SHANNON DRAYER

Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto puts speculation about Jarred Kelenic, Logan Gilbert to rest

Sep 17, 2020, 10:37 AM | Updated: 11:03 am
Mariners Jarred Kelenic...
No. 1 Mariners prospect Jarred Kelenic is at the team's alternate training site in Tacoma. (Getty)
(Getty)

On Thursday’s Jerry Dipoto Show on 710 ESPN Seattle, the Mariners general manager put to rest any notions that the Mariners would call up prized prospects Jarred Kelenic and Logan Gilbert.

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“We are going to stay disciplined,” Dipoto told Danny and Gallant. “We’ve laid a plan out and we are following that plan. Right now we think it is working.”

The Mariners entered the day two games behind the Houston Astros for the second guaranteed playoff spot out of the American League West with 11 games to play. With the field of playoff teams expanded from 10 to 16 this year, the Mariners are closer to a playoff spot in the standings than they have been for years.

Two games don’t sound like much to make up, but the story on paper and by the numbers is different. In reality, the Mariners are three games behind the Astros as Houston holds the tiebreaker with a 6-1 record against Seattle this year, and when it comes to the oddsmakers, the Mariners are even further back with Fangraphs giving the Astros a 97.3 percent chance to make the postseason. The Mariners? Just 3.2 percent.

As much as some fans would like to go for broke and see Kelenic in the outfield and Gilbert on the mound right now for the Mariners, Dipoto knows the odds and is focused both on the future and what has happened in the past.

“We’ve certainly heard the rumblings,” Dipoto acknowledged. “I guess the simplest way for me to address the timing of it is we have got 11 games left, (and) we understand we are climbing a pretty formidable hill both in our schedule and what that means for our potential to make the playoffs. We have a pretty decorated history as an organization of pushing fast forward (with prospects) when we may have been better off showing a little discipline. And we are going to try to exercise the discipline this time and just play it smart keep the long-term plan in place and make sure we are doing the right thing for the health of the organization.”

To that he looks back to the ultimate goal and the reason why they committed to a near-full tear down almost two years ago.

“The goal was to build a sustainable winner, not to chase the eighth playoff spot in an eight playoff spot format,” he pointed out.

For years the Mariners had been chasing a wild-card berth, adding pieces here and there for a chance. The rebuild was to get the team into a more permanent state of contention. Rather than putting Band-Aids on spots of need year after year, the prime path to sustained contention was seen as development, and in resisting straying from the plan and bringing up young prospects before they get the game experience the Mariners’ player development department believes they still need, the focus remains on that development at the end of a very shortened Year 2 of the plan.

Kelenic and Gilbert will not be leaned on. Not this year. Not when the success of Year 2 was going to be measured by player development, not wins and losses.

“If we wind up in the postseason (it will be) because our players propelled us there and we deserved to get there,” Dipoto said, “but the future looks just as bright and we don’t want to push fast forward on that and effectively upset the apple cart when we think things are moving in such a good direction.”

You can listen to Dipoto’s full comments in the podcast at this link or in the player below beginning after the 26-minute mark.

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