Dipoto among Mariners' GM candidates

Dipoto among Mariners' GM candidates

ANAHEIM -- As the Mariners open their final road series of the season on Friday in Anaheim, former Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto's name continues to surface as a leading contender for the Mariners' vacant GM job.

Dipoto, 47, resigned after three and a half seasons as the Angels' GM on July 1 after reported conflicts with 16-year manager Mike Scioscia, after putting together a team that won an MLB-leading 98 games in 2014.

Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler and Dipoto have been identified as finalists for the Mariners post, as reported Monday by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. But the Mariners are conducting follow-up interviews with other candidates as well, though they're keeping things close to the vest and no other names have surfaced.

Mariners president Kevin Mather has been flying around the country interviewing candidates since Jack Zduriencik was fired on Aug. 28. Several top candidates have undergone second interviews with other members of the Mariners' brass this week and the club appears to be closing in on a decision.

Dipoto certainly fills Mather's stated preference for hiring a general manager with prior experience as he's not only filled that position, but done so in the American League West.

Dipoto is a former Major League pitcher who is considered strong in analytics. The Angels went 89-73 his first year in 2012, 78-84 in 2013 and 98-64 last year. They're currently 78-74 and third in the AL West, with former GM Bill Stoneman running the club since Dipoto's departure.

Eppler is an assistant GM who has come up through the scouting ranks and was the Yankees' director of pro scouting before getting promoted to his current position in 2012.

Mather indicated after Zduriencik's dismissal that he'd like a GM with prior experience, but was also open to looking at candidates who had "a heavy hand" in baseball operations in an assistant's position.

Mariners assistant general manager Jeff Kingston, who has been running the team since Zduriencik's departure, is among those who were interviewed in the first round.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.