Rick Rizzs: Mariners bringing in Jerry Dipoto before the end of last season was a ‘smart move’
Mariners pitchers and catchers reported to the team’s spring training complex Friday, marking the first on-field step towards the 2016 season. When it comes to off-field moves, however, the team has already taken more steps than one could count.
That all started in the final month of the 2015 season, when the Mariners parted ways with general manager Jack Zduriencik and subsequently replaced him with Jerry Dipoto. Hiring Dipoto before the end of last season is something that already paid dividends in the offseason, Mariners radio play-by-play announcer Rick Rizzs told 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” on Friday.
“I thought it was a great move to bring in Jerry toward the end of the regular season so he could get going right away,” Rizzs said. “I thought that was a real smart move by (team president) Kevin Mather and the front office. If you’re gonna make the move, do it right then and there, because then (Dipoto) has a chance to … take a look at the organization at the big league level and survey it down to the minor leagues and see what you got.”
Not only did Dipoto survey the organization, he put together a strategy for the offseason that he wasted no time implementing.
“Because he was afforded that time, he had the ability to formulate a game plan, which he executed beautifully, quoting exactly what he wanted to do – he wanted to get younger, more athletic, guys with a decent batting average and a good on-base percentage, more walks, fewer strikeouts,” said Rizzs. “So all of the sudden now you see (Nori) Aoki in left, (Leonys) Martin in center – who’s a very good defensive center fielder, he can hit a little bit, has speed. And you have Adam Lind, who can hit like crazy from the left side against right-handed pitching over at first base. Lot of changes behind the plate, and some new faces in the rotation and in the bullpen.”