3 Things We Learned from Seattle Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto
A Jerry Dipoto radio interview doesn’t mean quite what it used to. Ever since the Mariners GM has started his own podcast, Seattle fans have been able to hear from Dipoto on a near weekly basis. But yesterday, on 710 ESPN Seattle, Dipoto dropped a few nuggets.
Appearing on the “Bob, Groz and Tom” show, Dipoto was his usual chipper self, and was doing what he does best: putting a positive spin on a murky situation. Topics ranged from what happened with Shohei Ohtani, to the rotation and starting 9. Here are a few little nuggets we have gleaned for our latest chat with Jerry Dipoto.
1. The Line-up is basically set in stone
When asked if the Mariners were going to add any more to their offense, Dipoto was quick to say that barring any unforeseen circumstances, the Mariners offense is set. His exact quote was ” what you see is what you get.”
This is not a surprise, as it was widely speculated that the Mariners were happy with their lineup. The news that actually came out was a hint at what the potential lineup could look like. Dipoto said that when looking at the 9-1-2 lineup turn, that Ben Gamel, Dee Gordon, and Jean Segura would ” in some order” make up that portion of the lineup.
It was believed that Gordon would lead off, with Segura hitting second. The Mariners have no interest in fiddling with the 3,4,5 spots belonging to Cano,Cruz, and Seager. If Gamel is indeed hitting 9th, this leaves the 6-8 spots to Ryon Healy, Mitch Haniger, and Mike Zunino.
It is a bit unusual for manager Scott Servais to stack 3 RHH in a row like that. Healy does not walk much, so hitting him 8th seems foolish. Healy would likely hit 6th, leaving Zunino to hit 7th and Haniger to hit 8th.
Dipoto likes the lineup because they can “beat you in so many ways”. The Mariners do appear to have a unique blend of speed, power, and patience in the lineup. This should be one of the more explosive offenses in the American League.
2. Jerry Dipoto loves his bullpen.
When asked about the bullpen, Dipoto could not help but gush about the depth in the pen, particularly the back-end. Specifically, Dipoto mentioned that the Mariners are the only ‘pen in the AL with 3 pitchers who had 20+ holds in 2017 (Juan Nicasio, David Phelps, Nick Vincent).
Dipoto also believes 3rd year player Edwin Diaz to be on of the best closers in all of baseball. It is hard to argue that the back-end of Seattle’s bullpen looks good on paper. However, there are some major questions about who will handle the middle innings. Even more so when you consider the state of the Mariners rotation.
3. Dipoto knows he needs rotation help.
While a bulk of the interview was Dipoto unsuccessfully trying to sell Seattle of the greatness of the current rotation, Dipoto knows his rotation will need help. While not explicitly stated, Dipoto is aware his current team has needs.
A lot of the current plan consist of hoping Felix Hernandez can return to 2015 form, and that James Paxton can stay healthy for the first time in his career. But when asked specifically if a move to that rotation was coming, Dipoto was coy:
"“We will be looking. We are constantly trying to find ways to better ourselves but I can’t say right now we find that to be a pressing need,” … “The rotation appears to be the area where we can improve and much of that improvement is going to be expected to come from players who are already are here. If further improvement is needed or upgrade or healthy bodies are needed, we are going to address that as we go.”"
This statements points to the possibility that an in-season addition might be more likely than a free agent signing. After all, signing free agents to long-term deals has not been a part of Dipoto’s modus operandi with the Mariners.
The slow free agent market has also slowed the trade market, a pool in which Dipoto is much more likely to swim. Dipoto appears content to let the market come crashing down as we inch closer to spring training.
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Starting the season with Paxton, Hernandez, Leake, Ramirez and Gonzales is not great, and will not produce a playoff appearance without a major addition. However, it could keep the team afloat for a few months. That would give Dipoto time to accurately gauge where his team. This is a risky maneuver, as it could also sink the season before it even gets starter.