SHANNON DRAYER

Mariners GM Dipoto: Trade of Narváez creates ‘extra pop’ in 2020 draft

Dec 9, 2019, 11:39 PM
Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto...
The draft pick the Mariners acquired last week comes with additional bonus pool money. (AP)
(AP)

A quick note of interest on the Mariners front from Day 1 of the Winter Meetings – and full disclosure, I am not at the meetings this year but will pass on anything newsy that might break in that time and fill in blanks where I can.

Mariners trade Omar Narváez to Brewers for prospect and draft pick

As is customary, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto held his end of the day meeting with the small contingent of Mariners beat writers who made the trip to San Diego. In addition to reiterating what he told the group last week via conference call, he did make his first public comments about the trade of Omar Narváez. As suspected, it appears the draw of the deal with Milwaukee was less about right-handed starter Adam Hill, who to date Dipoto has said little to nothing about, but more so the 70th pick in the 2020 MLB Draft – and what comes with that pick.

“It is not just with whatever the 70th pick in the draft turns into,” said Dipoto, “but what that pick provides us with in terms of in draft financial flexibility is incredible. This year when you are picking sixth you have chance to use the leverage of that slot money to potentially work for your good.”

In other words, this was less about whoever is chosen with the compensation pick and much more about No. 6 pick Seattle owns in the first round. With the extra pick comes extra bonus pool dollars that can be spent to go above the slot for their first overall pick.

“Maybe there is a player who we view as further up the food chain that we can now get to because of the extra pop we have in the draft,” said Dipoto. “We viewed that as really important.”

Dipoto acknowledged that with the move the Mariners could be sacrificing offense for 2020, but he pointed out that the year was dedicated to getting the young core players experience at the big league level. That was priority No. 1. As for the position itself – catcher – it is an area he believes they have good coverage. He will however look to bring in a veteran catcher who ideally could be stashed at Triple-A.

One final catching note: Cal Raleigh, the heir apparent behind the plate, will start 2020 at Double-A Arkansas. Where he ends the season is up to him, according to Dipoto.

“If 2020 is his chance to play in the big leagues whether that is mid-season or late-season, we are going to let that happen because we think the development of our young core of players is the single most important thing we are doing.”

More from Shannon: Finds at catcher key to grasping M’s trade of Narváez

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