Acquired via trade with St. Louis Cardinals for Tyler O’Neill on July 21, 2017.
I don’t think anybody is surprised by this selection. It can be argued that Marco Gonzales is currently the best move Dipoto has made at the helm of the Mariners. The former first-round pick from Gonzaga, Gonzales quickly made his way to the big leagues for St. Louis and even pitched in a playoff series for the Cardinals.
Unfortunately, Gonzales would soon undergo Tommy John surgery causing him to miss half of 2015 and all of 2016. The missed time greatly impacted Gonzales’s favor in the organization, but Dipoto was quick to remember Gonzales’s first-round pedigree and made the controversial trade to send his second-best prospect to St. Louis for the lefty.
There wasn’t an immediate success for Gonzales in Seattle either. He would appear in 10 games and pitch 36 innings in 2017, posting a 5.40 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP. But Dipoto trusted that Gonzales would be better after a full year removed from the surgery. And as it turns out, he was absolutely right.
Since the start of 2018, Gonzales has been the de facto ace for the Mariners staff and has piled up an impressive 6 bWAR over the past 2 seasons. In 2019 he cracked 200 innings and led the American League with 34 starts made. Gonzales has been everything the Mariners could have hoped for and more and is now considered a leader as the team continues it’s rebuilding.
Gonzales has been so successful that Dipoto has since extended him. Gonzales is one of the best moves in Dipoto’s history so it shouldn’t come as a shock to see him on this list.