We wrap up our Report Cards series by taking a look at both Justin Hollander and Jerry Dipoto, the defacto leaders of this team. The ones who, pending input from actual ownership, are the deciding factors in which players step on the field. What kind of grade do they earn for 2023?
It's a tough question, with that ownership angle having the greatest impact. Is it true that Hollander and Dipoto aren't really given the option to spend money in Free Agency? Do they have to look for trades or very low-cost contracts to improve the roster? If so, it changes how we have to view them, and shifts the blame from those two, moving it up the ladder to John Stanton.
I'm going to give two grades. One based on if they really are limited on FA spending, and one if they aren't. I think it's the only fair way to go about it, and can help us better understand what might be happening in each scenario.
The Mariners Front Office gets a B- for 2023
If it's true that the Front Office wasn't given the ability to go after any big free agents, i don't see that offseason as a failure. Not in preparation, at least. They went and got a good power-hitting outfielder as well as a consistent second baseman with a good history of success. Teoscar was fine, but Kolten Wong was an abomination. Then, there was Tommy La Stella and AJ Pollock. Pollock was supposed to be good as well, a nice platoon guy to spell Kelenic. La Stella, though, was awful at the time, and even worse whenever he stepped to the plate.
I think La Stella is the one that bugs me. Getting another bat for cheap was a possibility. Evan Longoria, Adam Duvall, JD Martinez, Tommy Pham, and Brandon Belt were all signed for 1YR/$10M or less. Imagine one of those guys inserted into last year's lineup. Does that make a single win difference over what La Stella, and in turn, Trammell and crew, provided? I think so. I won't fault them for Teo, Wong, or Pollock, though. They all looked like good acquisitions at the time.
The Mariners Front office gets a D for 2023
This is where it gets bad. If they just couldn't get a meeting with anyone or decided to be stingy instead. We don't even have to get crazy with it. Justin Turner at 2YR/$21.7M, Josh Bell at 2YR/$33M, Brandon Drury at 2YR/$17M, Michael Conforto at 2YR/$36M, or Michael Brantley and his 1YR/$12M. None of those are massive deals. They're all short-term.
Yet, the Mariners didn't make any of them.
I can't help but be upset the more I think about it. You can't tell me that signing Turner or Drury to that deal is a waste of money, and that the difference in a couple million for a legit player wasn't worth it, and that you needed to turn to La Stella (gross) instead. Turner was a 2.1 WAR player, and that's with poor defense. Drury mashed as well, with 26 HR and a 1.8 WAR. JD Martinez, who was in Seattle visiting, hit .271/.321/.572 with 33 HR last season. How the Mariners could've used any of that!
The negative thoughts are winning out here, and seeing how little quality guys were signed for makes me more upset with the Mariners, especially when it was well known that they needed another bat. Spending a little bit of money easily could've been the difference maker, and made back in the playoffs with that added revenue.
Let's hope that 2023/24 is different. Come on Front Office... do something better this time around.