1. Trading Edwin Diaz, Robinson Cano, & cash for Jarred Kelenic, Justin Dunn, Gerson Bautista, Anthony Swarzak, and Jay Bruce
It isn’t an exaggeration to say that this one move has the potential to be the biggest move in the franchise since the drafted Ken Griffey Jr. in the late 80s. Those are the potential ramifications. After falling short in 2018, Dipoto convinced the Mariners’ new ownership group to finally commit to a true rebuild and wasted no time reshaping his franchise.
In his first off-season, he traded most of his tradable assets for young talent and wasn’t afraid to send money and other pieces along in the deals to make them happen. But perhaps his coup de maitre was the acquisition of Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn from the New York Mets for Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano.
Not only did Dipoto cash in on Diaz’s high water mark and gain 2 valuable prospects, including one potential superstar, he also found a sucker to take on half of Robinson Cano’s remaining 5-year, $120 million commitment without costing him any value whatsoever.
To be blunt, Dipoto more or less abused rookie GM Brodie Van Wagenen and took the rookie to school in a masterful trade that has the potential to drastically change the future of an entire franchise. That is the level of talent that can be contributed to Kelenic as well as the tens of millions of dollars now stripped off their books by finding a taker for Cano.
If everything works out as it reasonably could, Dipoto acquired a multi-year All-Star outfielder with a .300/.400/.550 upside, 30+ home run power, and an above-average centerfield glove, a #3 starting pitcher, a flamethrowing 7th inning reliever, and about $54 million in extra payroll space for a closer and an aging second baseman. Simply incredible.
Dipoto even extracted some value from Jay Bruce before shipping him to Philadelphia for Jake Scheiner. There is quite literally nothing to complain about in this deal. Even the most pessimistic of baseball analysts look at this deal and chuckle at the value Dipoto extracted from the Mets.
Even if this deal doesn’t live up the hype, the process behind the deal was simply incredible. Kelenic could very well be the face of the franchise and its best player since Ichiro was in his prime.
There you have it, 5 of the best moves Jerry Dipoto has made as Mariners GM. The crazy thing is, 4 of the 5 on this list may be pushed off by this time next year. Like him or not, Dipoto has done a good job of building a talented farm system and perhaps the greatest group of young stars in the Mariners system since the early 90s. And that isn’t nothing.