Jerry Dipoto, Justin Hollander, and Scott Servais hosted the annual end-of-season press conference yesterday, and the results were mixed.
Dipoto, the current President of Baseball Operations, is ultimately responsible for building a sustainable winner. He leaned into a narrative that aligns with the "there are more ways to skin a cat" when fielding questions on failures building the 2023 roster and the way forward. Dipoto referenced things like winning 54% of the team's games usually means that we will make the World Series, but he can't promise when they will hoist the trophy. He also put a dimmer switch on the clubhouse narrative echoed by Cal Raleigh, JP Crawford, Logan Gilbert, and Ty France that this team needs stars and proven playoff-tested veterans. He is effectively bracing the fan base for a possible second consecutive underwhelming offseason.
Do the fanbase a favor? Chances are that statement didn't hit this passionate fanbase the way Dipoto planned it would. Especially, when the team released a hype video to start the season showing a desire to win the 'whole damn thing.' That quote has grown legs and is a crucial talking point less than 24 hours later from the media and fans alike. ESPN, Jomboy, Seattle Times, you name it, they've dug into this one.
I don't pretend to have the whole sight picture and there could be a myriad of factors at play. For example, owner John Stanton might be pressing Dipoto to water down public discord from the clubhouse. Dipoto may be again preparing the fanbase for an offseason of rounding out the edges of the roster (La Stella, Pollock, Wong). Or, it could be just a guy who didn't get the words right at the moment. Either way, Dipoto's correct the record tour is going to be must follow content.
As for this press conference, it was an opportunity to gain some goodwill by recognizing failures by the front office. Maybe shed some light into the team's approach to mitigating the struggles in their talent acquisition process, at least from the position player perspective. Instead, Dipoto served up lip service, and providing a narrative that seems to be galvinizing the fanbase on the wrong side of the spectrum. But what do I know? I'm just a dumb blogger who tends to read a room reasonably well. Something Dipoto absolutely failed to do yesterday when putting a punctuation mark on a disappointing season.