Mariners Hot Stove Show: Jerry Dipoto addresses interest in Seager, Haniger
If you missed the first Mariners Hot Stove Show of the offseason Friday night on 710 ESPN Seattle, you missed two hours of baseball talk with hosts Rick Rizzs, Mike Blowers, Gary Hill and yours truly. But never fear, we have a podcast.
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto joined us for the first hour, and the news that he was getting calls on Mitch Haniger and Kyle Seager was addressed up front.
“I think that’s representative of the fact they are good players,” Dipoto said, adding that he had received many calls about his catchers and Marco Gonzales too. “I also think it is representative of the fact that it is clear to the league around us that we are building for the long term. If we can collect enough good young players and pool them up, we feel that this will turn this around, but we really do want to maintain a core group of veteran players, and it’s a small core that can help usher this young group through.”
There is of course the chance that small core of veterans could get smaller.
“We do value those players but we are always going to answer the phone,” Dipoto said, “and then we have to weigh in our calculus the value of what these players can do for us now or what they can do for us in the future by providing, I guess, young players that a year, two years, three from now can really crest. It’s a sensitive balance that we are trying to achieve.”
Dipoto addressed a number of moves already made this offseason, and of particular interest was the Evan White extension. Dipoto said he would like to sign more of the young core players and explained the club’s philosophy in committing to these players early.
“In any extension you do there is inherit risk, for both the player and the club,” he said. “We are going to the next extreme to lock up our players at a very early stage in their career because we believe in the humans. We want to build stability in Seattle, especially after a four-year stretch where we have had so many transactions, so much movement around a stable core of older players. We want to shift the paradigm and make it about these young players which we hope appeals to our fans. We know it will create a camaraderie in the clubhouse. The players we hope to do this with are very talented and we believe a long part of our future.”
Part of the commitment to the young players is getting them to the big leagues in 2020 and getting them experience.
“They have time to go through success and failure,” he said. “It takes time to get over the bridge and become a good big leaguer for most guys. We want to see young guys get better – get better at the small things, get better at the nuances of the game. We would like to see guys get comfortable at this level. We want to see players figure out how to make adjustments.”
Dipoto was candid about what this most likely will mean for the season in terms of record.
“We are not anticipating being a 90-100 win team,” he said. “Last year was unfortunate. We thought we would be better than we were but 2020 was always going to be about where we are at today. Young teams can be very unpredictable. This is a young, talented and energetic team. We don’t think that we are going to be able to compete day-to-day with Houston and Oakland, and certainly with what the Angels have done with their offense, but we do believe we are starting to make up ground on what we envision as a long-term success. You give good young players a chance and some runway to run with and you will be surprised how quickly they catch on. We really do believe that if we allow them that experience this year that we are going to be paid back in spades 2021 and beyond.”
We also heard from new pitching coach Pete Woodworth, who joined the show from “Pitchingpalooza” (it’s real) in Nashville, and top pitching prospect Logan Gilbert. The show ended with a fantastic tribute to Ron Fairly, featuring calls and interviews put together by Gary.
The Hot Stove Show will return after the start of the new year.
More Mariners coverage
• Mariners Talk: Logan Gilbert interview and the news from Winter Meetings
• Mariners add RHP Yohan Ramirez from Astros in MLB Rule 5 Draft
• Dipoto: Trade of Narváez creates ‘extra pop’ in 2020 draft