BROCK AND SALK
Mariners’ Dipoto: ‘I like our team the way it is right now,’ no trades expected
Mar 23, 2023, 11:23 AM | Updated: 12:07 pm
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
We’re a week away from Mariners opening day, and the team’s roster is nearly set in stone, team president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto said during his weekly Thursday show with Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.
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When asked what he’s looking for over the next week, Dipoto answered “that we stay in the position we’re in.”
“From a health perspective, we’ve had a good spring,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate again in the fact that for the most part, we’re healthy as we’re just a week away from opening day, and I’d like to stay that way. We’ve had no real major issues – a couple of dings and bruises that aren’t convenient, but it certainly puts us ahead of most teams.”
Barring injury, the team essentially knows what its active roster for opening day on Thursday, March 30 against Cleveland will be.
“We’ve got a really good idea of how that’s gonna happen, but you leave the door at least cracked for some late-minute heroics,” Dipoto said. “I would say that the roster is 99.9% certain for us right now, and it’s just all about health. If we get to the end of this with the same group of players that are currently playing healthy, I’m really excited about what happens for us starting on opening day.”
With spring training winding down, Dipoto said the Mariners are receiving “check-in phone calls” from teams around MLB that are interested in Seattle’s pitching.
“Not surprisingly, teams want to check in with us on pitching depth because that is something we have a little bit more of,” he said. “They’ve made their check-ins, and our position remains the same. We’re not truly interested in depleting our own resources unless it makes sense for us. If the opportunity that arises, whatever it is, makes sense for us, we’ll check into it closer. I don’t know that will do anything.”
Dipoto stressed how much he likes the current setup of the Mariners.
“I like our team the way it is right now,” Dipoto said. “This team likes to play together, we’ve got a lot of talent. I feel like we have a legitimate major league contributor at every position.”
Additionally, the two biggest question marks entering spring training appear to have been answered, Dipoto said.
The first is left field, where Jarred Kelenic has had a monster spring training and veteran AJ Pollock is in the mix as well as a right-handed bat.
The other: how the team will use the designated hitter spot.
“We’ve got Teoscar (Hernández) and we knew we were going to start to file guys through (at DH) and have days for Teo, have days for Ty France, have a day for Cal (Raleigh) or (Tom Murphy),” Dipoto said. “And the one thing that has really given us more confidence in where we are is how well Cooper Hummel has performed. We think the combination of players we have is interesting enough to make a go of.”
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Hummel, a catcher/outfielder the Mariners acquired when they traded Kyle Lewis to Arizona early in the offseason, has been one of the best spring training performers in baseball at the plate. Hummel was seen as a roster bubble guy before camp began, but Dipoto said his performance “is making it a heck of a lot easier to make that decision.”
“Cooper came in with one foot on the 26-man roster as opposed to just having to make it. We really value what he does in the batter’s box, and I think that’s been reinforced this spring,” Dipoto said. “If I were to sit here and walk through all of the Mariners things we believe in offensively, he does all those things, and along the way, we realized his tools are louder than we thought they were.”
Hummel can throw, run and is athletic, which doesn’t sound like a typical catcher profile.
“He gets on base, he manages the strike zone, he’s got speed, he has real power, he’s a switch-hitter, and he’s got enough positional versatility that gives him utility around the field,” Dipoto said. “There’s a reason why we targeted him in the trade with Arizona, and I’m pretty fired up to see what he does with a little bit of runway and in a new organization.”
Listen to this week’s Jerry Dipoto Show at this link or in the player below.
Mariners Notebook: Updates on Kelenic, Murphy; lineup to be ‘fluid’