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Angels exercise General Manager Jerry Dipoto's 2015 contract option

Angels exercise General Manager Jerry Dipoto's 2015 contract option
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia and General Manager Jerry Dipoto talk during spring training in 2014. (Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

The Angels’ transformation from an underachieving non-contender in 2013 to one of baseball’s best teams in 2014 paid off for General Manager Jerry Dipoto, who had the 2015 option on his contract exercised by owner Arte Moreno.

Dipoto, who signed a three-year deal with two option years before the 2012 season, was told near the All-Star break in July that he would be back next season, but he didn’t make the news public until before Friday night’s game against the Minnesota Twins. No action was taken on the 2016 option.

"I'm very happy to get the opportunity to move forward for another year," Dipoto said, adding that he will retain assistant general managers Scott Servais and Matt Klentak. "I'm looking forward to taking care of the rest of the baseball group.

"We wouldn't be here if we didn't all do it together. The turnaround we've had this year is good, and that's a tribute to the players on the field. You don't do that without good players."

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There was speculation after 2012 that Dipoto would be fired, in part because of the team’s disappointing play on the field and in part because of reports of a rift between him and Manager Mike Scioscia.

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The relationship between the two reportedly became strained after Dipoto fired longtime hitting coach Mickey Hatcher, who had been with Scioscia since 2000, in May 2012.

There were more reports of philosophical differences between Dipoto and Scioscia toward the end of 2013 and speculation that one or the other — or both — would be fired if the Angels missed the playoffs for a fourth straight year.

The Angels did not reach the postseason, but Moreno decided to keep both Dipoto and Scioscia after lengthy meetings between the two after the disappointing 2013 season.

"There's no doubt, we've all become a better team in terms of how we work with the front office, and we have to continue to grow," Scioscia said. "I know from a philosophical position and some of the concepts that are really important to be on the same page with, we've put a lot of time in on some things."

Dipoto also made several moves over the winter and during the season to upgrade the team, acquiring starting pitchers Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs in trades, signing setup man Joe Smith as a free agent and acquiring veteran closers Huston Street and Jason Grilli in midseason trades.

An improved rotation and a vastly improved bullpen have fueled the team’s surge to an 84-55 record, the best in baseball, entering Friday night’s game. The Angels also held a five-game lead over Oakland in the American League West.

"This business generally takes care of itself, and that's kind of what's happened," Dipoto said. "The job we've done to this point is probably why this is even a possibility. But we're still very much focused on 2014. This team has played so well to this point. We have a lot to do this season and hopefully this postseason."

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