Seattle Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto is at it again, constantly trying to find ways to improve the roster. One can admire his persistence and inventiveness in that regard. But at what point does he cross the line from improving something that matters to putting lipstick on a pig?
Since joining the Mariners, GM Jerry has done some remarkable things, building what most pundits felt was a serious contender. Injuries after injuries galore have put a damper on that, and no one can put the blame for those on him. As a fan, I agreed with the pundits. The incredibly fast and defensive outfield is exactly the style of team needed to succeed in Safeco Field (a point I had made to many friends in conversations the past decade). I had concerns about pitching depth, but I am always a bit worried about that.
So as I write this, we’re 6 days into August and the Mariners stand 2 games above .500 and a remarkable 0.5 games back in the wild card race. The Houston Astros won the AL West division race in May, but mathematically the Mariners have a shot at 1 of the 2 wild card slots. The trouble is, the Yankees most likely have one spot locked and are buoyed by the arrival of fresh talent from their farm system along with some big moves at the deadline. The Royals and Rays are ahead of us as well, and both have made small adjustments at the deadline that were bigger than ours.
With the King on the DL, our starting pitching remains suspect and we’re having to rely upon the worst acquisition all season of Marco Gonzales. Don’t get me wrong, I like the kid’s skills and his potential. I just think Dipoto overpaid for him by about 5-fold. Looking ahead down the stretch we don’t want to have to count on a unproven arm that’s been hurt badly before.
Today, at the cost of more minor league outfield depth(Boog Powell), the Mariners acquired Yonder Alonso from the A’s. He’s a slugger who crushes righties and cant field at all so he plays first base. Paired with Valencia as a platoon at first, I admit it makes sense. But the weakness of the Mariners isn’t offense this season, it’s injuries and pitching. Dipoto made it clear he felt Alonso might “stay”, as in sign a contract in the offseason, so that’s his justification for trading away what little depth we had left.
So I begin to wonder, at what point do we pull the plug? When the farm system is rated 26th at the start of the season by some folks, and by now it must be 30th or 31st(out of 30). I realize with Cano aging and Felix showing signs of wear and tear for his hard work as a young pitcher, the window is small. But a key to having a successful team is a productive farm system. Look no further than the Astros and you’ll see a system that’s constantly producing more help for a seriously stacked MLB team.
The Mariners dont have that support system anymore. It was on life support before the season began, but Dipoto pulled the plug. What’s to come in the future? Was it all worth it for a 2nd wild card slot?
Notes from around the league
- The Los Angeles Dodgers just finished a 50 game run going 43-7, setting a new record for awesomeness. They’re on a pace close to the Seattle Mariners 2001 season at the moment, and showing no signs of slowing. In fact, they gained an Ace at the deadline, grabbing Yu Darvish for almost nothing from the Rangers. (They’re also this writer’s NL team, which bothers my editor a bit(He’s rooting for the Astros))
- Tebow-Watch: The Tebow train is actually gaining momentum, to the surprise and chagrin of this writer. The promotion was clearly a crash-grab by the Mets, but he’s hitting better at High A ball than he was at the lower levels. Still my favorite question by a reporter all year: “Do you think you’ll promote Tebow in September?”(asked of Mets GM). How he didnt burst out laughing is beyond me. But he stated the sane thing that Tebow would be nowhere near the roster at the MLB level in September.