Jerry Dipoto, the Diamondbacks' vice president of scouting and player personnel, was getting quite a bit of play in the general manager market this fall, and it finally paid off Friday when he was offered the Angels' GM job.
The Angels are expected to announce Dipoto's hiring Saturday. They also spoke with the Yankees' Damon Oppenheimer and Billy Eppler, former Dodgers assistant general manager Kim Ng, former Mets general manager Omar Minaya, and White Sox assistant general manager Rick Hahn. The final decision came down to Dipoto or Ng, according to reports.
Dipoto also was among the candidates interviewed in Baltimore, which is looking to replace Andy MacPhail.
"He certainly should be on people's lists," D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said. "If I was the owner of another ballclub, I'd certainly be lobbing a call to Derrick (Hall, D-backs president/CEO) or myself to ask permission, because I think he is that good."
Dipoto, a former major league reliever, opened a lot of eyes in the industry and earned a lot of street cred during his three months on the job in 2010, when he replaced fired general manager Josh Byrnes on July 1 and remained as interim general manager until Towers was hired on Sept. 23.
Dipoto got the ball rolling on the D-backs' 2011 turnaround season with a series of trades at the 2010 trade deadline, adding Daniel Hudson and top pitching prospects Tyler Skaggs, Patrick Corbin, and David Holmberg for veterans Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson while also ridding the organization of $45 million in salary commitments.
Hudson won 16 games as the # 2 starter behind right-hander Ian Kennedy this season. Skaggs was named the organizational Pitcher of the Year by the Diamondbacks, while Corbin and Holmberg also enjopyed impressive seasons.
Towers and Dipoto were the finalists for the permanent position last September, and Towers created a new position within the organization to keep Dipoto, who basically served as Towers' right-hand man, as Ted Simmons and Grady Fuson had done in San Diego.
--D-backs manager Kirk Gibson was named the NL Manager of the Year by The Sporting News, which polled major league managers to determine the winners and received responses from 11 of the 16 NL managers. Gibson, in his first year as full-time manager, led the D-backs to a 94-68 record, a 29-game improvement over 2010, when he served as the interim manager after taking over from fired A.J. Hinch on July 1. The publication also tabbed Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon the AL Manager of the Year, receiving responses from 12 of 14 AL managers.
--RF Justin Upton was named to The Sporting News' National League All-Star team in a poll of 29 league executives. Upton had a career year, hitting .289 with career highs in home runs (31), RBI (88), doubles (39), and stolen bases (21), is likely to finish in the top five in the NL MVP balloting conducted by the BBWAA.
--RHP Juan Gutierrez, who missed the final four months of the 2011 season with arm trouble that eventually led to Tommy John surgery, was unconditionally released October 13. Gutierrez, 28, is expected to miss most if not all of the 2012 season after undergoing surgery in September. Gutierrez had 24 saves for the D-backs after being acquired with INF/OF Chris Burke and RHP Chad Qualls for RHP Jose Valverde before the 2008 season. He was the primary closer in September 2009 but could not hold the job at the start of 2010, although he ended that year as the unnamed closer after Qualls was traded to Tampa Bay.
--Junior Noboa was promoted to vice president of Latin American operations after spending the last five seasons as special assistant to the general manager and director of Latin American operations. Naboa, a former major league infielder who was hired in 1995, will continue to oversee the D-backs' academy in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic. "His efforts have produced high-caliber players and we are confident he will continue to deliver talented players," said Jerry Dipoto, the D-backs' former vice president of scouting and player development. Noboa has been on the board of trustees for the Dominican Republic Sports and Education Academy and served as hitting coach for his native Dominican Republic in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic.
--3B Sean Burroughs, LHP Alberto Castillo and C Robby Hammock were outrighted off the major league roster to Class AAA Reno and OF David Winfree was added to the roster the week after the D-backs' playoff run ended, leaving their 40-man roster at 38 players. SS Stephen Drew and RHP Jason Marquis do not count against the roster because they are on the 60-day disabled list. While Drew is under contract for 2012, free agent Marquis is not expected to return. Burroughs hit .273 in 110 at-bats and was second in the major leagues with 16 pinch hits. Winfree, 26, was .321/.389/.575 with nine homers and 37 RBI at Class AAA Reno.
DIAMOND STAT: 2 -- Teams known to have interviewed D-backs vice president of scouting and player development Jerry Dipoto for their vacant general manager positions this fall.
QUOTABLE: "If I was the owner of another ballclub, I'd certainly be lobbing a call to Derrick (Hall, D-backs president/CEO) or myself to ask permission, because I think he is that good." -- GM Kevin Towers, on the viability of D-backs' vice president Jerry Dipoto for one of the vacant general manager positions.
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