At a luncheon on Thursday, Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto looked back at the Mariners’ offseason in a wide-ranging, and a transcript of his remarks has since been provided by Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. I highly recommend you read the whole thing, but here are some of the highlights.
- The Mariners are “probably done making significant moves” this offseason, Dipoto says, after an offseason in which they’ve acquired Adam Lind, Nori Aoki, Wade Miley, Joaquin Benoit, Steve Cishek, Leonys Martin, Chris Iannetta and Nate Karns, among others, while also re-signing Hisashi Iwakuma.
- One theme for the Mariners this offseason seems to have been having hitters post higher on-base percentages. Dipoto mentions that he thinks the team as currently constituted is a good bet to post higher OBPs than it has in the recent past. The team also held a “hitting summit” earlier this month in which they had hitting coach Edgar Martinez work with hitters on controlling the strike zone. “Edgar Martinez was perhaps one of the greatest right-handed hitters I’ve ever watched and did a better job of controlling the strike zone than about anyone that you could imagine in the last 30 years, and one of the best of all time,” says Dipoto. “It was a very easy thing for him to teach.” Last year, the Mariners finished 11th in the AL with a .311 OBP. New additions Lind and Aoki, both of whom posted OBPs above .350 last year, should help with that total.
- Much of the Mariners’ Opening Day roster currently appears set, but Dipoto mentions that there will be competition in the bullpen and the back of the rotation, and also for a right-handed platoon partner for Lind. Gaby Sanchez, who recently joined the M’s on a minor league deal, will be one possibility there, along with Jesus Montero and Stefen Romero.
- If Iannetta is healthy and all goes well, he will be the Mariners’ starting catcher, Dipoto says. Ideally, they would prefer to have former top prospect Mike Zunino — who hit just .174/.230/.300 in an ugly 2015 season — start the season at Triple-A Tacoma. Dipoto notes that Zunino zoomed through the minor leagues after being drafted third overall in 2012. In total, he’s spent just 462 plate appearances there.
- Dipoto says the team imagines itself with a win total in the mid-80s next season, with the possibility that it could win more.