Jerry Dipoto, newly appointed senior vice president and general manager of the Los Angeles Angels, says not to count out the franchise as a player in the free-agent sweepstakes for Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols.
"Don't assume that we have no interest in Fielder or Pujols," Dipoto said in an interview with ESPN.com baseball analyst Jim Bowden. "We don't want to lock the door. We are a high-revenue team and I'm a big believer in acquiring impact players. However, they are not our greatest need and are not priority number one on our list."
Dipoto, who took over the job on Oct. 29 after replacing Tony Reagins, said the team's top offseason priority is strengthening the bullpen, especially in terms of right-handed arms.
One thing Dipoto made clear was manager Mike Scioscia's role in player-personnel decisions. Dipoto was asked whether there was any truth to the notion that Scioscia has the final say.
"No truth," he said flatly. "It has been portrayed to me directly by [owner] Arte Moreno, [team president] John Carpino and Mike Scioscia that I have final say in personnel decisions pending ownership approval.
"Scioscia's input, strong opinions and feedback will be weighed significantly. I am fairly certain, like I have my whole life, to work in an environment that understands that everything is a collaboration. That being said, Mike Scioscia has made it clear to me that he understands his role as manager and mine as the senior VP and GM."
Of the current roster, Dipoto said prized prospect Mike Trout will still need to play his way onto the team and is not penciled in as a starter just yet. Dipoto said going into spring training, the outfield will be Torii Hunter in right, Peter Bourjos in center and Vernon Wells in left.
"I know one thing, he's going to play every day and if it's not in the major leagues then it will be in our farm system," Dipoto said of Trout. "Wells deserves a chance to bounce back. Throughout his career he has a history of bouncing back the year after he's had a down year. Wells needs to be protected. That being said, we'll play the best three outfielders on opening and if Mike Trout is one of those three, we won't hold him back."