In most walks of life people get rewarded for a job well done.
Bonuses, vacations and salary increases are all given to people who improve the companies they work for. Not the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Put it this way: If the franchise was in a desert, Dipoto was their Moses. He led them out of a bad situation but was unable to join them in the Promised Land.
To put it simply, the D-backs rewarded Jerry Dipoto with, if anything, a demotion. It is hard to argue against the team choosing to hire Kevin Towers, but even still it’s worth remembering just how much Dipoto did for the team while he was in charge.
Last year the Diamondbacks, mired in another season where mediocrity would have been a healthy step up, had a weak farm system and an even weaker roster of players at the Major League level. Whether it was high-priced players not performing up to their contract level or others not playing at Major League level, something had to change. A lot had to change.
Enter Dipoto, who replaced Josh Byrnes the same day Kirk Gibson replaced A.J. Hinch. While Gibson’s job was to change the culture in the clubhouse, Dipoto was tasked with remaking the roster. Nobody was quite sure what kind of moves a guy with an ‘interim’ tag would be allowed to make, but we soon found out.
Dan Haren was the first domino to fall. Arguably the team’s best trade chip, Dipoto sent him to the Angels for a quartet of players. In one move the D-backs unloaded a pitcher who, while supremely talented, was really only good for half a season. Though he was struggling in 2010, the D-backs were able to land a quartet of players, including Joe Saunders, Tyler Skaggs and Patrick Corbin.
In what was his first big move at the helm, Dipoto scored a major win by adding a solid lefty to the rotation and restocking the farm system with two quality arms. Sure, Haren has been solid for the Angels, but he needed a change of scenery and the Diamondbacks needed talent. Both got what they wanted, and the D-backs’ future looks brighter because of it. Because of Dipoto.
But the GM’s masterful work didn’t end there. No, in what may have been the most impressive move of the summer the D-backs were able to ship out Edwin “8 walks in my no hitter” Jackson in exchange for Daniel Hudson and David Holmberg.
In 21 starts for the Diamondbacks Jackson had a 5.16 ERA and won just six times. In 29 starts for the White Sox he’s carried a 3.68 ERA and a 10-9 record. Not bad, but not Hudson.
The 24-year-old has gone 17-6 with an ERA of 2.86 since the July 30th trade, looking every bit the frontline starter while costing much, much less than the departed Jackson. Merely swapping those two would have been declared a win for Dipoto and the D-backs, but Arizona also landed lefty David Holmberg, who currently has a 2.39 ERA through 14 starts for Single-A South Bend.
A team that was once devoid of talent all throughout the organization now sports quality players at nearly every level.
One year ago Ken Kendrick was quoted as saying, “And our farm system is a less talented part of our organization now than we’d like it to be.”
Now? Well, suffice to say things have improved. Not bad, you know, for an interim GM.
Dipoto’s current title is “senior vice president of scouting and player development,” which seems like a convoluted way of saying “miracle worker.” While he now works directly with the man who replaced him, the team surely would not be where it is today – and wouldn’t get to where it will in the future – without the work he put in last summer.