BROCK AND SALK

Dipoto details why Mariners ‘love’ players from D-backs trade

Aug 3, 2023, 1:00 PM

Seattle Mariners Dominic Canzone...

Dominic Canzone of the Seattle Mariners throws the ball on Aug. 2, 2023. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

The 2023 MLB trade deadline is officially in the rearview mirror, and the Seattle Mariners made one notable move before otherwise standing pat.

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That move was trading star reliever Paul Sewald to the Arizona Diamondbacks for three hitters: young outfielder Dominic Canzone, utility man Josh Rojas and infield prospect Ryan Bliss.

During his weekly visit with Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Thursday, Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto broke down the trade and the team’s deadline as a whole.

“I thought we were able to accomplish what we set out to accomplish,” Dipoto said. “We would have liked to have done a little bit more if it were possible, but we knew going in that it was a particularly robust seller’s market, and it turned out to be a little bit on the quiet side around the league.”

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Dipoto hinted that the Mariners would have liked to add another bat, but that wasn’t in the cards.

“With a few exceptions, there weren’t a ton of offensive players made available, and we suspected that might be the case,” he said.

What was clear, though, was that Sewald was a likely candidate to be traded, especially if it brought back MLB bats, as the trade with Arizona did.

“We went into the deadline with the idea that we were going to see if we can maximize the (return) in any kind of Paul Sewald deal,” Dipoto said, “and we knew the holes that we wanted to fill moving forward. Whether that be smaller deals or targeted deals with other teams to find short-term help – we wanted a second baseman (that was) preferably a left-handed hitter, and we wanted to add in the outfield – and we were able to find a marriage with Arizona.”

Overall, Dipoto said the Mariners received inquiries from 15 teams for Sewald’s services, but they had three – including the Diamondbacks – that were considered finalists.

“We felt like dealing from a strength – which has been our bullpen for multiple years – and maximizing a return with controllable players we could move forward with was an important step for us as an organization,” Dipoto said. “And we found a trio of players that we thought fit our roster very well. We didn’t trade for faraway prospects. We traded for guys that step on the field and we feel make us better today and into ’24 and beyond.”

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Dipoto added that the Mariners “love the package” they got in return for Sewald.

“We thought it was the most impactful that we bring in with Dom Canzone and Josh Rojas and Ryan Bliss,” he said. “It gives us an outfielder to grow with – (Canzone) is 25 years old, big tools and we think he can really hit. Josh Rojas is a year removed from a very good season in Arizona – two solid seasons … This year, he’s battled through an injury and hasn’t played to his level. But we think this is a great bounceback candidate with defensive skills who can really run the bases and gives us a patient on-base presence in our lineup. And Ryan Bliss is a fun player for tomorrow. He’s a 23 year-old infielder who has destroyed the upper-levels of the minors this year, can hit, can get on base, has a little power, and he can really run. He gives us another element, and I don’t know if that happens in September or sometime in 2024, but not too far away.”

Let’s dive into the two younger players in particular.

Breaking down Canzone and Bliss

Canzone, 25, made his MLB debut last month with Arizona and has already started two games for the Mariners.

“He’s got a little bit of a whippy swing. He’s got a slender, athletic build. He can run a little bit, he can throw a lot, he’s a good defensive outfielder who also plays first base, and he has hit wherever he’s gone,” Dipoto said. “He barrels the ball, he uses the gaps, he’s got over-the-fence power, and he’s pretty accurate with his swing. He’s a very aggressive hitter, but he barrels it a lot.”

Dipoto also thinks Canzone’s offensive profile fits T-Mobile Park very well.

“He’s got that pull-side whip and (hits) low line drives. He’s also, as you’ve seen in his first couple of days here as a Mariner, got some lift to the opposite field to the gap, and it’s sneaky strong when it comes off the bat,” Dipoto said. “We’re really excited about what his upside potential is. We thought (he was) one of the more interesting targets during the trade deadline in general, and a great fit for us.”

As for Bliss, he’s yet to make his MLB debut, but he reached Triple-A this year after a red hot start in Double-A that saw him make the Futures Game at T-Mobile Park.

Bliss made a “bit of a swing change” of late, Dipoto said, which has paid off with his numbers in 2023.

“He’s not a big, physical guy – Ryan’s 5-6, 5-7 – but he’s athletic and strong, he has sneaky power for a guy his size. He has always been able to hit and move the ball around the field,” Dipoto said. “He changed his swing a little and added some lift, added some exit velo and he’s hitting the ball as hard or harder than he’s ever hit it. And he’s also a runner. He’s a multi-position defender who can play shortstop or second base. We think he’s going to wind up at second base, and on the 20-80 (scouting) scale, we think he’s about a 60-65 runner. So it’s a different type of player than we’ve had at second base in recent years as (he’s a) speed, defense, move it around, hit tool-type of player that we’re really excited to add.”

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

More on the Seattle Mariners

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Passan: How good is Seattle Mariners’ trade return for Sewald?
Drayer: Why Mariners hung on to veteran bats, didn’t trade more
Salk: Mariners being in between made for frustrating deadline
How does Seattle Mariners’ trade deadline compare to rest of AL West?

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