In his most recent appearance on 710 ESPN radio (audio link), Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto discussed his club’s disappointing fade in the postseason race. What had seemed an inevitable march to a Wild Card has turned into a lost cause as the division-rival A’s sprinted past.
It long seemed that the M’s were outperforming their true talent level, but the collapse has still been surprising (albeit less so than the corresponding Oakland surge). Seattle is still 14 games over .500, but it sat over twenty games over for much of late June and July.
Dipoto admitted that the club is at a “bit of a crossroads” at this point, having seen a hoped-for postseason return fall out of its grasp. “We should be embarrassed by it and I am,” says the veteran executive, who says it feels as if the club has “taken two steps forward and then three steps back” over the course of the season.
It’s interesting to hear Dipoto describe things in that manner, as the organization seems largely to be set up to continue pressing forward after the present season. After all, its 2019 payroll already includes over $125MM in guaranteed money before accounting for arbitration salaries or outside acquisitions. Of course, Dipoto could perhaps be referring more to the team’s approaches to roster building and commitments to specific players than its determination to pursue near-term contention.
Notably, that upcoming salary figure also doesn’t include a salary for veteran slugger Nelson Cruz, who is the team’s top pending free agent. Dipoto highlighted Cruz as one of the season’s highlights in the above-linked chat. And he has made clear in other recent comments that the Mariners have every intention of trying to keep him in the fold, as Corey Brock of The Athletic explores (subscription link).
As Dipoto put it in an interview with Seattle’s KIRO-AM:
“I don’t think you could increase the chances we’d want to, the chances we want to are already very high. Everybody wants Nelson here, there’s no question about that.”
Just how contract talks will proceed isn’t clear, but they won’t be impacted by the qualifying offer process since Cruz isn’t eligible to receive one. The 38-year-old would otherwise seem a reasonable recipient despite his advanced age. After all, he has done nothing but mash since coming to Seattle. Through nearly 2,500 plate appearances over the past four seasons, he carries a ridiculous .286/.365/.553 slash with 162 home runs.
Interestingly, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times noted back in June that the organization has already made a run at “a contract setup similar to David Ortiz’s final years in Boston” — i.e., a hefty single-year guarantee with a series of options, at least some of which had vesting elements. Evidently, that approach (or other details of the offer) didn’t strike Cruz’s fancy, at least not to the extent that he was willing to make a deal before the start of the season.
Now that Cruz will have another productive year in the books, he can certainly seek a multi-year deal if he prefers. As Brock explains, some recent injuries are perhaps more a reflection of misfortune than deterioration, and Cruz is a noted workout fiend. Though he’ll be limited to American League teams, and will face a market that hasn’t favored defensively-limited sluggers, Cruz will surely be a popular target if he makes it to free agency.
Irrelevant orginizaton. Move them to OKC and rename them the Lightning Bolts.
Move them to NC and call them the Charlotte Raes.
Baltimore doesn’t have a team.
The nationals are close enough.
Then don’t comment! Irrelevant organizations don’t hand out $240M contracts. He wasn’t what the doctor ordered, but your comment is 100% classless,
All Baseball No Xabial
Some of us dream of the day there is an article that YOU don’t comment on.
Sorry, some of us dream of mutual respect, Unnecessary comment.
Also, who’s this “we”? Stop pretending to speak for other people. Who are you
I gave facts to the best of my ability why I respect the Mariners’ as an organization, despite missing the postseason since 2001. to the trash comment you’re defending above, and I’m not even a Mariners’ fan.
Despite the fact that I hate the Yankees, I usually enjoy your comments. It’s not like you post mean or ridiculous things on here. I don’t understand some people’s anger towards commenters like you
All Baseball No Xabial
You said yourself just earlier today you aren’t popular on here. It’s like you sit around waiting to pounce on every single article like you are the god of all baseball insight. Maybe don’t try to be such a dang know it all.
All Baseball No Xabial
And I didn’t defend any comment. I scrolled past the stupid moving comment just like you could have mr. hero.
Wow just wanna say I agree with everything you said DiamondNRG. Like this dude doesn’t even have opinions he just posts useless stats and reiterates what the article said in the first place. It’s like he wants to be the editor of this site or something.
They were especially obnoxious because they proposed moving the team, when the city of Seattle isn’t responsible for the team being bad. Neither are the fans.
If they post refuting ridiculous comments like the one above, more power to them.
