Jerry Dipoto arrived in Seattle at the tail end of the 2015 season, and now that the 2018 season is here, the Mariners general manager feels good with the shape his roster has taken.
“We’ve worked for the last two-plus years to put together a roster that is more athletic, that is more flexible,” Dipoto told Danny, Dave and Moore at Safeco Field just before the Mariners’ opening night game against Cleveland. “We’ve built a group around our core four players that we think is the most competitive group that we can bring together right now.”
While the Mariners have some players whose faces are plenty familiar to followers of the MLB, that’s not to say the team led by Robinson Cano (35 years old) and Nelson Cruz (37) is too old.
“We’ve done it with a mix of younger players and veterans. Unlike what people have suggested, I don’t feel like our clock is ticking, so to speak,” he said. “We have two players over the age of 32 outside of Ichiro, who just joined. … We’re 29 years old on average which is right about the average in the big leagues.
“We like where we stand.”
The Mariners’ offense is what most are expecting to be the biggest strength of the Mariners this season, but Dipoto was quick to stand up for the pitching of his team.
“Big blow losing David Phelps (to Tommy John surgery) in spring training, but we still really like the depth and the impact in our bullpen. And our starting rotation is better than people think,” Dipoto said.
“I hope that starts tonight with Felix (Hernandez). He has been in a great place all spring long. James Paxton I think has proven when healthy he is one of the best guys in the league, and the dings that James Paxton has experienced in recent years haven’t really been his arm (so) that’s not hugely an issue for us. I think Mike Leake is as stable and predictable as they come, and for us right now hopefully Marco Gonzales takes what he did in spring training and carries it into the regular season because I think he’ll open some eyes as to how good he can be.
You can listen to the full Dipoto interview at this link, and you can catch the Mariners all season long on 710 ESPN Seattle starting with Thursday’s 7:10 game against the Indians.