I looked at my X feed yesterday, and much to my disdain, Dipoto and Mariners were trending again. If I had a dollar for every time I logged in and saw some combination of topics tied to our beloved hometown team, I'd have enough cash to partake in those excellent Starbucks holiday drinks every day until 2024. Needless to say, this offseason, hot stove season, whatever you want to call it, has been a disaster for Mariner fans.
For a team that's won at least 88 games each of the past three years, it's disappointing to see a lack of urgency to augment the roster, especially after trading away clubhouse leaders Eugenio Suarez and Marco Gonzales for what looks like a bag of baseballs. MLB insider Jon Morosi is at a point where he is literally trying to 'will' a free agent signing to Seattle. Cody Bellinger, Jorge Soler, Jung-Hoo Lee, Lourdes Gurriel, Mitch Garver, Rhys Hoskins, you name the player; there's a good chance Morosi mentioned them and the Mariners in the same sentence at some point in the past couple of months. We're sitting here on December 17th with absolutely zero signings and not even a validated rumor from any reporter other than Morosi.
If you are looking for a positive spin, one year of peak performance doesn't make Cody Bellinger's asking price of more than $200M worth it. Or, Lourdes Gurriel continues to be extremely streaky, and his production has become a spitting image of Teoscar Hernandez this past season. Maybe Jarred Kelenic doesn't become one of those change-of-scenery guys who figure it out in Atlanta. No matter how you slice it, to effectively run a baseball team, you have to take some risks and majority owner John Stanton sure seems like a guy who's never risked anything in his life.
Things are so bleak that even noted Mariner hater Jon Heyman went on his Bleacher Report to discuss Dipoto and General Manager Justin Hollander's inactivity. Jeff Passan, the same guy who called Mariner fans spoiled earlier in the 2023 season, is routinely subtweeting the Mariners when any of the 31 other clubs make a move. Why? Because even the oft-skeptical Passan knows the Mariners' ownership is cutting the front office at the knees.
Despite pessimism and skepticism being at an all-time high across the Mariner fan base, I'm finding solace in one thing: the calendar. Opening day is on March 28th. We have three months until Luis Castillo fires the first fastball of the 2024 season—more than 90 days for Morosi to perfect his "willing free agents to Seattle" approach. More than 1,000 hours for Dipoto and Hollander to hold to their draft, develop, and trade approach by flipping cost-controlled pitching for bats.
Three months stand between a disgruntled fan base and opening day. That's enough time to right the ship and change the public discourse into something more hopeful, which might or might not happen. Yes, I have a certain level of skepticism when numbers like 54% and only $20M to spend are tied to this team. Either way, there's a good chance the words Dipoto and Mariners will routinely grace your X feed this offseason, but you already knew that.