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Drayer: Mariners’ recouped money from Cano’s suspension will aid Dipoto in trade talks

Mariners' Jerry Dipoto on the trade market: "It has been a fairly active, let’s call it discussion." (AP)

With Robinson Cano suspended without pay for 80 games, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto all of the sudden has about $12 million at his disposal.

Stelton: The Mariners can make it through Cano’s suspension

While this is obviously not the same as having those dollars available in the offseason, Dipoto will head into trade season with an overstuffed wallet. And with Dee Gordon getting ready to take over second base for Cano, Dipoto has turned his attention elsewhere in looking for help for his team.

“We might be able to augment our outfield with someone else who might not have to step in and be a star, but can supplement a deep lineup and help this move down the path,” Dipoto said on the Mariners radio pregame show. “Then we will refocus on the things we were intent on anyway, which is improving our pitching staff.”

With struggling starters and an erratic pen, the extra dollars certainly could be put to good use acquiring an arm or two, but Dipoto is not content to leave well enough with his offense. And while it seems early for teams to start dealing, he said that there has been a good amount of activity on the pre-trade front.

“Quite a bit actually. It has been a fairly active, let’s call it discussion. I wouldn’t say the market is open, but the lights went on in an earlier point than they have ever gone on before, in my opinion.”

Dipoto pointed to the number of teams that got off to “runaway” starts and have continued to play well as the reason for the early action.

“I think that is representative of how well some of the teams are playing in both leagues,” he said. “For me personally, it has prompted more phone calls then I typically have received or even made at this point of the season.”

Teams looking to dump salary and look toward 2019 may take their cues from what we saw in the offseason with the free agent market. For the most part, those who signed early got the better deals. If this is the case, Dipoto will be ready to deal.

In making many of his bigger trades with the Mariners, Dipoto has picked his targets, assigned values and moved quickly. Dipoto admitted that in the hours after he learned the Cano would be suspended, he made a number of calls. I would be surprised if we didn’t see a significant add well before the July 31 deadline.

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