Jerry Dipoto joined the Hot Stove Show which was broadcast from the Mariners Team Store at Bellevue Square Friday night and answered the question that has been on the minds of many Mariners fans. After filling the needs at first base and center field and presumably adding (the deal has not yet been officially announced) an impact arm for the bullpen, is he done with his off season shopping? I asked specifically how active he was at the moment, in trying to add another starter.
“Frankly, not that active,” he said. “If we have an opportunity to make another addition, we will, but if you go back to August of last year, picking up Erasmo Ramirez on what effectively is a very affordable two year deal, picking up Mike Leake 3 years for 33(million) with an option. Those are free agent signings to a degree. Those are veteran starters who are healhty, capable of taking the ball. You add them to James Paxton, Felix Hernandez, we feel like that’s a starting four. We want to have a young, flexible back of the rotation that gives us the ability to change when needed and we are not going to be opposed to running for periods of time to time a 6-man rotation to make sure that everyone has a little bit of a rest at mid-season if they need it. The combination of the moves we made at the tail of the season and just being patient through the market, but I said at the start of the off season we were looking for impact. It may come in the form of bullpen, it may come in the rotation, but again you do what you can do to make the 13-man staff or the 12-man staff however it turns out as strong and as long as you can and that might come via the bullpen rather than the starters.”
While it may seem surprising that the addition of another rotation arm does not appear to be in the cards at this point, perhaps it shouldn’t. Dipoto’s comments Friday night echo what he has been saying throughout the off season. He has been very specific in pointing out that impact pitching help could come in the form of a starter or a reliever and the impression I got was that with what was available to him he was leaning toward shoring up the bullpen.
The full conversation which includes more of a look at how he intends to manage the pitching staff in 2018 can be found here.