New Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto discusses his relationship with Angels’ Mike Scioscia
While friction between former Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto and Manager Mike Scioscia was clearly a factor in Dipoto’s July 1 resignation, Dipoto, who was named the Seattle Mariners GM on Monday, denied that his 3 1/2-year tenure with the Angels was marked by constant conflict with Scioscia.
“I think the general narrative, the popular narrative, is that Mike and I were constantly at war during my time with the Angels — that’s the furthest thing from the truth, and I think Mike would share that belief as well,” Dipoto said at his introductory news conference in Seattle on Tuesday.
“Like many managers and general managers, we had disagreements in certain areas, and we agreed on a lot of things along the way as well. And we had some success. We grew together, we learned together. Every day I’m in this seat, I’m learning something new. And I hope that’s true of the people around me.”
Scioscia and Dipoto had a rocky relationship at times, stemming from Scioscia’s resistance to data prepared by Dipoto and his staff and the GM’s firing of long-time hitting coach Mickey Hatcher, one of Scioscia’s best friends, in May 2012.
The two seemed to iron out their differences in 2014, when the Angels went a major league-best 98-64, but Dipoto reached a breaking point in late June after details of a tense clubhouse meeting before a game were leaked to Fox Sports.
In that meeting, Dipoto reportedly expressed frustration with the failure of Scioscia and his coaches to convey scouting and statistical information provided by the front office to the players. The GM was also upset that Scioscia’s in-game decisions seemed driven more by instinct than information.
“It needs to be a partnership,” Dipoto said of the importance of the relationship between a manager and GM. “Managing people, working with people, the ability to get along and to convey a message and to lead, has never been an area where I feel I’ve come up short. Sometimes personalities get in the way.”
Dipoto also essentially washed his hands of one of the worst free-agent signings in franchise history, the five-year, $125-million deal given to Josh Hamilton after the 2012 season.
Hamilton, who has long battled an addiction to cocaine and alcohol, was a bust on the field during two injury marred seasons in Anaheim and suffered a substance-abuse relapse last winter. He was eventually traded back to Texas in April, with the Angels eating about $60 million of the remaining $80 million on his contract.
Asked on Tuesday why he was not successful in convincing Angels Owner Arte Moreno to not sign Hamilton, Dipoto said, “As Arte told me at the time, it was his decision to make. … In Josh’s free-agent year, I met with Josh, met with his wife, and we talked through it.
“Obviously, Arte and the Angels’ upper management was heavily involved in what we were doing, and rightfully so. He’s the owner of the club. It’s his decision to make. My position is to manage what I’ve been given the ability to manage, and that’s what I do.”
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