Dipoto: Mariners Likely Done Adding To Roster Before Camp


Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto appeared on the latest Locked On Mariners podcast with Ty Dane Gonzalez and Colby Patnode and offered a fairly thorough review of the club’s offseason strategy and overall roster makeup leading into the 2023 campaign. First off, they’re likely done spending for the time being …

“We might wind up coming up with a late trade like we did a year ago with Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker by way of Cincinnati,” said Dipoto. “We could pick up a couple of extra NRIs, the non-roster invites … we’re constantly trying to add to the depth of what we go to Spring Training with. But if I had to bet on anything major happening before we step foot on the field, I’d bet against it at this point. And we’re comfortable with that. We feel like we have improved this team.”

Winker is gone after one highly disappointing season in Seattle, having been dealt to the Brewers in December as part of a package for rangy second baseman Kolten Wong. Among the other newcomers: Teoscar Hernandez, acquired via trade from the Blue Jays in November. AJ Pollock, brought in on a seven-year, $7MM free agent contract earlier this month. And also Tommy La Stella, signed to a one-year major league pact 10 days ago.

Dipoto views this as more of a deep and dynamic group than what the Mariners put out there in 2022, when they snapped the longest postseason drought in North American professional sports before getting swept by the eventual World Series-champion Astros in the ALDS. Most of the additions have been on the position-player side, which makes sense given that Seattle finished 14th last year in combined team OPS at .704 and 8th in combined team ERA with a mark of 3.59.

Hernández will be the new starter in right field, with near-unanimous 2022 AL Rookie of the Year Award winner Julio Rodríguez locked into center for possibly the next decade-plus. Dipoto expressed hope that Jarred Kelenic can take a step forward and grab the reins in left. Taylor Trammell figures to factor into the outfield mix as well, and so can the versatile Dylan Moore if he makes a full recovery from offseason surgery to address a core injury. Moore will be a little behind his teammates when Spring Training officially gets underway next month, which maybe gives young speedster Cade Marlowe a chance to shine.

The infield looks set with Ty France at first base, Wong sliding into second, Suarez handling third, and J.P. Crawford returning at short. La Stella will back up a couple of those spots along with Moore and Sam Haggerty. Cal Raleigh should get the majority of the action at catcher, with a healthier Tom Murphy sitting behind him in reserve. “All baseball activity is in play now,” Dipoto said of Murphy, who appeared in only 14 games in 2022 because of a left shoulder injury that required season-ending surgery in June. “His workouts have gone extremely well … We missed Murph.”

The bullpen largely has the same dominant names and faces — Paul Sewald, Andres Munoz, Diego Castillo, Matt Brash, Penn Murfee — that helped produce a combined 3.33 reliever ERA (6th in MLB) and 583 strikeouts in 544 innings last season. Justin Topa, recently picked up from Milwaukee, drew praise from Dipoto as an under-the-radar breakout candidate in that department.

The biggest camp battle, as things stand right now, is going to be for the final spot in the starting rotation. Chris Flexen and Marco Gonzales are the frontrunners, but Dipoto sees Emerson Hancock, Bryce Miller, Taylor Dollard and Bryan Woo knocking on the door as the season plays out. Luis Castillo, Logan Gilbert, Robbie Ray and George Kirby can be penciled into the top four spots, pending any sudden injuries.

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