Jerry Dipoto: With the foundation laid, Mariners plan to spend this offseason
The Mariners are set to take on the Toronto Blue Jays in the rubber match of a three-game series on Thursday, and suddenly, the matchup is even more interesting.
That would be because of what Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant on Thursday morning when comparing Seattle’s rebuild to what the Blue Jays have done in recent years. That’s important in looking ahead to what he and the organization plan to do this upcoming offseason.
First, here’s how Dipoto directly compares the Mariners to the Blue Jays when it comes to their respective rebuilds:
“We’ve always viewed ourselves as about a year behind the Blue Jays because roughly that’s about when we started (the rebuild),” he said on the weekly Jerry Dipoto Show, which airs at 8:30 a.m. each Thursday. “Similarly, when the Blue Jays started their rebuild, they did it with some premium guys in the minor leagues. Guys like Vlad (Guerrero Jr.), Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, etc. And they still have a couple (top prospects) who are on the way, guys like (Austin) Martin and (Nate) Pearson. They’ve done a really nice job of building up their players, and we feel like that’s happening for us, too.”
Dipoto said that while the Mariners have a lot of young players on their MLB roster, he still feels there’s “a lot on the way” in terms of young prospects who will make an impact in Seattle in the very near future.
“I think what our club is like in 2021 doesn’t feel to me too dissimilar from where the Blue Jays were this time a year ago, albeit in a very shortened season,” Dipoto said. “And they managed to work their way into an expanded playoff scenario. I don’t know if that’s going to happen for us, but we see ourselves on a similar type of path.”
The Blue Jays went 32-28 last year and made the playoffs due to the expanded field, which included eight postseason teams in each league. The Mariners finished 27-33 last year.
After Toronto made the playoffs, the organization went into free agency with an open checkbook and inked star players including outfielder George Springer, infielder Marcus Semien and reliever Kirby Yates to big money deals – especially in the case of Springer, who signed a six-year, $150 million contract.
Paul Gallant asked Dipoto if the Mariners planned to be as aggressive in free agency this upcoming offseason as the Blue Jays were last year. Here’s what he said:
“Absolutely, in a word. And I think that’s the message I’ve been trying to send both to our team and most especially to our fans.”
"When it's time and you know where you're adding, that's when you go fire your bullets and we feel like that's coming for us this off season." pic.twitter.com/hjvYy6CjpF
— Maura Dooley (@Maura_Dool) July 1, 2021
For Dipoto, the timing is lining up for Seattle to be big spenders this offseason after a few years of mostly sitting on the sidelines for headliners in free agency.
“The only way you can do this is by first identifying where it’s best to spend that money and how you can go out and fill that void,” he said. “Until you go through the laying of the foundation, you don’t really know (which players) are going to take the extra year and who’s going to stumble and fall and where you need to fill in.”
The Mariners appear ready to take that next step forward, and Dipoto noted that younger teams like the Blue Jays as well teams dating back to the 1980s and 1990s went out and signed big-name players to help take that next step.
“Like this iteration of the Blue Jays, and like I talked about with teams like the Braves and Mets from years gone by, those teams always went out and added the piece,” he said. “Whether that be Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez for the Mets or Terry Pendleton and Greg Maddux for the Braves, when it’s time and you know where you’re at, that’s when you go fire your bullets. And we feel like that’s coming for us this offseason and we’re very excited for it.”
You can listen to the full Jerry Dipoto Show at this link or in the player below.