2. Identify who needs to go to clear playing time
Saying you want to get your young position players as much time at the big league level as possible is fine. But now you actually have to go and do it. And for Dipoto, that means identifying who is staying and who is leaving, while also receiving as much value for those who don’t make the cut in trade.
Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the outfield. The Mariners have a number of candidates to be a part of the plan moving forward, including Mallex Smith, Mitch Haniger, Kyle Lewis, Domingo Santana, Jake Fraley, Braden Bishop, and perhaps even Jared Kelenic.
You can get enough playing time to 4 outfielders on a regular basis, so 2 of the first 6 names probably need to go. Choosing which two is a big deal for Dipoto this off-season, as all are young enough with enough club control to make it worthwhile to keep around.
Dipoto won’t face such problems in the infield, where J.P. Crawford and Kyle Seager are already atop the depth charts and no long-term first base option is on the roster to block Evan White. Second base is the only hold up as Dee Gordon sits ahead of Shed Long, but Dipoto will almost certainly find a taker for Gordon.
The Mariners are going to do some selling this off-season, but they now have the MLB quality depth that they didn’t have last year. So as weird as it seems, it is a fantastic sign that quality MLB players need to be traded to make room for the kids.