The Mariners never expected to contend in 2020, but a lost or truncated season stands to impact the club’s developmental timeline. GM Jerry Dipoto discussed his organization’s approach, especially with regard to its top prospects, with Larry Stone of the Seattle Times.
Dipoto acknowledged the tightrope the team is likely to encounter with exciting young talents such as Logan Gilbert and Jarred Kelenic. On the one hand, the original plan was for such players to open the year “in developmental mode” in the upper minors. And while it went unsaid, it stands to reason that the Seattle front office isn’t anxious to burn up service time unnecessarily.
On the other hand, Dipoto is cognizant of the need to squeeze in as much development as possible. These guys need reps and seem unlikely to find them at Triple-A in 2020. Getting prospects the requisite playing experience “becomes a little more challenging when there may not be a league for them to go play in,” Dipoto explains.
“We are very committed to the idea that their development is more important to us than virtually anything else we’re going to do this year,” says Dipoto. “We’re still committed to that idea, and this will just be a delicate balance for not trying to rush them, but make sure they get the competition reps to the best of our ability.”
It sounds as if it’s still up in the air whether and for how long we might get a glimpse of these highly regarded youngsters. That’s all presuming there’s a season at all, of course.
The Seattle brass is clearly pessimistic about anything like a typical minor-league season. It’s not hard to see why, given the stumbling effort to get a MLB campaign underway. But Dipoto says there is some hope that many minor-leaguers will get some sort of competitive action. He says he’s “optimistic” that minor-league action of some kind will be possible later in the year.
More broadly, Dipoto says, the club is bullish on the organization’s outlook. The Mariners’ slate of future financial commitments isn’t onerous; most of it is promised to younger players. As a whole, the current MLB roster is quite youthful, and there’s hope that some new stars are just on the horizon. It’ll certainly be fun to watch if the M’s decide to throw some of that talent into the bigs in an offbeat 2020 campaign.