Since Jerry Dipoto has come on as the new General Manager of the Seattle Mariners, he has been making moves left and right to build his “own” team.
Following the Jack Zduriencik era that ended in September, the organization was in a bit of disarray. Ever since Dipoto has taken over, however, there has been a fairly big transformation taking place in Seattle.
Dipoto has made a bevy of moves thus far this offseason — nine trades along with four free-agent signings. Aside from a few more smaller moves, it seems like the roster is in place.
“The roster is pretty settled,” Dipoto said Thursday, the final day of the Winter Meetings. “We have turned over a lot of the roster. It should now slow pretty significantly.”
The offense has been the biggest issue for the Mariners, especially with the ballpark they play in, while the pitching staff has mostly taken shape.
“The offensive club is kind of what you see is what you get,” Dipoto said. “We like the group we have on the field. There might be a small twist, but nothing super significant. The pitching staff, we still have some tweaks to make, but nothing that is going to change the world. This is our team.”
The Mariners had a checklist coming into this offseason of moves that they needed to make and for the most part, they stuck to that checklist and made the moves they needed to make.
“We came into the offseason with an idea and a plan and I think we stuck to it,” Dipoto said. “We’re very happy with the results to date.”
They did lose out on Hisashi Iwakuma, who ended up signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but in return they did receive a compensation pick in the June draft. In response to losing Iwakuma to Los Angeles, Dipoto acted quickly and acquired southpaw starter Wade Miley from the Red Sox to fill the void in the starting rotation.
That was Monday’s deal, but on Tuesday and Wednesday, Dipoto wasn’t quiet either.
On Tuesday, he struck a deal with A’s to acquire a right-handed reliever in Evan Scribner to add another arm to the bullpen, which is another spot of focus. Then Wednesday, Dipoto made a move to fill one of the last gaping holes on this team by acquiring first baseman Adam Lind from the Milwaukee Brewers.
All three of these moves fill holes on this team and will help to complete the 25-man roster for Opening Day.
Dipoto saw that moves needed to be made and he didn’t wait for the Winter Meetings to get started; he might have even started to come to his close at the Winter Meetings. He said that he got a jumpstart on the offseason preparation through the hiring process before he was named GM.
“The process of preparing for the interview to come in and meet with the Mariners gave me a very clear idea of what I wanted to do,” said Dipoto.
Before Dipoto even got to Nashville, the Mariners signed Nori Aoki, made a six-player deal with the Rays that included acquiring Nate Karns, and acquired Leonys Martin from Texas, among a handful of other moves.
Coming out of Nashville, Dipoto addressed team needs, but it wasn’t all by himself.
“It was a good room, and everybody contributed,” Dipoto said. “That’s part of the way I’m wired and the way we want to be wired as an organization. Everybody shares their opinion, it’s inclusive. I want everybody to tell me what we’re doing wrong and when it’s right. We’ll probably never reach a consensus on any decision we make, but there was a strong lean in one direction or another most of the time.”
This wasn’t a New York Yankees rebuild where it was expensive free agent signings. Dipoto worked with the resources he had and made trades that freed up cap space (Mark Trumbo to Baltimore) and were low risk deals that sent minor league teenage pitchers to Milwaukee for Lind and another minor league reliever to Oakland for a Major League arm in Scribner.
Now heading back to Seattle from Nashville, Dipoto has to feel pretty good about where this team stands. Dipoto did say he would like to sign at least one more free agent to the bullpen along with some veterans for depth, but other than those two things, the depth chart is for the most part in place.
This team came into Nashville still with a few holes to fill, but now coming out of Nashville, it looks as if those holes have been filled and Seattle is nearly ready to go.
“I don’t know if you ever check off all the boxes, but we came into this offseason with a plan, and I think we stuck to it,” said Dipoto. “We’re very happy with the results to date.”
Dipoto has put the pieces in place, but now it is up to first year manager Scott Servais to get the job done with these players.
“Seattle has not won in a long time,” Servais said Wednesday in a news conference at the Winter Meetings. “The expectations there, they’re high, from ownership and team president and the fans; they should be.”
This is a Mariners organization that hasn’t been to the postseason since 2001, the longest playoff drought in baseball, and Servais put it bluntly.
“It’s time,” Servais said. “It’s time to win.”
Quotes from Greg Johns of MLB.com, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune