Mariners Cactus League Report: Hear from Jerry Dipoto on latest trade, plus James Paxton and more
If you missed the first Cactus League Report from Peoria this year, you missed hearing Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto talk about his newest acquisition just seconds after the deal was finalized. As always however, fear not, because we have a podcast.
If you are not on Twitter (and you should be, follow me @shannondrayer), you missed this.
Cactus League Report starts now. Jerry Dipoto who just finished up a deal walking into the Salty Senorita, no joke, I saw it, joins us.
— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) March 2, 2017
In trade No. 40, Dipoto sent infielder Drew Jackson and right-handed pitcher Aneurys Zabala to the Dodgers for right-handed pitcher Chase De Jong, who will most likely start at Triple A this year. To make room for De Jong on the 40-man roster, utility man Mike Freeman was designated for assignment.
Dipoto said that De Jong, the Texas League Pitcher of the Year, had been a target since July.
“He is a four-pitch guy, a premium strike-thrower, kind of like the model we have been prone to acquire. Fly ball, strikeouts guy who throws a ton of strikes, commands four pitches,” he said. “We feel he has an above-average curveball, very similar to Andrew Moore. The one big difference is physical size. He’s 6-4, 210.”
The deal was the fifth trade Dipoto has made with the Dodgers since coming to the Mariners, and he explained why he has made more trades with them than any other team. He also talked about what he has seen so far in spring training, how many more runs he believes can be saved with improved speed in the outfield, and what he has learned so far watching his team in spring training.
Left-handed starter James Paxton was up next, and he touched on a number of topics including what it was like to strike Mike Trout out four times in one game, the adjustments he made to his pitching and demeanor on the mound last year, and what he sees when he watches all five Mariners starters throw their bullpens in spring training.
Third base coach Manny Acta was our third guest, and he talked about how he is seeing much more activity as the third base coach with the new speedy additions to the team. Healso gave us a glimpse of his interesting offseason work and lessons learned by the whole team in 2016.
In the second hour, utility man Shawn O’Malley joined us and gave us a good look inside the morning meetings and off-campus activities that have been going on. Needless to say, there has been a lot of bonding with this team. Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times was our final guest and he gave his thoughts on the importance of a Felix Hernandez bounce-back in 2017 and some observations on the rookies in camp.
One programming note, the Cactus League Report next Wednesday can be heard on 710 ESPN Seattle but will be broadcast from the ballpark in Peoria as the Mariners have a night game.