Jerry Dipoto Show: Mariners have sights set on ‘centerpiece-type players’
In his six years leading the Mariners, we have seen Jerry Dipoto make blockbuster trades. We have seen him sign under the radar free agents. We have seen him turn waiver claims and minor league signees into valuable pieces of a bullpen. What we haven’t seen is Dipoto go all-in on the big-ticket free agent.
The money is now available, yet as discussed this week on the Talking Mariners Podcast, there had still been some speculation that Dipoto could do things a little differently. He has historically preferred to build through trade, targeting specific players rather than relying on a free agent market. Perhaps the money would be spread out, accumulating WAR rather than star players.
Thursday morning on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jerry Dipoto Show, he shut the door on those thoughts with not one but two comments that should have Mariners fans pulling their chairs closer to the hot stove.
“It’s really good,” Dipoto said of the free agent market to Mike Salk. “There’s some depth in this particular class, especially on the position player side, and it’s exciting to go into a market that is this robust with some flexibility and the ability to land a player at multiple positions on the field.”
The flexibility he refers to is both in budget and positions. Dipoto pointed to middle infield and the number of All-Star-quality players as the strength of a free agent class that comes in a critical offseason for the Mariners.
“It’s exciting for us because this is the first time that we’ve really set our sights on finding those centerpiece-type players that can really drive a championship team, and hopefully we are able to bring one to Seattle, if not more.”
In past years, “club control” or “fits with the group we have” or “possesses a skill set we believe we can build on” were attributes Dipoto extolled when explaining the newest additions. “Centerpiece-type players” swim in a much smaller pool, but this winter, that pool is stocked.
With the uncertainty surrounding baseball’s expiring collective bargaining agreement, it would seem this offseason would be anything but normal when it comes to roster building. But Dipoto told Salk that the Mariners will approach signings and trades as they would in any other offseason.
“We can’t start to guess about the unknowns or try to put a system in place that doesn’t currently exist,” he said. “I don’t know how illustrious our November results will be, but it won’t be because we don’t go in as aggressive as we have every other year, and we are going to assume that it is just a normal offseason.”
In his weekly conversation on 710 ESPN Seattle, Dipoto also gave his thoughts on the World Series and briefly addressed declining the options on Kyle Seager and Yusei Kikuchi. You can listen to the full conversation at this link or in the player below.