Seattle Mariners Five Best Trades in the Jerry Dipoto Era

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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2. Tyler O’Neill for Marco Gonzales

SEATTLE, WA – APRIL 02: Marco Gonzales #7 of the Seattle Mariners pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at T-Mobile Park on April 2, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA – APRIL 02: Marco Gonzales #7 of the Seattle Mariners pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at T-Mobile Park on April 2, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images) /

Part of the reason I love this trade is how foolish it has made so many doubters look, myself included. And yes, I am breaking some rules because this grade is a bit more about results than process. But when the results are this good, a solid process must have been followed, even if it wasn’t apparent at the time.

I remember the reaction nearly perfectly. There was a lot of “what are they doing” or ” has Dipoto lost his mind”? I remember because that was basically my reaction. At the time, Tyler O’Neill was the consensus #2 prospect in the Mariners farm system and was on a lot of Top 100 list.

The Mariners were contending for a wild card at that time, so trading O’Neill for a starting pitcher made sense. What didn’t make much sense was trading him for another prospect coming off a Tommy John surgery.

But as we stand here in late April of 2019, the Mariners unequivocally won that trade. What Dipoto saw that we as a community missed, was the obvious effect of Marco’s injury on his performance. He spent that entire year basically refusing to throw his cutter and tried to live with a fastball/changeup combo.

In 2018, Marco re-introduced his cutter and began to throw his curveball more often. His command improved and Gonzales looked like a strong #3 starter for most of the season. Thus far in 2019, Gonzales is off to a strong start.

The Mariners got a future asset without sacrificing any service time. The traded upside for floor, which almost never works out. But Dipoto and company took the chance and it has paid off big time for the Mariners.

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