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Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto
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Mariners’ Dipoto: Reports and discussions on MLB’s return are encouraging

Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto is encouraged my recent discussions on MLB's return. (AP)

With news courtesy of ESPN’s Jeff Passan breaking Wednesday night of a potential return-to-play plan being ready in the next week to be presented to the Players Association, what better time to catch up with Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto than Thursday morning on his weekly visit with Danny and Gallant on 710 ESPN Seattle.

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While admitting that he is reading a lot of the same reports the fan base is right now, Dipoto said he is beginning to feel the momentum building.

“A lot of discussions are happening at high levels right now,” he said. “I don’t think anything is naturally immanent, but where there’s smoke there’s fire and there are a lot of these discussions that are happening and it’s encouraging for us, for our players, that we have the potential for getting back on the field at some point in the not too distant future.”

“I know we would all love to do it and in some cases, physically, psychologically, emotionally, it’s good for everybody, for players and fans,” he added.

While absolutely nothing is certain about the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic which will ultimately determine whether baseball can be played in 2020, there are plenty of other hurdles that must be overcome before players leave their homes to begin preparing for a shortened season. A plan that is ready to present to the MLBPA is the first step in at least approaching those hurdles.

In the coming weeks, questions will need to be answered. When and where will this take place? What is the plan to keep players safe? What happens if someone tests positive? What happens if a player does not feel safe returning?

If these questions are answered to the satisfaction of the players, then compensation will need to be negotiated. All of this will take time and at any minute the overall situation, which is completely out of the hands of baseball, could take over and wipe out all plans. This no doubt is known, but baseball will push forward until it can’t and to that end, teams will be ready.

“We’ve laid out pretty elaborate plans on parallel paths on any of those plans so we are ready,” said Dipoto. “Whether it’s Spring Training in Arizona, Spring Training reboot in Seattle or anything else might pop up. Whether playing home games here in our ballpark or in spring training parks, we’ve kind of covered all that and now we are just waiting to see which one of these plans we need to draw and see how it rolls.”

The increased optimism from a week ago that a season would be played has turned into momentum with plans being finalized and the table set for discussion and negotiations. The path to playing is being further explored, where it ends remains to be seen.

Listen to the full interview with Dipoto at this link or in the player below.

Follow Mariners insider Shannon Drayer on Twitter.

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Danny and Gallant Show