Back in 2018, the Seattle Mariners were coming off of an 89 win season, and the team was good. The team was not good enough, and Jerry Dipoto and co. decided to blow it all up and rebuild. Dipoto and his staff were going to build the organization through the minor leagues, and do things the right way. Now, as the team looks to pull out of the rebuild and into contention, how has Dipoto done since the rebuild started?
Looking at Dipoto’s time in Seattle since then takes a look at a huge picture. Trader Jerry has made tons of trades, some good and some not so good, but on the whole his trades have brought in several key players for this franchise.
He traded Robinson Cano, who was thought to be impossible to trade, only by attaching a reliever coming off of a season he could never repeat in Edwin Diaz. Cano has done almost nothing with the Mets, playing in 156 games since the trade and been suspended for PEDs again. Diaz was a 3.5 WAR closer in 2018, and just last year got back to 2 WAR for the first time since. In return he got top prospect Jarred Kelenic, a potential superstar, and Justin Dunn who has been ok.
It was a huge win for Jerry Dipoto and the Mariners
That is the clear best trade Dipoto has made because Kelenic has the potential to be one of the best hitters in baseball someday. Dipoto also traded James Paxton for Justus Sheffield and Erik Swanson. Paxton had one good year for the Yankees, then was hurt again. Sheffield has been pretty disappointing, but he had a decent year in 2020. Erik Swanson has been a good reliever for the M’s and has brought back value.
The Mariners also wheeled and dealed Jean Segura, Edwin Encarnacion, and Carlos Santana into J.P. Crawford. Crawford is the shortstop of the future, and a very legit piece for them. Dipoto also acquired and then traded Omar Narvaez after one year, and he probably should have held on to him. Jerry Dipoto made tons of small trades, but from there were no major ones for a while again.
Then in 2020, Dipoto made one of his best trades as a GM. He traded Dan Altavilla, Austin Adams, and Austin Nola to the Padres for Taylor Trammell, Ty France, Luis Torrens, and Andres Munoz. That is an absolute steal of a trade. It might be better than the Kelenic trade because there are so many players how have been in the big leagues for the Mariners, and figure to be involved for years to come. They gave up relievers and a catcher who has been hurt a lot for a haul.
After these trades, Jerry Dipoto made two smaller trades that are equally as big of steals. He traded Taylor Williams, a reliever who was having a good month, for Matt Brash. Then he traded a month of Taijuan Walker for Alberto Rodriguez, who was just added to the Mariners 40 man roster and is a quality prospect. Brash had a breakout year last year, and is one of the nastiest pitching prospects out there, and Rodriguez is a very talented outfielder who is a couple of years away.
In 2021, Dipoto made a controversial trade, when he sent Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero to the Astros for Abraham Toro and Joe Smith. Graveman and Smith were comparable down the stretch, but the prize of the deal is Toro. He should figure into the Mariners plans for years to come, and was worth trading two months of Graveman. Dipoto had to be smiling when Toro hit a grand slam off of Graveman in Seattle after the trade.
Looking at all of these major trades, it is hard to say that Jerry Dipoto has not hit it out of the park when it comes to trades. Sure some players turned out to do good things for other teams, but the players he got back are huge parts of the team going forward. Not only has Dipoto made several great trades, he has also turned the Mariners into a good drafting team.
In 2019 Dipoto drafted George Kirby, Brandon Williamson, Levi Stoudt, and Adam Macko. Those four are all really good pitching prospects for the M’s now, among other good picks from that draft class. The next year, he got Emerson Hancock, Zach DeLoach, Connor Phillips, and Taylor Dollard. all look to be big leaguers at some point. Then in 2021, he went after high schoolers and drafted Harry Ford, Edwin Arroyo, and Michael Morales.
Overall, the last three draft classes have been great for the Mariners. Kirby and Hancock have huge potential, but then there are so many other players who look like they will be big league quality some day. Jerry Dipoto has drafted stars, as well as depth pieces. He has also turned the organization into a pitching development system. He took Paul Sewald, Kendall Graveman, Drew Steckenrider, and many others, and turned them into dominant relievers.
The job that Jerry Dipoto has done by setting the Mariners up for success cannot be overstated. He has created a minor league system that is arguably the best in all of baseball, one of the best pitching development staffs in baseball, a collection of some of the best young talent in baseball, and he has made some brilliant trades. Based on all of the things Dipoto has done since the end of 2018, including signing Robbie Ray and trading for Adam Frazier, he has done an incredible job.
I do not see how Jerry Dipoto has not earned an A for the work he has done to position the Mariners to be one of the best teams in the American League in the 2020s. He has made trades for high impact young talent, he has drafted exceptionally well, he has developed players to become more than they were expected to become. He has hit it out of the park in terms of rebuilding the Seattle Mariners franchise.
We ran a Twitter poll (go vote still if you want) to see what you the fans though about the job that Dipoto has done, and 58.1% of you said that he deserves a B, 36.9% said he deserves an A, 4.3% said he earned a C, and 0.7% say D. Some comments say that he should have been more willing to make trades at the deadline last summer, but Dipoto showed that he will stick to his guns and not give up on young players.
Jerry Dipoto will not overpay for someone that he does not think is worth the young talent.
Some also say that he has done a good job with getting potential talent, but that he hasn’t done anything yet. However, we can only look at the potential that he has amassed in the Mariners organization. If he were to retire today, he would leave the club in a massively better place than when he started the rebuild. Looking at Dipoto’s time since the end of the 2018 season, he has done an incredible job building this team and organization.
Jerry Dipoto has been one of the best General Managers in Seattle Mariners history, and he has done this by only building a team from the ground up. He might not be able to build a World Series winning team, but that will be decided over the next several years. For now, he has done an incredible job with this organization, by putting it in a great position to succeed for a long time to come.