Dipoto not shocked by Mariners’ start: ‘There’s a lot of talent on this team’
When Jerry Dipoto talked during the offseason about how the Mariners were re-imagining their roster and planned to take a step back in 2019, he didn’t mean to lead people into thinking the M’s were abandoning the idea of trying to win this year.
The Mariners’ franchise-best 7-1 start to the season has done a better job hammering that point home.
“We kept trying to tell everybody, we don’t think we’re going to be a bad team,” the Mariners general manager said on The Jerry Dipoto Show, which airs at 3:30 p.m. every Thursday on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny, Dave and Moore during the baseball season. “We’re not intentionally trying to lose here. And I don’t know if anybody believed us. … While I’m not sure we’re going to win 161 games, we certainly got off to a great start and reminded people there’s a lot of talent on this team.”
A bigger sample size of continued success will help to convince the majority of Mariners fans of that idea, but those who have been watching the M’s closely can’t help but be intrigued by a team that has scored five runs or more in all but one of its games entering Friday. And even though the impressive offense Seattle has put forward so far wasn’t exactly expected, it hasn’t caught Dipoto off-guard.
“You always have to be surprised with a 7-1 start. It’s the best start in club history, so (calling myself) anything less than surprised would be lying, but I can’t say I’m shocked,” he said. “We do have a fair bit of talent on this team. It’s been a blast to see them all performing so well together.”
A big reason why the offense is clicking is because it more closely resembles the Mariners’ ‘Control the Zone’ philosophy that puts an emphasis on strong at-bats than the 2018 team did. Seattle’s hitters have been seeing more pitches, working into better counts and getting to opposing bullpens earlier. And while last year’s Mariners that won 89 games also had a strong start to the season (albeit not as good as 7-1) and had some impressive offensive displays at times, the 2019 version should have a higher floor and ceiling, Dipoto said.
“Last year’s group was a fun and exciting offense that ran through hot and cold spells because of a flawed approach. This year’s group has been more sound in their approach. I hope we’re as exciting when we are at our height. We’re proving that that is the case here in these first eight games, and hopefully we can sustain some form of this because it really is an exciting thing when you can get on base, you can run and you’ve got power. We felt from the very get-go that we had all those three traits.
“I don’t know that we’re gonna score eight runs a game for the entirety of the season, but we do have the ability when we’re playing at our best.”
Dipoto covered a lot more, including his thoughts on what Ryon Healy and Daniel Vogelbach are doing at the plate, during the nearly 20-minute interview. You can listen to the full Jerry Dipoto Show in the player embedded in this post or download a podcast version at this link.