Jerry Dipoto: Improvement in 2016 by Mariners allowed opportunity to fine-tune roster

Feb 28, 2017, 12:19 PM
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Jerry Dipoto was able to focus on defense and base running with his offseason moves. (AP)
LISTEN: Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto talks emphasis on athleticism, improvements

Before his first season as Mariners general manager, Jerry Dipoto focused on finding valuable players that were being overlooked by the rest of the league to make Seattle’s team as competitive as possible. A year later, after the M’s fell just three games short of a playoff spot in 2016, Dipoto’s previous work allowed him to concentrate more on fine-tuning the roster.

“I think when the rest of the league was zigging, we zagged to try to find the way that we could become as competitive as we could in a short period of time,” Dipoto told 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” at Mariners spring training in Arizona on Tuesday. “To that extent, I think it worked and we had a pretty enjoyable season. Now we gotta find a way to push the envelope in the next direction.”

That next direction has been well-covered over the offseason and into spring training. With the Mariners’ offense and pitching largely being strengths in 2016, Dipoto set out to improve Seattle’s fielding and base running ability, acquiring players like speedy outfielder Jarrod Dyson, up-and-coming outfielder Mitch Haniger, and one-time All-Star shortstop Jean Segura.

Dipoto said those additions, among others, gives the Mariners a new element to win games that they didn’t have last season.

“Our offense was as good or better than we could possibly have hoped for it to be (in 2016). Our pitching remained stable and we finished among the better teams in the league in terms of run prevention. And the two things that didn’t improve for us were the team defense and the base running,” Dipoto said. “To my understanding (from) watching baseball players play for the last 30 years of my professional life, that’s how you do it is you add a degree of athleticism. Enter Segura and Haniger and Jarrod Dyson with Leonys Martin, some of the element that we had, and I think it just changes the way we can play.”

We will have more to come from Dipoto’s interview later on You can hear his entire visit with “Brock and Salk” at this link, on the 710 ESPN Seattle app, or on iTunes.

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