Dipoto Show Takeaways: Mariners looking for RH power, WBC update
News, notes and nuggets from the 20 minute conversation:
Mariners offseason check-in
The Mariners president of baseball operations told Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk that it was a quiet week, but there were some trade discussions with other teams and talks with a few free agent outfielders. A move in the next few days, however, is not expected.
“Nothing that seems imminent or feels like we are making significant progress on,” Dipoto said.
While we learned in recent weeks Dipoto was looking for a right-handed bat, he was a bit more specific about what kind of bat he would like to acquire to pair with some of their lefties.
“The one place we might be a little short with that is with right-handed power,” he said. “More than anything else is finding someone who can move the lineup or help score in bunches. They don’t grow on trees. We are going to be patient in trying to find that player.”
As we get closer to the season, it seems there is more and more curiosity about how the new shift rules will impact the game. For the Mariners, Dipoto believes it could best help Cal Raleigh (a switch-hitter who hits best from the left side) and Jarred Kelenic. He also threw J.P. Crawford into the mix, calling him a victim of some over-shift luck in recent years.
Dipoto seemed intrigued by the new rule limiting the amount of pickoffs pitchers can throw, noting that the art of holding a runner without throwing over (think Johnny Cueto) would be a new focus in the industry.
“You can really disrupt a runner just by holding the ball, just by moving your head in subtle ways that doesn’t count as a balk,” he said. “You can create disruptions in that base runners take off simply by being patient. It’s something that takes time to learn and there is an art to teaching it, but I think we have to go back down that path because in recent years we haven’t had to worry about it.”
The World Baseball Classic
Spring training will be a little bit longer and look a little different in 2023 as players will leave their camps to join national teams for the World Baseball Classic. The tournament takes place March 8-21.
Like in 2017, the last time the tournament was held, more players will be brought into camp to cover for those who are gone. This presents opportunity for both prospects and minor league free agents. As for those who are away, they do get their work in while with their national teams and get the benefit of increased competition. It does of course come with risk, as the Mariners know all too well after losing Drew Smyly for the season following the 2017 WBC.
With Luis Castillo on the provisional Dominican Republic roster for the WBC, Mike Salk wanted to know if he would actually play. According to Dipoto, the conversation is ongoing.
“I don’t know,” Dipoto said. “You just talk with the player. We are openly discussing our our points of view. The biggest thing in discussion back and forth is what’s most important for the player. We have talked quite a bit with Luis and his representatives and I think we are in a place where we understand there is a lot of national pride that goes into the WBC and your friends that are going to be playing with those clubs, but Luis is committed to making sure that 2023 is about the Mariners and getting us to where we want to be. And I suspect it is going to result with him coming to camp with the Mariners preparing to throw his 180-200 innings for us.”
Among those who have committed to the WBC are Julio Rodríguez and Teoscar Hernández with the Dominican Republic, Sam Haggerty and Matt Festa with Italy, and Seattle’s No. 1 prospect (per MLB Pipeline) Harry Ford with Great Britain.
The full conversation, which includes Dipoto explaining how they initially approach teams when interested in making a trade, a quick injury update and the latest from Dipoto’s pizza oven, can be heard in the second half of the podcast at this link or in the player below.