The Seattle Mariners opened the gates to Safeco Field and welcomed fans to enjoy a good time a few weeks before spring training. During the fan fest, GM Jerry Dipoto and Scott Servais’ “Dugout Dialogue,” revealed a few interesting tidbits.
How Will The Team Improve Versus Left-Handed Pitching?
Dipoto and Servais believe the addition of right-handed bats will improve the team’s record against lefties. Danny Valencia, Mitch Haniger, and Mike Zunino were specifically cited.
Valencia is a notorious lefty killer. He slashed .318/.389/.535 against them. His 155 wRC+ in 2016 against LHP is equivalent to the overall wRC+ of Josh Donaldson.
What Competitions Should We Be Looking For In Spring Training?
The duo believes the roster is basically set. They did mention a few spots to watch as the team begins to play in Peoria.
1. Utility Man: It appears the lead horse is Shawn O’Malley. The team likes the speed he brings to table, and his ability to play both the infield and outfield. Mike Freeman will likely need to have a great March to have any shot at the job.
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Taylor Motter was discussed briefly. Servais believes he can play every position, and has even pitched in the big leagues. He likes the bat more than most, and Motter has a decent chance to beat O’Malley this spring.
2. Bullpen: Dipoto and Servais seem to believe that the final bullpen spot is still up for grabs, at least until Steve Cishek can come back in May.
3. Outfield- The starting outfield on April 3rd will be, barring injury, Jarrod Dyson in left, Leonys Martin in center, Mitch Haniger in right.
The 4th outfielder battle is between Guillermo Heredia and Ben Gamel. It sounds like Dipoto believes Gamel is the leader in the clubhouse.
What Will The Lineup Look Like?
Servais rattled off a preliminary lineup but did not specify against righties or lefties. He believes the lineup will look something like this:
- Jean Segura
- Jarrod Dyson
- Robinson Cano
- Nelson Cruz
- Kyle Seager
- Mitch Haniger
- First Base
- Leonys Martin
Servais has mentioned he will experiment in spring training, flipping Segura and Dyson against right-handed pitching.
Will The Team Make A Move To Add Veteran Pitcher Jason Hammel?
No. Jerry Dipoto made it very clear the team will not be pursuing Hammel at this time. He believes the rotation of Felix Hernandez, James Paxton, Hisashi Iwakuma, Drew Smyly, and Yovani Gallardo is set.
He mentioned the depth of the starters and included Ariel Miranda, Rob Whalen, and Chris Heston. Dipoto did confirm that Hammel was a target earlier in the offseason, but the team moved on after the two sides couldn’t agree on terms.
A lot of Dipoto and Servais’ answers were your standard cliché, but these are the statements that caught my eye.