Mariners Playoff Hopes: Three Things that Need to Happen
Mariners need a visit from Dipoto
I get it. Jerry is the boss, his decisions are final, and players need to respect that. His complete revampment of the Mariners’ farm system and his track record of bringing in high-quality players at minimal cost is only further evidence that players and fans should trust his actions.
However, professional baseball isn’t fantasy baseball. In fantasy baseball, you want to roster a group of players whose individual performances will help you win; in real baseball, you need a group of men who have not only individual talent but are also willing to do whatever it takes to help their team be successful on a nightly basis. There’s a lot that goes into that human element of the game, including having faith in your franchise’s leadership from the top-down.
I believe Dipoto when he said he hated the timing of the Graveman trade (during a series against the Houston Astros, the team they traded him to), and I also believe that the trade was in the best short and long-term interest of the team (Abraham Toro has been a man amongst boys since coming to the Mariners, and he’s under contract through 2025).
While Dipoto clearly knew what he was doing, the players had no idea. On the surface, it looked awful: a dominant relief pitcher who was beloved by his teammates gets traded to a division rival for a player with a career batting average right around .200 (and veteran reliever Joe Smith), all after Dipoto made it clear that the Mariners were in “win-now” mode at the deadline. That type of move can’t happen without a little bit of explanation to the people it directly affects.
I’m no speech-writer, but I believe something along these lines would be an effective statement for Dipoto to make to his team when they return to the clubhouse this week: *This is conjecture, it didn’t actually happen*
“Hey, fellas – this visit is overdue. I wish I could have come down here two weeks ago, but it’s about impossible to leave my office during the trade deadline. I know Kendall was a huge part of this team, and I miss him just as much as you guys do. I believed in Abraham Toro when we traded for him, and I hope you believe in him now just as much as I do. Bullpen – keep doing what you do best, and we’re excited to have Diego (Castillo) and Joe on board. Let’s go win some ball games.”
It doesn’t have to be a full-blown intervention, and it shouldn’t be, but any good boss makes time to honor the thoughts and emotions of their people.