Jerry Dipoto: Mariners will aim to get younger in 2017

Oct 10, 2016, 7:00 AM
Ben Gamel is one of several younger players that could take on a bigger role in 2017 for the Marine...
Ben Gamel is one of several younger players that could take on a bigger role in 2017 for the Mariners. (AP)

Jerry Dipoto’s first offseason as the Mariners’ general manager was a whirlwind affair, with transactions announced on a seemingly daily basis.

If you ask the man himself, it won’t quite be the same case this time around.

“I don’t think we’ll see as much change this year as we saw last year, but there’s still a lot we need to do,” Dipoto told “Danny, Dave and Moore” last week.

On the top of that list of things to do: get younger.

Dipoto pointed out that the Mariners had the oldest group of position players in the MLB in 2016 and said that is something that “needs to be solved.” So while the core of Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager will stay intact, all signs point to a youth movement occurring around them in 2017. That could be addressed through trades and free agency, but Dipoto was quick to mention some of the younger players that appeared late in the season with the Mariners who could take on bigger roles come next spring.

“We did develop some nice young players that I feel are ready to contribute in a more meaningful way next year in Ben Gamel, potentially Dan Vogelbach, Guillermo Heredia,” Dipoto said.

Gamel and Heredia could fill in around center fielder Leonys Martin, giving Seattle an especially athletic defensive outfield, while Vogelbach seems primed to the left-handed half of a platoon at first base.

The Mariners also had shortstop Ketel Marte and catcher Mike Zunino in regular roles in 2016, and the team certainly hopes to see them become bigger contributors next year.

“Would like to see some steps forward by some of our other young players. A guy like Ketel Marte comes to mind. I thought that we saw good developments from Mike Zunino. He put himself in position to be a part of that core moving forward,” Dipoto said.

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