Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto told Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times and other reporters this week that the club’s largely content with the work it has done this winter to improve its roster. While the Mariners haven’t addressed their rotation in any noteworthy way, Dipoto’s confident their starters are at least on par with most AL rotations, “with the exception of last year’s playoff teams — the Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros.” Whether Felix Hernandez will be able to amass 25-plus starts, as opposed to the 16 he made last year, will go a long way toward deciding how Seattle will fare in 2018, Dipoto believes.
With a couple months left until the start of the season, the Mariners could still complement Hernandez & Co. with more starting help – payroll’s “not an issue,” according to CEO John Stanton. However, if we’re to take Dipoto’s word, it doesn’t seem likely. “We are doing the best we can to develop our system, not to clog it,” Dipoto said. “Could we go out and sign a free agent that would be better than our current fifth starter? Absolutely. Would that be the best thing for the present of the Mariners? Maybe. Would it be the best thing through the wider lens for the present and future of the Mariners? Probably not. We’ll be able to address those needs as we go. Because the one thing we’ve not had to deal with here is a lack of resources.”
More on a couple other West Coast clubs:
- In search of left-handed relief help, the Athletics “made some offers to some guys; we just weren’t able to get them here,” manager Bob Melvin informed Jane Lee of MLB.com and other reporters Saturday (Twitter link). One offer went to Brian Duensing, who turned down a deal worth $3MM more than the two-year, $7MM pact he took to re-up with the Cubs, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The A’s also attempted to pick up outfielder Austin Jackson on a one-year deal, but the Giants reeled him in with a two-year, $6MM contract. Now, Oakland’s not discussing any “significant free agents,” Slusser writes.
- Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic has an excellent, free-to-read piece on new Giants hitting coach Alonzo Powell, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer Jan. 2 and will undergo prostate removal surgery on Tuesday. Powell’s support system includes his wife, Jana, as well as both the San Francisco and Houston organizations (he was the Astros’ assistant hitting coach from 2015-17), which Baggarly details. The Giants have been invaluable to Powell, as they took over his medical care after scans showed his cancer had spread to his bones. Had that been accurate, surgery would not have been an option for Powell, who would have instead had to go through a year of chemotherapy and radiation. But the Giants’ chief internist, Dr. Robert Murray, was skeptical of those results, and he had Powell undergo another bone scan that ultimately returned good news. After his surgery, Powell will need “daily radiation treatments for several weeks,” Baggarly writes, but the hope is he’ll be with the Giants when their pitchers and catchers report to spring training Feb. 13. We join those around the game in rooting for Powell to achieve that goal.