With Kevin Towers taking over as the new GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks, interim GM Jerry DiPoto has decided not to return to the Diamondbacks organization, opting instead to move on.
DiPoto, 42, was a major league reliever for eight seasons, spending two of those seasons with the Mets. His career ended prematurely due to neck and spinal problems.
Since his retirement as a player, he has developed a strong reputation as a player and talent evaluator while working for several organizations beginning with a short stint in the Rockies front office.
In 2003, DiPoto joined the Red Sox as a scout and helped shape the young nucleus of the organization when they drafted Jonathan Papelbon in 2003 and Dustin Pedroia in 2004. He was there when the Red Sox would go on to win the 2004 World Series.
In November of 2004, DiPoto returned to the Rockies as the Director of Pro Scouting. His first round picks were all solid; in 2005 he drafted Troy Tulowitski, in 2006 Max Scherzer, and in 2007 Jarrod Parker.
DiPoto, began this year as Arizona’s vice president of player personnel, before taking over as the interim GM after Josh Byrnes was fired. Though Byrnes and DiPoto were good friends, the two couldn’t have been more different.
Byrnes was a Bill James disciple who uses advanced statistical analysis like Theo Epstein, whom Byrnes worked for in Boston before landing the Diamondbacks’ job. He now joins other notable statistically-guided general managers who have lost their jobs like Paul DePodesta from the Dodgers and J.P. Ricciardi from the Blue Jays.
In a June 2010, NY Times article entitled “From New Age To Old School“, DiPoto said that he sees himself “more as a purist than as a sabermetrician”, calling himself a “baseball historian first and foremost.”
“I’m a pretty simple guy,” he said. “I will never claim to be the equal of Josh Byrnes intellectually. I am anything but trying to reinvent the baseball wheel.”
The Toms River, New Jersey native grew up rooting for the Mets. He was asked in a 2008 interview about his memories of the 1986 World Series:
“I have great memories of it. I was actually in my freshman year of college. I can remember the position I was lying in on the bunk bed of my dorm room. I went to Virginia Commonwealth University and my roommate, Blair Wood, who bunked above me for that freshman year, I wouldn’t let him go to sleep. The game went on and on and when Jesse Orosco throws the last pitch and the glove goes up in the air and he’s down on his knees, being that I was on the bottom bunk, as you might expect I got up and went right into the springs. Blair got shoved up at the top and the lights were on and the party was on. It was very exciting. For the most part, throughout my life following them, they lost a lot, and I didn’t love them any less.”
Yesterday, Jon Heyman of SI.com said that the Mets are expected to consider both Josh Byrnes and Jerry DiPoto to replace Minaya. The Mets are said to have already begun interviewing candidates for the GM job. I strongly suspect that DiPoto is a leading candidate, and would be happy to see him get the opportunity to lead our franchise.