Also it’s blaming the city and the fans for the team’s problems, when the problem is with ownership. The city of Seattle doesn’t own the Mariners—does the commenter even realize that? Many fans come out even when the team is bad. Even more when they’re in contention. The city has given them tax breaks.
Why the hell would MLB take the team away from a city that supports it?
Irrelevant clubs also don’t own controlling stakes of their own Regional Sports networks, and subsequent TV deals which guarantees them more than $2B.
Aren’t you a Cards fan? Did you know Mariners get double the Cards’ guaranteed TV money (2B>1B) and SEA’s ownership of ROOT is double Cards’ equity stake of Fox Sports Midwest.
That’s just disrespectful.
Ridiculous. Even if you’re joking. The city of Seattle isn’t the problem here.
why wouldn’t he be eligible for a qualifying offer?
New cba says you cannot offer a qo if you’ve already received one in the past
Baltimore offered him one in 2014 which he declines and then joined the Mariners. A player may only get a QO once in his career.
Rule in the new CBA: a player can only receive one in his career. Cruz got one from the Orioles.
You’re living in the wrong year, bud. Those days are over.
Please re sign him. I absolutely love watching him hit every night. He has one hundred percent been the greatest player on the team the last 4 seasons
Jerry Dipoto, destroyer of farm systems!
What farm systems? Arte holds equal blame in destroying the Angels system and quite honestly the Ms didn’t have a system to destroy. He quite easily gets a bad rap, because well it’s the easy way out.
I feel bad for them because even though I’m not a SEA fan, was rooting for them to break longest post-season drought in North America pro sports (Since 2001)
It looked like they had it, and there was optimism, but that 162 game season is a cruel mistress.
I like Jerry’s style. I’m glad he got extended and promoted… The pple who hate on him (exc LAA fans) always surprises. Who doesn’t love trades?
I thought Nelson Cruz would be an albatross… He’s clobbered 162 homers in 591 games since inked 4-year, $57 million deal w/ SEA. Fifth consecutive season 35+ HR. This game is the most unpredictable sport
I think the reason it’s easy to hate his style is because it’s always produced the same kind of team – it always looks like they’re going to be great, and they fall off. Platoons remove bench space, he takes a lot of high risk/high reward players (that work out probably less than half the time) and the farm system disappears. Happened the the DBacks, happened to the Angels, and it’s happening to the Mariners.
I still can’t believe the Mariners let Fiers go to the A’s. Seems like a massive fail on Dipoto’s part. I think it was right around that time that they bumped Felix from the rotation, and they allowed the team they were chasing to fill their own need.
Interesting but likely irrelevant fact. The Mariners are 33-32 with Cano in the lineup, they are 47-34 without him.
Yeah, it’s irrelevant. The mariners started a downward spiral starting July 5th. Cano didn’t come back until August 14th. They were 24-17 before he got suspended, they played out of their minds for about 2 months, this was bound to happen. Just not this bad
They never had a farm system to begin with.
steven st croix
I wonder if Houston will go after Nelson Cruz this offseason. Gattis is free after the season.
Yeah, I’m very much afraid of this. Not going to lie. Especially since he hasn’t won a ring yet, and he’s 38.
I’ve wondered that myself.They could carry an extra fielder and rotate the DH, but Cruz would give them a heck of a power boost.
I’m hopeful he’ll stay in Seattle, but Seattle has a lot of work to do this offseason. I would understand if he wished to move on.
Seattle has problems beyond re signing Cruz.
Great closer but below average or nearly last in offensive and pitching categories.
Offensively. They’re 5th in starter WAR, and reliever WAR in the AL (dipoto said)
Is there anything to them playing better without Cano? Or is that just a coincidence?
angels in Anaheim
The Mariners need to trade Cano and Felix needs to retire. He is done.
Would anyone want Cano’s salary?
I don’t think Nelson wants to come back.
I agree with everything Xabial has posted in this string and I AM an unabashed Mariners fan. IMHO, the M’s are two solid starters and one solid bat away from being contenders next year. Keep Haniger, Segura, Zunino, Seager, Gordon, Cano, Span, upgrade Healy, trade Vogelbach, Heredia, and Gamel. Keep Nelly if you can swing it. As for the rotation, go with Paxton, a FA second starter, then Leake, Gonzales, and LeBlanc, but even that rotation sounds like a fragile Ace followed by three number three or four starters. We need a “second Ace” type in number two slot.