I don’t know if you know this, but baseball is in a lockout at the moment. Yes, of course, you knew that. You know what else? It sucks! There is one thing to keep in mind though. We have one of the most aggressive people in any MLB Front Office with Jerry Dipoto.
The MLB lockout has taken away the Winter Meetings, franchise-altering trades, a true free agency period where money is flying all over the place (except for you Texas Rangers, you weirdos). We have lost a week of spring training at least, and run the risk of losing regular-season games.
Baseball is clearly in one of its darkest times, and for the world to see and mock, but the night is darkest just before dawn. We are going to play baseball this year and we are likely going to see a collective bargaining agreement, and an agreement soon.
This agreement will likely lead to spring training starting within two weeks. That means every MLB front office, including the Mariners and Jerry Dipoto, has to be ready for the wildest two-week race, possibly in baseball history, in terms of player movement.
The question I have for Jerry Dipoto is …are you ready?
The Seattle Mariners have the potential to be good this season, good enough to compete in a competitive American League. We have seen two of the top bats head to a division rival, but we have also seen Dipoto land a Cy Young number one starter in Robbie Ray, and an all-star potential second baseman in Adam Frazier.
Considering the panic that most fans were going through at the start of free agency, this was a great first step in my opinion, but there are still too many holes and questions if we want to see playoff baseball in Seattle.
I’m not naïve enough to think that teams and agents aren’t talking right now, in secret, about potential fits. I fully expect to see Seattle sign a big-name free agent bat within 48 hours of the free agency reopening. I personally think that bat will be Kris Bryant, which would be really exciting for the fanbase, as well as being a scary good signing for the Mariners. He and Frazier could really help the lineup, while also providing excellent versatility, but let’s be honest, we both know that is not enough.
The Mariners need to call in their “IOUs” from John Stanton and ownership. The money saved by not signing a second baseman last year. The money saved from Seager, Felix, Cruz, Iwakuma, and Cano’s contracts. Being bad and cheap on purpose for three seasons, even when being a little less cheap last year probably gets Seattle in the postseason. The money has been there, and absolutely should still be there. Dipoto needs to take that money and go be quick, decisive, and great.
Seattle should sign Kris Bryant or Trevor Story. They also should sign either Carlos Correa or Freddie Freeman. The money is there, and who cares about position questions. If the M’s sign Freeman, then you worry about France and his position later.
If the M’s sign Correa, then quit being dumb and move the 2nd best defensive shortstop in the AL to second, and now the Mariners have the best all-around infield in baseball potentially with JP, Correa, France, and Bryant/Story. Allow Adam Frazier to be a super-utility player. Two big fish is great, but that is still not enough. Dipoto also needs more outfield depth and another top end of the rotation starter for this ballclub.
Now you’re probably looking at me saying that this isn’t MLB the Show, you can’t go get all these people. The truth is that for Seattle to get to October, let alone compete with the big boys in a five or seven-game series, that’s how far off they are. It may seem like a lot, but in reality, the M’s are a lot closer than most ballclubs are.
There are championship players on the board for Dipoto and Seattle to sign. If the M’s have any hesitancy about signing a player, I expect them to lose that player to someone else. When the bell rings and the race begins, Dipoto must strike quickly.
Show the league that the Mariners mean business, sign two or three more impact players, and watch how the perception of Seattle baseball will change throughout the league. If he doesn’t move quickly, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say the season may be lost before it even started.
These next two weeks will be the most important of Jerry Dipoto’s tenure as the general manager. Whether you think this is the year to go for it financially or next year it doesn’t matter after a 90 win season that got the fans back to the ballpark. There’s hope, and fear, about what can come next. This is not something Mariner fans have felt in a long time. It’s terrifying, but it’s also exciting. It means we’re getting closer to breaking through. Good luck Jerry Dipoto.