Will a shortened season hurt the Seattle Mariners’ rebuild?
Per Stone, Dipoto says:
"“I don’t think it really changes the way we’re forecasting ourselves for 2021 and beyond. If anything, we’re just as, or more, excited based on some of the things we’ve learned through this shutdown, and the ongoing efforts of our player acquisition, which takes another big step forward (this) week in what we think is a rich draft.”"
Stone mentioned 2018 No. 1 draft pick Logan Gilbert has been working out at home. He throws off a mound in his backyard and has also continued lifting weights. He thought he would start the season in the minor leagues then make it to the majors by midseason. He still believes he will be in the majors soon whether it is this season or not.
Top prospects like Gilbert and outfielder Jarred Kelenic will likely remain in “development mode,” as Dipoto calls it, but it’s not entirely clear what that will look like.
While we don’t know if there will be a minor league season, it does seem likely there will be a fall league in Arizona, and recently drafted players may be a part of it too.
The Mariners used their sixth pick in the first round on Wednesday to select right-handed pitcher Emerson Hancock out of Georgia. Like Logan Gilbert, he should move up quickly through the minor leagues. This should give the Mariners a pretty solid rotation in the next two to three years.
Another question is how will the current position-players do after the layoff. Pitchers often move up quicker than the position players. It is important for the position players to do well to keep the Mariners on track for being competitive in 2021.
Dipoto has a lot of confidence in these players, however, his career as the general manager of the Mariners will hinge on these guys. The Mariners do have depth in pitching well as the outfield. So as long as a few guys are able to make the jump to being successful major leagues the Mariners should be fine.
The infield is where the problem could happen. The Mariners don’t have much depth on the major league level or in the minor leagues.
If Shed Long, who the Mariners are counting on being the future second baseman, and JP Crawford, at shortstop, are able to perform like Dipoto thinks, the Mariners will be in a good place.
Evan White’s future does look bright at first base, especially on the defensive side. If he can be an average hitter then he will be around for a long time. An above-average hitter could make the Mariners a playoff contender every year along with the talented starting pitching and outfield.
At this point third base is in question for the future, though they drafted Taylor Kennan out of Ole Miss in the fourth round. Thirty-two-year-old third baseman Kyle Seager was the only position player being around when Dipoto took over. We are hoping the Mariners to go out for a third baseman to take Seager’s spot in a trade or pick up one in free agency.
Though everything looks good from the outside, the outcome of the Mariners rebuild won’t be known for another year or two. If this doesn’t work, we will continue to see the long drought continue for years ahead.