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Jerry Dipoto: Mariners’ needs are clear, and pitching depth is No. 1

Though James Paxton had a great start to 2017, the Mariners lack a clear-cut ace. (AP)
LISTEN: Jerry Dipoto on the upcoming trade deadline, update on Hisashi Iwakuma

With the Mariners struggling to get back above water and the trade deadline approaching at the end of the month, general manager Jerry Dipoto has a plan.

“Our needs are clear. We need to find pitching depth and add on that end both for the present and the future,” Dipoto told “Danny, Dave and Moore” on Thursday.

Pitching has recently been an issue for Seattle, specifically the rotation, where no clear-cut ace has been present for the past two months. James Paxton was sensational early in the season, but he hasn’t found that same dominance since returning from the disabled list. Felix Hernandez suddenly has an ERA over 5. Ariel Miranda, Sam Gaviglio and Andrew Moore have all been nice surprises, but they’re also young and can’t be counted on to provide quality starts every time out.

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The Mariners could use some help in the bullpen, too, as they lack a true set-up man to closer Edwin Diaz, who has also had his ups and downs this season.

Dipoto is hopeful that the Mariners will be able to get back on track after the All-Star break if they’re able to address the concerns of the pitching staff.

“We’re going to try to make this team better for 2017. We do think that we have a chance to make a run as the second half gets underway,” he said. “We are aware that these are the times – mid-summer and then again as we get into the holiday season, December, January – this is when you can tap in to the market, particularly the pitching market.”

Just don’t be alarmed if a trade or two made by Seattle looks more like something with later seasons in mind, as Dipoto indicated that is just as big of a priority for the team right now.

“We are gonna make sure that 2018, 2019, 2020 are part of the plan, too, because with the foundation that we’ve built with some of the younger players we’ve brought on board over the last year and a half, we intend to keep our window open for an extended period,” Dipoto said. “This is just another chance for us to acquire players that will help us.”