The Mariners have been among MLB’s busiest teams this offseason, acquiring players like Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger, Drew Smyly, Jarrod Dyson, Yovani Gallardo, Danny Valencia, Carlos Ruiz and Shae Simmons in a long list of transactions. GM Jerry Dipoto stresses, perhaps unsurprisingly but in strongly worded language, that those moves have been made with a clear goal of winning in 2017, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune.
“I’ll say it as plainly as I can,” says Dipoto. “When you have Robinson Cano, who arguably had the best year of his career last year and is playing in his mid-30s at an All Star level; when you have Nelson Cruz, who’s roughly led the league in homers for three years running; when you have Felix Hernandez at 31, a former Cy Young Award winner who last year failed to throw 200 innings for the first time in about a decade; when you have one of the preeminent third baseman (Kyle Seager) in the league who can do a lot of things offensively and defensively, and you’ve committed at roughly $75 million annually for those players, you are in a `win-now’ mode.”
Those players are among the few remaining on the Mariners’ 40-man roster that Dipoto inherited when he took the team’s GM job near the end of the 2015 season. By my count, the only other players on the Mariners’ 40-man who remain from that time are Hisashi Iwakuma (who Dipoto re-signed in the 2015-16 offseason), James Paxton, Tony Zych, Mike Zunino and Shawn O’Malley.
“It doesn’t shock me,” says Dipoto of the Mariners’ roster turnover. “It wasn’t necessarily by design but, again, we have not done this with pandemonium in mind.”
Dipoto’s trades have included a large number of young players and prospects, but Dipoto suggests that he hasn’t mortgaged the Mariners’ future. He’s kept top prospects like Kyle Lewis, Tyler O’Neill and Andrew Moore, as Dutton notes. And while many of Dipoto’s trades have privileged short-term assets rather than longer-term ones (like the trade that bought one year of control of Dyson for four of Nate Karns), Dipoto points out that he has also made trades that have featured players at similar points in their careers (including, perhaps, the one that sent former top prospect Alex Jackson and pitcher Tyler Pike to Atlanta for young starters Robert Whalen and Max Povse). Dipoto further notes that he has acquired several players with limited service time, including Haniger, Dan Vogelbach and Ben Gamel (the last two of whom the Mariners acquired during the 2016 season), who could make an impact in the big leagues in 2017.