I've never been one to gamble. I rarely pony up funds at the local convenience store for lottery tickets. Maybe it is because I'm not too fond of the house's odds. Plus, I am a creature of habit who avoids taking risks. But we all know someone more adept at navigating a landscape with inherent risk. As a long-time Mariner fan, current President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto comes to mind. His track record tells a story. He has made a whopping 139 trades involving 264 players throughout his tenure. Each transaction came with varying levels of risk attached.
Risk isn't just tied to trades, but also the MLB Draft, where the Mariners spend serious capital and assets scouting high school and college players. Recent draft picks have included Logan Gilbert, Cal Raleigh, George Kirby, Emerson Hancock, Harry Ford, and Cole Young. All players of those players, along with Julio Rodriguez, are considered core pieces of what Dipoto calls " The Crest."
"And that’s where draft, develop and trade comes in – that we are sometimes looking for shorter-term fits (that) won’t affect the 2026 payroll when all of this (payroll) really starts to crest, and you’ve got multiple players making $25-plus million dollars, and you’re trying to figure out how to build a team. "- Jerry Dipoto, President of Baseball Ops
Augmenting free agency and trades with a solid draft strategy is imperative for the team. That is why Mariners must capitalize on an unbelievable opportunity this summer to add to the talent level on the farm and further augment the next wave of talent in a cost controlled manner.
Can Mariners Cash in Lottery Tickets?
Director of Amateur Scouting Scott Hunter and the rest of the Mariners' draft contingent holds three top-30 selections (22, 29, 30) in the June MLB Amateur Draft. Those lottery tickets are the team's native pick at 22, the Prospect Promotion Incentive Pick at 29, and a Competitive Balance Round A choice at 30. These selections could move the farm from the middle of the pack to the Top 10 in months, primarily if Dipoto targets college players like Travis Honeyman, Troy Taylor, and Juaron Watts-Brown, who could move through the system quickly.
Extra Cash Means Flexible Draft Strategy
MLB recently released the bonus pools for each team, and the Mariners come in at #7 with $13,170,900 to spend. That is considerable cash, allowing the team to go over slot for high school players or even overpay for a College arm that could slide down the board. This is where things get interesting—especially considering Dipoto's willingness to take risks for the right players. He coaxed Harry Ford and Cole Young away from college commitments in consecutive years with some extra funds. Now both teenagers are on the fast track to Seattle. Maybe he could float a chunk of the budget to two-way player, and Alabama commit, Bryce Eldridge.
There is no telling what happens this June when a professional armed with three lottery tickets, plenty of cash, and the propensity to come out on the winning side of risk sidles up to the MLB Draft table. My money is on Dipoto coming away with more blue-chip talent, but you'll have to take my word for it. My cash is staying in the bank.