Mariners’ Dipoto: What a successful 2023 looks like for Kelenic; trade market update

Jan 27, 2023, 1:51 PM | Updated: Jan 29, 2023, 11:12 am
Mariners Jarred Kelenic...
Jarred Kelenic connects on a two-run home run against the Yankees on Wednesday. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

It was a special edition of The Jerry Dipoto Show on Seattle Sports as Mike Salk was out and filling in was Mariners announcer Aaron Goldsmith, who guest-hosted Thursday’s Brock and Salk with Brock Huard.

Dipoto: How Mariners plan to handle rest for J.P., pitchers’ workloads

As always, Dipoto had plenty to say about his team and what’s happening in the league as a whole.

Something that Goldsmith wanted to know was what a successful 2023 season looks like for young outfielder and former top prospect Jarred Kelenic.

Kelenic, 23, is entering his third MLB season and he’s had a lot of struggles at the big league level to date, resulting in multiple demotions Triple-A. All in all, Kelenic has slashed .168/.251/.338 with 21 home runs in 147 career games.

“I think end-to-end traction where it’s not a two- or three-day stretch, or it’s not an exciting homestand, and it’s not underlying information that you’re hopeful will turn into results, but actually taking the skills that he has and the big tools that he possesses and turning it into day in, day out contribution,” Dipoto said. “What that means in the slash line, I can’t tell you. I do know Jarred will play good defense, he will run the bases well and you’re going to see the power play.”

Dipoto and the Mariners are just looking for more consistency from their young outfielder.

“It’s the consistency in the day-to-day at-bats and not riding the waves,” he said. “Everybody goes high and low, you’re gonna slump in a season. But if Jarred can keep his head above water, especially at the start and let those let those skills play, I think you will see what he’s capable of.”

Dipoto also stressed that while Kelenic made his MLB debut two years ago, he’s still one of the youngest players in baseball.

“(Mariners general manager) Justin Hollander said to me about a week or 10 days ago, what we still have to remember with Jarred is Jarred is younger than either of the two quarterbacks that played in the (college football) National Championship game this year,” he said. “So he’s still a very young player by age, and he has some experience at the big league level, and we really do think that there’s so much more in his tank.”

Trade market

The Mariners made two notable trades this offseason for outfielder Teoscar Hernández and second baseman Kolten Wong, but the trade market overall has been a bit slow this year.

Could the pending World Baseball Classic be a reason why?

“I don’t think so. I would be shocked if we didn’t see multiple trades between now and spring training around the league, just based on the rhetoric we are hearing and the conversations that we’re having,” Dipoto said. “Whether we are among them remains to be seen. But the WBC, it brings us to spring training earlier and clearly takes a lot of impact players away for a period of time. But I think clubs are still going to go about their business and build their roster the way they think they should.”

Dipoto also noted that this offseason’s free agency cycle went a lot faster than it typically does, which may have impacted the trade market.

“The top 50 free agents were off the board in a blink compared to most standard years, and I’m not sure there was enough time through November or December or even right up through and coming out of the holidays for the trade market to really, I guess, blow up,” he said. “And I do think you’ll see a handful of trades between here and spring training. And you’re watching it now with the Royals and the Twins and the Red Sox. There are moves happening. It’s just a matter of whether we are a part of it.”

You can listen to a podcast of the full show at this link or in the player below.

Aaron Goldsmith shares the story of his decision to stay with Mariners

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