Mariners Analysis: Has Dipoto Done Enough To Push Seattle Into The Playoffs?


I have been a Mariners fan for literally as long as I can remember. But, in my lifetime, they’ve only made the playoffs 4 times: 1995 (lost in ALCS), 1997 (lost in ALDS), 2000 (lost in ALCS), and 2001 (lost in ALCS). I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of consistent mediocrity when it comes to Northwest baseball. Which is why I was thrilled when Seattle announced the hiring of Jerry Dipoto to be the team’s new general manager.

More from Mariners News

Dipoto came into Seattle with a clear cut plan to help improve this organization, not just for the short-term, but for the long-term as well. And, to his credit, he’s stuck with that plan. He came in saying that his number one priority was to re-sign Hisashi Iwakuma. And initially, it looked as if that wouldn’t happen after Kuma signed a three-year, $45 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers on December 6th. But after his physical revealed a potential shoulder problem, the Dodgers backed out of the contract, giving Dipoto and the Mariners the opportunity to swoop in and bring him back to Seattle. Aside from resigning Kuma, a large part of Dipoto’s plan was to improve the Mariners lack-luster pitching staff, specifically the back end of the rotation, and most of the bullpen. He achieved this by bringing in veteran starters Wade Miley and Nathan Karns in two separate trades, in addition to bringing in relievers Steve Cishek, Evan Scribner, and Joaquin Benoit. The next thing that was on Dipoto’s list was to improve the outfield and grab a reliable, everyday first baseman. Dipoto attacked these moves by quickly trading for outfielder Leonys Martin, and first baseman Adam Lind in two separate deals, along with signing free agent outfielder Nori Aoki, and first baseman Dae-ho Lee. So, let’s recap. Resign Iwakuma: Check. Improve the pitching staff: Check. Improve the outfield: Check. Find an everyday first baseman: Check. That’s a perfect 4/4 for Dipoto and his off season plan. 

Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

More from SoDo Mojo

Which brings me to the question everyone seems to be asking: will everything Dipoto has done this offseason actually turn the Mariners into a contender? Personally, I think that Seattle will start off slow, but from May onward they will definitely be in the hunt for a playoff spot, clinching one somewhere around the last week of September, and here’s why: Dipoto has essentially set this team up almost identical to the reigning champion Kansas City Royals. Think about it. What makes the Royals so hard to beat? Good pitching, fantastic defense, and everyone in their line-up has the chance to get on base and/or drive in runs. If you look up and down this new Mariners line-up, you can see the parallels between the two teams. I think that the addition of both Leonys Martin and Nori Aoki will go down as the two most underrated moves of the entire off season. I also think that Adam Lind will continue his destruction of right-handed pitching (career BA of .293 against RHP), and put up numbers out of the first base position the likes of which Seattle hasn’t seen in years. The other thing I would watch for this year is Ketel Marte having a break-out season at shortstop. Last season, over 57 games, he gave us a taste of just how good he can be. Look for him to build upon that this season.

Next: Dave Sims 'Feeling Great' After Prostate Cancer Surgery

Obviously, there’s a lot to be excited about this year. Hopefully, the Mariners can break their 15 year playoff drought, and give us a chance to celebrate at the end of October. Go Mariners.