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Jerry Dipoto: Mariners could do ‘early shopping’ for 2018 at trade deadline

Jerry Dipoto is being "open-minded" to what the M's can do before the trade deadline. (AP)

The news that Drew Smyly won’t pitch for the Mariners in 2017 immediately added to speculation that general manager Jerry Dipoto will be looking for starting rotation help at the MLB trade deadline, which is July 31.

Dipoto didn’t tip his hand much when asked about the trade deadline on “Danny, Dave and Moore” Thursday, but he did give an indication of what his motivations will be regarding potential transactions for a Mariners team that has dealt with injuries as much an any major league franchise this season.

“For all that we’ve done to keep ourselves afloat, we do understand that we have holes,” Dipoto said. “We’ve done a remarkable job I think of having guys step up and fill in where needed, but we have to be open-minded about what we can do not only for the remainder of 2017, but in effect doing some early shopping for 2018 if that’s possible.”

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The comment about early shopping for 2018 could signal that Dipoto is preparing for the Mariners to be sellers, but he’s also stated in the past that he aims to be “opportunistic” at the deadline, so he very well could make moves that build for next year without taking much away from the current team. He made trades like that in 2016, getting starter Ariel Miranda from Baltimore for the struggling Wade Miley and prospect Dan Vogelbach from the Cubs as part of a deal that sent reliever Mike Montgomery to Chicago.

Don’t be surprised if that again is the sort of direction Seattle takes, especially with it expected to be a tough market for starting pitchers, the area the M’s probably need the most help.

“We’re open-minded, we’re doing our due diligence, we’ve already been in touch with teams around the league to express interest in the players we think fit for us,” Dipoto said.