful player in the majors, then moving into front offices with steadily increasing responsibilities.
“Jerry has scouted, spent time in player development and has a track record as a very successful general manager.”
Multiple reports indicated Dipoto and New York Yankees assistant general manager Billy Eppler were the Mariners’ two finalists. Mather opted for the candidate who fit his desire for an experienced general manager.
Ironically, Eppler is viewed as the favorite to become the Angels’ next general manager — filling the vacancy created by Dipoto’s resignation.
Dipoto’s official title with the Mariners is executive vice president and general manager of baseball operations, and he inherits a dual challenge in taking over a club that has not reached the postseason since 2001.
In addition to bolstering a veteran roster that is concluding a deeply disappointing season, Dipoto must rebuild a farm system that is generally viewed as one of the weakest in the game.
One of Dipoto’s first decisions is likely to be whether to retain manager Lloyd McClendon, who has one year remaining on his contract.
Considering Dipoto’s much-publicized problems with Scioscia, he is likely to place a priority on a cohesive relationship with his next manager.
“During our conversations over the past few weeks,” Mather said, “it became clear to me that he has a very solid understanding of our team and organization, both where we are and where we want to be.
“And he has a strategy to get us there. Few candidates bring the combination of playing the game, scouting, a solid understanding of statistical metrics and a plan for player development.”
While running the Angels, Dipoto built a reputation as a wheeler-dealer who was a big believer in analytics. His free-agent acquisitions included first baseman Albert Pujols and left-handed pitcher C.J. Wilson.
Dipoto also made several trades in his final year that helped the Angels win the American League West Division in 2014 and return to the postseason for the first time since 2009.
Those acquisitions included third baseman David Freese, starting pitcher Hector Santiago and closer Huston Street.
Dipoto is a former pitcher who spent eight years (1993-2000) in the big leagues as a reliever with Cleveland, the New York Mets and Colorado. He was 27-24 with 49 saves and a 4.05 ERA in 390 games.
When a bulging disc in his neck forced him to retire prior to the 2001 season, Dipoto remained with the Rockies as special assistant to general manager Dan O’Dowd.
From there, Dipoto served as a Boston scout from 2003-04 before returning to the Rockies as director of player personnel from 2005-06. He was Arizona’s vice president for player personnel from 2006-10.
The Diamondbacks elevated Dipoto to interim general manager for the second half of the 2010 season after firing Josh Byrnes.
When Arizona hired Kevin Towers as a full-time replacement, Dipoto became senior vice president for scouting and player development. The Angels hired Dipoto as their general manager on Oct. 29, 2011.
Dipoto and his wife, Tamie, have two daughters (Taylor and Jordan) and one son (Jonah).
firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @TNT_Mariners
JERRY DIPOTO RESUME
July until hired by Seattle: Boston Red Sox, special assistant
October 2011 to July 1, 2015: Los Angeles Angels, general manager (one playoff appearance, 2014)
2011: Arizona Diamondbacks, vice president of scouting and player development
2010: Arizona Diamondbacks, interim general manager
2006-2010: Arizona Diamondbacks, vice president of player personnel
2005-2006: Colorado Rockies, director of player personnel
2003-2004: Boston Red Sox, scouting department
2001: Colorado Rockies, special assistant to the general manager
1993-2000: Relief pitcher for eight seasons (Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, Colorado Rockies)
Mariners general managers
Lou Gorman 1977-80
Dan O’Brien 1981-83
Hal Keller 1984-85
Dick Balderson 1986-88
Woody Woodward 1988-99
Pat Gillick 2000-03
Bill Bavasi 2004-08
Jack Zduriencik 2009-15
Jerry Dipoto 2015-