- Blair Angulo, Reporter, WeAreSC.com
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Nearly a month after the search began, the Los Angeles Angels formally introduced Jerry Dipoto as their new general manager on Saturday.
Wearing a fresh red tie, a shiny Angels pin and a wide smile, Dipoto sat to the left of manager Mike Scioscia and spoke about his vision for a team that has failed to reach the postseason the last two years.
"I can't tell you how I honored I am to have the opportunity to join an organization with such championship-level people," Dipoto said. "With the experience of success the Angels have had over the last decade, I feel like it's an organization that's only moving forward, that has championship aspirations. ... We'll be accountable as an organization. We'll be accountable to one another and, maybe most of all, we're going to have passion about what we do and you're going to see it every day. I'm a fairly energetic person, and I expect that from the people around me. I love what I do, and I love doing it with good baseball people."
Dipoto, who had been senior vice president of scouting and player development for the Arizona Diamondbacks, becomes the 11th GM in franchise history. He replaces Tony Reagins, who resigned in September. Dipoto and the team agreed to terms on a five-year contract. The announcement comes ahead of free agency opening at 12:01 a.m. ET Sunday.
"I don't think there's anything in the way of wholesale moves that need to be made," Dipoto said. "This is a team that won 86 games last year. They've been to the postseason six of the last 10 years. That's pretty extraordinary."
The Angels moved quickly to hire Dipoto, who was also in the running to be the Baltimore Orioles' GM. The team interviewed Tampa Bay Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman, New York Yankees front-office executives Damon Oppenheimer and Billy Eppler, and MLB executive Kim Ng, among others. The Angels also expressed interest in former Dodgers GM Dan Evans and Texas Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine, but neither got a chance to interview.
"We just felt it was important to the organization and to the fans to just turn over every stone and educate ourselves," team president John Carpino said. "We wanted to be sure and today we are sure."
Scioscia, meanwhile, took the opportunity to dismiss speculation that he is the team's de facto GM.
"I'm the manager of the club," Scioscia said. "That's where all my effort and focus is and that's where all my effort and focus will continue to be. Jerry is going to get opinions from myself, sometimes strong opinions. Sometimes he'll act on them and sometimes he's not going to act on them. Our staff is going to give opinions. That's the way we've worked for 12 years and that's the way we'll continue to work. I'm sure Jerry is well aware of that."
The prospect of working with Scioscia was exciting to Dipoto. Although they haven't crossed paths in their careers, they immediately took to each other in a meeting Friday.
"I've been around so many strong baseball people and strong personalities throughout the years," Dipoto said. "I've got a lot of friends and people I trust that have known (Scioscia) for far longer. You need a strong manager. You need somebody who can make sure everything from the clubhouse, from the dugout out is strong. ... Mike is the best there is."
Angels owner Arte Moreno, who sat in the front row during the press conference, said Dipoto has complete power.
"Either way, if it works then I made the decision, if it didn't work then I didn't make the decision," Moreno joked. "Where people started thinking that this turned into a one-headed monster or a two-headed monster I don't know. Just from day one we've always had good communication and we were focused, we wanted to stay focused on building from within and I think we got a little bit away from that and we really wanted to find someone that would stay very focused on building from within."
Dipoto now has several other front-office positions to fill, including farm director, assistant GM and some pro scouting jobs. He said he would begin his search by early next week.
Although Dipoto is just 43, he has accumulated experience in every area of baseball since his playing career ended in Colorado in 2000.
Dipoto spent much of his final major league season on the disabled list with a neck injury, and he used the time to prepare for his next career. Dan O'Dowd allowed Dipoto to sit in on the Rockies' draft and personnel meetings, and he has been studying ever since.
Dipoto has worked closely with Padres general manager Josh Byrnes. They moved together from Colorado to Boston, where they worked closely with Theo Epstein, and on to Arizona for the 2006 season when Byrnes got the Diamondbacks' top job.
When Arizona fired Byrnes last year, Dipoto took over as interim GM and made the trade that sent three-time All-Star Dan Haren to the Angels for four players including starter Joe Saunders and solid prospects. He also swung a canny deal with the White Sox for Daniel Hudson, a 16-game winner this year.
When Kevin Towers took over the Diamondbacks this season, Dipoto stuck around, adding another perspective to a collection of knowledge he keeps in a 40-page book summing up his philosophies about baseball and life. He gave that "living document" to Moreno after his interview, but didn't know what impression he had made until he got the job offer.
"As I alluded to earlier, the one thing that I would hold in highest regard is the style of play here," Dipoto said. "The philosophy, what the Angels have done to develop their players in the past, there's a lot to be said. I wouldn't change that. There are some general tweaks, I wouldn't call it a personal stamp. There are things I believe in: The team that controls the counts controls the game. That's some thing that will be passed along to our young players as they're coming through. I don't believe in creating passive players."
Blair Angulo is a regular contributor to ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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