Jerry Dipoto was introduced Tuesday in Seattle as the Mariners’ new general manager at an official press conference at Safeco Field.
President Kevin Mather had was the first to speak as he introduced Dipoto and was very excited with the hire.
“Today is a big day,” Mariners president Mather said. “Today is an exciting day for the Seattle Mariners. The Seattle Mariners baseball team got better today.”
Mather stated that he went through a thorough search that involved talking with people in all facets of the game from the commissioner’s office to scouts around the league to pinpoint the best candidates. He needed a home run hire after the Jack Zduriencik era and it looks like this search was very thorough to find the right guy.
Everyone he talked to said that Seattle was a great baseball market and they were surprised they weren’t more successful on the field. He was told the Mariners had good administration, leadership and scouting and people also added that this team wasn’t far off from being competitive.
This was all taken into consideration and Mather and the Mariners organization finally ended up with Jerry Dipoto as the new man in charge after exactly one month to the day that they fired previous GM, Jack Zduriencik.
Mather really liked the track record, references, and management style he learned about and knew previously about Dipoto that made him the right man for the job.
Dipoto then took over the press conference and you could immediately sense his energy on the podium.
“I am thrilled to be here,” said Dipoto. “Like Kevin, I’ve been in the game a fairly long time — 27 seasons and a lot of different roles. This is one that I’m thrilled to undertake. It’s a dream job for me.”
When he started to talk about baseball, there were some good things to take away.
“My baseball philosophy is to build flexibility, versatility, and balance,” Dipoto said. “That leads to sustainability.”
This is a big key for Dipoto who comes in off of a regime with Jack Zduriencik that lacked some key leadership components. One of the biggest challenges for Dipoto will be to lay a good foundation for this organization almost on the fly.
This is a franchise that hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2001, an MLB leading drought. He has his work cut out for him as he takes over a farm system that is very depleted and ranked 25th overall by Baseball America.
Dipoto did say that this will not be an easy job, but there are pieces in place to get this done in a timely manner. No one will be perfect with every move, and Dipoto doesn’t expect to be right on every single move he makes.
“I look forward to the challenges,” Dipoto said. “There will be challenges. I say this every day. I don’t know what mistake I’m going to make today. But I’m going to make one. I’m going to make one tomorrow, too. I just hope it’s not a very big mistake. We’ll learn to minimize those and maximize the successes and make this organization a championship organization, and then sustain it.”
Sustaining it will come eventually, but in the here and now, this is a team he says is built to win.
“I believe the foundation level here is fantastic,” Dipoto said. He continued by saying, “there will be areas where we improve quickly and other areas that will take some time. Minor-league development is a slow build, takes time. The major-league roster foundation is here. What we need to do is work in the between.”
As for manager Lloyd McClendon and his job status moving forward, that seems to be more of an uncertainty. They met Monday and will continue to meet the rest of the week so they can learn each other’s views on baseball.
“My time yesterday with Lloyd was great,” Dipoto said. “Lloyd is a great baseball guy. He’s been around the game a long time. I’ve come across Lloyd many times in our career journeys. But I’ve never spent much time with him.”
Getting to know each other won’t take too long as he did say their personalities mesh very well. What will be key is the accountability factor. He didn’t give a clear statement on McClendon’s job status, but he didn’t totally rule anything out.
“The best marriages are those in which you fall in love and then get married rather than someone arranging it from a thousand miles away. It will take time to get know one another,” Dipoto said about the managerial situation.
Trust seems to be a big key with Dipoto and that seems like it will ultimately determine who is managing the 2016 Seattle Mariners.
“To have someone I believe in and that I trust and who trusts me and believes in what I’m doing is terrifically important, and I think that’s the foundation to all we do,” he said. “In this game, and in particularly in the post, you communicate up and you communicate down and you have to communicate laterally, and to me the manager of the Major League team more than any other is a partner.”
Whether McClendon and Dipoto will be work partners will take some time, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
As for the time table of getting this thing rolling, Dipoto said he wants to have about a month and a half to “stabilize” the organization and get the club ready for all of the meetings that happen in mid-November.
There are many avenues that Dipoto could take to help get this Mariners team to the Postseason in the future, and it will sure be something to keep your eye on.
The Mariners now have a new voice with Dipoto and it looks like they are in good hands with him at the helm.