BROCK AND SALK

‘Struggling madly’: What Dipoto said about underperforming Mariners

Jun 8, 2023, 11:39 AM | Updated: 11:41 am

Mariners Jerry Dipoto...

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto looks on before a 2021 game against the Angels. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners are well off from where they hoped to be over two months into the 2023 MLB season, and the last week specifically has been their roughest patch yet.

Following a 10-3 loss to the Padres in San Diego on Wednesday, the M’s have lost six of their last eight games, and they’ve allowed at least 10 runs in five of those losses, each of which came with a final deficit of six runs or more. And with the red-hot Texas Rangers owning a 40-21 record, the 30-31 M’s are 10 games out in the American League West in a year where the expectation was for them to contend for the division title.

“Struggling madly” is how Seattle Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto described his team on Thursday morning when he joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk for his weekly show. Dipoto was the Mariners’ general manager for seven years before being promoted to his current title late last season, so he’s been the primary architect of Seattle’s roster, and he fielded questions from hosts Mike Salk and Brock Huard that reflected that.

Here’s a look at exactly what Dipoto said Thursday in answering a few of the more big picture questions.

Who is accountable for the Mariners’ struggles?

I’m accountable for putting the players on the field that are underperforming. The players are accountable to upholding their approach, and that’s all we ever ask of them is to uphold the approach. But we don’t and can’t focus on the week to week. We have had a crummy week, and there’s no getting around that. Emotion in sports generally flies to the point where if we have a 2-6 week like we’ve just had in eight games where we’ve underperformed to the extreme that we have, people get upset and that’s the way it works. And the previous week when we were 7-3, there wasn’t as much emotion. Right now, we are in the middle of the emotion, and when people experience negative emotion, they’re looking for somebody to blame. I don’t really know anybody to blame but me. This is what we put together, and we’re a .500 team. I don’t think we intended to be a .500 team by the time we got to this point in this season, and I don’t think this makes us a bad team. I think it makes us a very talented team who has struggled a lot, especially in the batter’s box, and we have to find our way out of it because we do have the talent.

Should the continuity with manager Scott Servais help?

Yeah. This is the same manager who has finished in the top three in (American League) Manager of the Year for the last two years, with roughly the same group of players that he has today. I don’t think Scott got worse as a manager. Frankly, I don’t think this is permanent. I think we have an incredibly talented group of players – still sub-28 years old on average age up and down our roster, which is by the standards of our league a young team – and I don’t think we’ve seen the end of the Mariners being a good, competitive, contending club. I think Scott has shown over time, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll get where we need to go.’ Sustainability, trust in one another, communication, it all matters and I do trust him. I believe that this group will solve it. You can’t just trade in a plan. You can’t trade in a team … I’m betting that if we called 29 other clubs and asked, ‘Would you like to trade rosters, what it looks like today, for the next five or six or eight years?’ (that) we’d have a lot of takers. So I guess what I would preach downstairs is, guys, solve it, continue to focus on doing the things that we do, and we’ll continue to be consistent in what we do. And that’s all we can do, is message it consistently and wait for it to turn because the players are too talented for it not to.

Can Seattle Mariners’ problems be solved with trades?

It’s impossible to assess where we will be (at the Aug. 1 MLB trade deadline). And this is just being honest, we could go out and acquire prime Babe Ruth and it’s not going to help us. We’re not one player away or one magic spell from fixing this. This is a commitment from 26 players on a roster to reverse our course, and between now and the end of July, if we show progress in that way, then we’ll go out and solve what problem or problems we can solve. But we’re not going to flip out our roster for six or eight new players. Again, I feel we are young, we are sustainable, and we are struggling. The worst time to make decisions is when you’re at your worst. So I think the appropriate measure is take a deep breath, watch what’s happening around the league for these next 30-40 days and put yourself in a position to make a difference when it comes that time. But to think, ‘Oh my gosh, we need to trade all these guys and start over,’ that’s absurd. We built this, it’s a good team, we’re coming off back-to-back 90-win seasons, we’re .500, we don’t have 15 wins (on the season) today. We just had a really crummy week.

The Jerry Dipoto Show airs live at 8:30 a.m. each Thursday during Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk. Listen to this week’s edition in the podcast below.

Seattle Sports’ Brandon Gustafson contributed to this post.

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