Grading Jerry Dipoto’s First Three Years as Seattle Mariners General Manager

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SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 11: Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto watches batting practice before a game between the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 11, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Rangers won the game 2-1 in eleven innings. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 11: Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto watches batting practice before a game between the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 11, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Rangers won the game 2-1 in eleven innings. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /
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We, as Mariner fans, have been through a lot. The Bill Bavasi years tortured us. The Jack Zduriencik years taunted us. We’ve had our dreams crushed many a time by guys like Chone Figgins, Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak and basically any other prospect you can name over the last decade.

Now, 18 years after their last playoff appearance, the Seattle Mariners are taking a step back with Jerry Dipoto at the helm. That’s not to say that the Dipoto era has been a failure. So how does Dipoto stack up against former GMs?

First off, let’s set some guidelines for how we will grade Jerry Dipoto. We will be focusing on Dipoto’s moves with the team and how they have panned out. For the sake of this specific article, we will judge him solely on his baseball-related decisions.

The very serious allegations that have come to light over the last few months will be omitted for now until the conclusion of the investigation by the MLB and the following court proceedings.

So, with that being said, Dipoto will be judged on his trades, the overall outcome from season to season as well as his moves within the player development side of things.

TRADES:

Let’s start things off with trades. And boy, there are a TON of them. We will not be covering all of them because honestly, who has that kind of time?  Instead, we will rank just the biggest trades that Dipoto has made in his Mariners tenure. Of course, some of them will be hard to grade because the players either leaving or joining the Mariners have yet to debut in the Major leagues.

Dipoto was put into a tough spot when he first joined the M’s in the latter half of 2015. He inherited an aging roster that won only 76 games in 2015. He was given the goal of trying to build a competitive team out of the Island of misfit toys that Zduriencik left behind.

In his first offseason with the Mariners, Dipoto traded away SS Brad Miller, 1B Logan Morrison, and RHP Danny Farquhar to the Ray’s for OF Boog Powell, RHP Nate Karns, and Relief Pitcher C.J Reifenhauser.

Only Nate Karns had a real impact on the Mariners in 2016, pitching to a 5.15 ERA on 94 IP. The trade really didn’t work out for the Mariners and Dipoto although his mind was in the right place.

Dipoto’s next big trade landed the Mariners Leonys Martin and Anthony Bass in a trade that sent Tom Wilhelmsen, James Jones and a PTBNL to Texas. Martin would be the M’s Centerfielder for the season and Tom Wilhelmsen eventually returned.  This trade seems like a home run for the M’s in the end.

All of these trades were made for one purpose: trying to contend in the American League West. That is the hand Jerry Dipoto was dealt when he took over the Mariners. With that in mind, Jerry Dipoto went ahead and made some huge trade.

The day before Thanksgiving, Mitch Haniger, Jean Segura and Zak Curtis were making their way to Seattle and Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte were finding their way to Arizona a little early.

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We could go on and on, back and forth with good trades and bad trades, Jerry Dipoto was making them. All in the name of contending in 2016 and beyond. He took an already awful farm system and opened that black hole even further in attempt to get the Mariners to the promised land.

But now, things are a little different. Dipoto has pulled a complete 180 and has been trading off all of the pieces that he acquired in an attempt to end Seattle’s playoff drought. The team is becoming his own now.  Gone are the contracts of Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz.

Dipoto has begun restocking the farm because he knew that what he was doing wasn’t working. The Mariners were going nowhere fast in the AL West and something needed to change. This is where Jerry Dipoto is really put to the test.

It is no secret that the Mariners and their fans are not going to bode well with a full-on rebuild. Patience is running thin for the team to make a triumphant return to the postseason and Dipoto is trying to make that dream a reality sooner rather than later.

Insert the likes of Jared Kelenic, Justus Sheffield, Erik Swanson, Dom Thompson-Williams, Jake Fraley, Justin Dunn, and JP Crawford. Add that to the core of Evan White, Kyle Lewis, Braden Bishop, Logan Gilbert, Sam Carlson, Ian Miller, and the rest of the M’s top prospects and things start to get a little interesting.

The trades that led to this new influx of young talents were not easy to swallow, both from a fan standpoint and from a player standpoint. But currently, they all seem like sound moves with a clear purpose. Since he took over, Dipoto has done everything with conviction. When he believed the M’s could contend, he brought in pieces that he thought could augment the roster enough to make the playoffs.

Now, he is using those same pieces to reinvigorate the roster and he is staking his entire career on it. Unlike other General Managers of the past, Dipoto has gone all in no matter the situation and so far, we have no reason not to trust him.

Grade: B

After the key trades that have seen so much success, such as the Haniger/Segura trade, Dipoto has earned himself a high grade for his trades. This, of course, is subject to change based on how the most recent trades pan out but for now, Dipoto gets a solid B.

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