Jerry Dipoto: Mariners are ‘still trying to find their personality’
The Mariners have played better over the last week, winning a series over the American League West-leading Houston Astros and opening their current road trip with a 10-0 win Tuesday in Baltimore. But with a 9-2 loss to the Orioles on Wednesday and sitting at 21-29 going into Thursday’s series finale, it still feels like the M’s are struggling.
Mariners general manager and president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto provided his outlook during his weekly Thursday morning conversation with Mike Salk on Seattle Sports Station, specifically about how the Mariners now compare to the team that won 90 games in 2021.
“Every team and every year has its own unique personality,” Dipoto said, “with the exception being if the same 26 players, staff and worldwide environment reoccur, which has happened exactly zero times in the history of man. That’s not the way it really works, so each team morphs into something slightly different than the team before it, and you try to maintain a foundational culture that works – a belief system, a focus point, ‘this is what we’re about.'”
Dipoto believes the Mariners have a better team on paper than the one from last year, as evidenced by the preseason expectations that Seattle would compete for a playoff spot, but he also believes the current squad’s collective personality has yet to take shape.
“I do think that this team is still trying to find its personality,” he said. “It’s June now, and it’s not something you can really rush. Last year’s team, it was such a resilient, bounceback-oriented team, and not to be demeaning to that team in any way because it’s one of the funnest teams that I’ve ever been around, but this team has more talent than that. We’re still trying to find the personality here.”
The Mariners have a number of positive things they can point to, whether it’s players who have performed well since opening day or more recent results. Ty France has been the best first baseman in the American League, rookie Julio Rodríguez has shaken off a rough start to turn into a phenom, and second-year right-hander Logan Gilbert has pitched like an All-Star, just to name a few things. But injuries to key players including Mitch Haniger, struggles from big-name newcomers Jesse Winker and Robbie Ray, and a step back by the bullpen that led the way in 2021 have played big parts in holding Seattle back to this point.
“We have good players in the primes of their career, we have young players with tremendous upside, we have veteran players who have accomplished a lot, and whatever expectations we have or the media has had for us, our players share those expectations and in many ways have driven us to perform, to get better,” Dipoto said. “Now we just have to figure out how to channel that to more consistency on the field. And to be fair, over the last week we’ve played quite well. It’s always what’s on your optic lens that you remember, and we got our butts kicked last night, but we’ve played quite well for a week. And if we keep doing that and just chip away, we’ll make our way back. That I’m confident of.”
Check SeattleSports.com throughout the day for more posts from this edition of The Jerry Dipoto Show. The Jerry Dipoto Show airs live at 8:30 a.m. every Thursday on Seattle Sports Station 710 AM, with podcasts of the full conversation made available the same day at 11 a.m.
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