Thoughts on the GM search and why Dipoto is the favorite
The Orioles have interviewed two candidates so far for the position vacated this month by president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail.
Jerry Dipoto, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ senior vice president of scouting and player development, met with the interviewing committee Tuesday, and Tony LaCava, the Toronto Blue Jays’ assistant general manager and director of player personnel, met with the group Wednesday.
It’s been expected that the Orioles will interview a couple more, but you can basically take Florida Marlins assistant general manager Dan Jennings out of the conversation. The Marlins have pretty much denied permission to talk to him, though perhaps not formally yet.
Thad Levine, the Texas Rangers’ assistant general manager and a Northern Virginia native, could get an interview, but he’s obviously a little busy right now with his Rangers and the World Series.
No matter who else comes in -- if anyone -- I think it will likely come down to Dipoto and LaCava. Both are well-respected and highly coveted options – MLBTradeRumors.com ranked Dipoto as No. 1 and LaCava as No. 6 in its prospective GMs list – and both have interviewed for other GM jobs in the past.
The Orioles couldn’t go wrong with either. Both are originally East Coast guys: Dipoto is from New Jersey, and LaCava is from, and still lives in, Pittsburgh. Both have backgrounds in scouting and development, which the Orioles could desperately use.
And both seemingly want this job, with its warts and all. There are only 30 such positions in baseball, and both of these guys have waited their turns and desire an opportunity to implement their own policies and strategies in hopes of turning around a once-proud franchise.
Dipoto probably gets the edge, though, because he is a former big leaguer and has previously held a GM position, albeit on an interim basis. During his two-month stint last year, he made a couple of gutsy trades that helped Arizona land pitchers Daniel Hudson (for Edwin Jackson) and Joe Saunders and top prospect Tyler Skaggs (in a package for Dan Haren).
Although he’s never worked with Showalter, Dipoto played against Showalter-led teams in New York and Arizona while he was with the Colorado Rockies, New York Mets and Cleveland Indians. They didn’t overlap with the Diamondbacks, but they have mutual friends who did. So each should have a good idea what makes the other tick.
Dipoto also will be interviewed by the Los Angeles Angels for their vacant GM job, but – and this will sound strange to Orioles fans – it’s conceivable that Dipoto would prefer this one. Yes, the Angels are better and aren’t in the American League East.
But they, too, have an owner and a manager with strong personalities and a farm system that has been depleted. They have a larger payroll but also are stuck with some bad contracts. Certainly, they are much closer to winning, but that may not be as appealing to a first-time GM like Dipoto (or LaCava) as you’d imagine. Unlike managers and players, GMs like implementing their own visions – and that’s much easier to do with a club in need of a true rebuild. And, let’s face it, the Orioles need to undergo a fairly extensive rebuilding effort, especially in the minors.
And here is something that can’t be discounted: The Angels are rumored to be interviewing a boatload of top candidates. The process could take a while and, just by sheer numbers, Dipoto has a lesser chance of landing that one. The Orioles right now are at two candidates, likely won’t go much higher than that, and have shown a willingness to get this done sooner than later. So Dipoto, conceivably, could have an offer in hand from the Orioles while waiting on the Angels’ next move. And it’s often better to have an Oriole in hand …
I know you’ve heard that “sooner than later” nonsense before. And the Orioles rarely do anything swiftly. But, remember, when the club hired MacPhail, it was done by Peter Angelos in a clandestine weekend.
Plus, there’s a PR slant to this for a team that could wear bridesmaid uniforms on the field for its legion of near misses. How bad would it look if the Orioles truly want Dipoto, drag their feet and then he goes to the Angels? Have you seen that movie before?
So I wouldn’t be surprised if the Orioles made a move quickly. Maybe even agreeing to a contract with someone before the World Series ends – even if the announcement came later.
And I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if that person is Dipoto.