Dipoto: Mariners didn’t build enough to support young core

Jul 21, 2023, 1:47 PM

Seattle Mariners...

Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners reacts against the Minnesota Twins on July 17, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The 2023 season has been a tough one for the Seattle Mariners, who have continued to play .500 ball well into July. The trade deadline is less than two weeks away, and the M’s find themselves in a tough spot in terms of whether they’ll buy, sell or a bit of both.

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The bulk of the blame for the Mariners’ problems this year has to do with the lineup, which has underpeformed basically all season long.

Whether it’s young players like Julio Rodríguez and Cal Raleigh or more established veterans like Eugenio Suárez, Teoscar Hernández and Ty France, basically every hitter has underperformed outside of J.P. Crawford.

The Mariners have talked about their “core” of talent, especially younger players like Rodríguez and Raleigh.

“Has this year changed your view at all of some of the sort of core pieces that you would had been counting on as opposed to peripheral pieces?” Mike Salk asked Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto during their weekly conversation on Seattle Sports.

Replied Dipoto: “No, not at all. And when you say core pieces, I look at the team on the field … we have good players. And in some cases, we have good players who are not playing up to their capabilities or potential. And in other cases, we have players who are still evolving.”

Dipoto called the Mariners’ younger guys “evolving major league players.”

“And to think that there wouldn’t be bumps in the road for these guys would have been foolish,” Dipoto said.

That led Dipoto to talking about his role in the roster’s construction.

“Some of the struggle that we have had is simply on me. I didn’t do a good enough job of building a group around that core to support the bumps and the bruises,” Dipoto said. “And that’s played out. We are four clean months into the season and that’s been a real hole for us throughout the season. And we have to figure out how to get better there.”

And rather than subtracting from that “core” of young players, Dipoto said the Mariners “need to extend what that core looks like.”

“I do think that we’ve seen some ups and downs from that young group, but that’s almost to be expected,” he said. “We need stability from our veterans and that’s where we’ve just fallen a little short this year is the combination of evolving young players who at times have wobbled and veterans who have generally not been quite what they’ve always been.”

Listen to this week’s Jerry Dipoto Show at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

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Dipoto: Mariners didn’t build enough to support young core