It was four years ago today that Jerry Dipoto has hired as the Mariners’ general manager, and Dipoto has since become known for his trade-heavy style in his attempts to first build, and (in the last year) rebuild Seattle’s roster. If 2019 was marked by Dipoto’s desire to “re-imagine” his team, 2020 promises more stability, as Dipoto told MLB.com’s Greg Johns and other reporters that he expects a more “moderate” offseason in terms of trades and signings.
“This will be a little different offseason than you’ve seen from us, particularly last year’s,” Dipoto said. “But even years prior, 2016-18, we were so much about making peripheral moves to augment what we thought was a contending core. This is a different scenario. We’re growing a young core and we have to give them an opportunity to play.”
To that end, Dipoto felt it would be “very unlikely” that the team acquires any significant veterans this winter, as the Mariners intend to give plenty of playing time to their younger talents. J.P. Crawford, Shed Long, Kyle Lewis, and Dan Vogelbach are some of the new faces who began to emerge in 2019, and all project to be more or less everyday players next season. While Dipoto did say the M’s were “likely not to be very engaged in the trade market in more than a peripheral way,” that was in regards to the addition of new players, and he didn’t address the possibility of further trades of veterans (i.e. Domingo Santana or Dee Gordon) to create even more roster room.
In terms of what veterans could be added, both the pitching rotation and bullpen could get some lower-level veteran depth. More player additions in general could come via minor league signings and the Rule 5 Draft.
The Mariners’ roster already looks vastly different than it did just a year ago. Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, Jean Segura, James Paxton, Alex Colome, Mike Leake, and Juan Nicasio are just some of the bigger names who have departed the team in a variety of trades, resulting in a lot of additional minor league depth and a much lesser payroll (the M’s have just under $80MM on the books for 2020). Dipoto has hinted at 2021 as a soft deadline for the Mariners to begin turning back towards contention, though much will hinge on how their younger players develop next season.