Dipoto: With J.P. Crawford and new personalities, Mariners’ clubhouse ‘a joy’
Clubhouse chemistry has been a focus for the Mariners during the tenures of general manager/president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais. That chemistry may be better than ever in 2022.
Dipoto joined Seattle Sports Station’s Wyman and Bob on Friday at T-Mobile Park hours before the Mariners’ home opener, and he said the various personalities the team has brought together for this season stands out even more than in previous years.
“Our clubhouse is fun,” Dipoto said, “and it’s a joy to be down there.”
Three additions the Mariners made this offseason play a big role in that, as do younger players coming into their own at the major league level.
“I will say that some of the new acquisitions, (Eugenio) Suárez and Jesse Winker, Sergio Romo especially, their personalities really changed a lot of the way our clubhouse operates,” he said. “These guys are outgoing, they’re fun to be around, and then you couple that with some of the young guys starting to step up and come out of those shells and our young players who’ve been around – the guys like Ty France and J.P. Crawford, what we’re seeing with the intro of Matt Brash, Year 2 of Jarred Kelenic, the personality of Julio Rodríguez.”
The biggest personality on the Mariners’ roster, though, may be Crawford, the 2020 Gold Glove shortstop who Seattle made a big commitment to last week by signing him to a long-term extension on opening day.
“J.P. in general, and I know many in our clubhouse feel this way, he’s a heart and soul guy for us,” Dipoto said. “He’s so much the personality of our team and he’s got such a cool way about him.”
Dipoto said teams may be “hesitant” to do something like a contract extension on the first day of the season, but Crawford has shown with his hot start at the plate that there was nothing to be concerned about with him.
“A player might try to put too much pressure on himself (after signing an extension); J.P. did the opposite. I think we’re seeing the very best version of him. And it’s tough to remember sometimes because these guys, first as prospects and then as young major leaguers, they’ve been part of our vernacular for so long – we talk about them. And you know, J.P.’s 27. He’s just now starting what should be the best years of his career and he’s gonna be here in Seattle for the foreseeable future if not the rest of his time as a big leaguer, which I think is an exciting thing.”
A different kind of personality
The aforementioned Brash, who made his MLB debut at just 23 years old with an impressive outing against the White Sox on Tuesday, is another personality Dipoto highlighted during his conversation with Bob Stelton and Dave Wyman, but for a different reason. That’s because the kid from Kingston, Ontario, Canada had no issue feeling comfortable in the big leagues.
“Matt is very calm and collected,” Dipoto said before going telling an anecdote Servais shared with him from Brash’s debut. “… Scott said as they were going through the pregame and you’re getting the raucous (crowd), the music starting, AC/DC is blaring, and they’ve got a near-sellout crowd – they’re getting heightened as we get ready to take the field and Matt’s sitting on the bench. And Scott walked over to him and said, ‘Hey, treat this like it’s any other game. You’re playing Little League back in Canada.’ And Matt said, ‘Don’t worry, I got this.'”
That story elicited quite a laugh from Wyman and Bob, but it also is indicative of the composure that should benefit Brash in his career.
“I thought his outing was electric. That’s how good stuff is, really,” Dipoto said. “… He comes to the ballpark, he works really hard, he’s very aware of what his stuff does and he doesn’t worry too much about what the other team’s doing. His thought is ‘If I go execute what I’m supposed to do, then all of it’ll take care of itself.'”
Listen to the full conversation with Dipoto from Wyman and Bob in the podcast at this link or in the player below.
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