Jerry Dipoto says Mariners making ‘real progress’ with free agents, answers key trade question
With Mariners division rivals this week signing two of the game’s aces, both of whom are coming off Tommy John surgery, there has been a sense of unease among a portion of the Mariners’ fan base. Perhaps a bit of overreaction as the robust free agent class is still largely intact, but understandable that fans are anxious to see moves.
While names aren’t exactly flying off shelves, the market is moving at a quicker speed than many expected. Mariners general manager/president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto, who made his weekly visit with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Mike Salk on Thursday morning, is not surprised, however.
“It’s both a good and a fun thing,” Dipoto said, noting that the Mariners anticipated this coming out of last week’s GM meetings in Carlsbad, Calif. “That’s not disappointing for us; that lands in our breadbasket, actually.”
Dipoto told Salk that the Mariners have made “real progress” in getting in front of their free agent targets with the pursuit moving beyond talking with agents. Those conversations have occurred with the focus being more on terms and interest level ahead of the face-to-face meetings rather than dollar amounts.
The success of such meetings will be determined in one way and one way only, and that is when pen meets paper. But face-to-face meetings indicate the Mariners are in the game with these players, especially if you take into consideration the accelerated pace due to baseball’s potential work stoppage now less than two weeks away.
“Each sit-down meeting you are committing a day to that team, and that is a pretty daunting thing when you have got family coming in, holidays. That’s part of this early market that I think is intriguing,” said Dipoto. “We do have three and potentially four visitations set up between now and Thanksgiving, so we are going to log some miles in the next week.”
Trades remain a possibility as well, with Salk asking the question that has been on the minds of many: In order to acquire a desired player, would the Mariners be willing to take another player with a larger contract if that meant not having to give up prospects? The answer was yes. The likelihood of that actually happening, though?
“Those aren’t easy deals to do mostly because there’s a lot of money attached to a player, and generally speaking, the club that’s trading that player doesn’t want to trade the better prospect in order to move the contract,” said Dipoto. “So those are a little more difficult, but we are open to them in the extent they exist.”
Listen to the full Jerry Dipoto Show from Thursday morning in the player above in this post or in the podcast at this link.
The Mariners selected three players to their 40-man roster on Thursday to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft next month.
For more on the moves, read the press release here.