Dipoto: stopped on a dime with 9 cents change
the hot stove plot .... thins


Kate Preusser has a very clever article up defending Jerry Dipoto's offseason.  The analogy is this:  lots of fans hated, hated, hated the current Star Wars movie ... BECAUSE ... it did not match up with any kind of crowd-pleasing plotline they'd spent two years guessing about.  The analogy continues:  you CANNOT write great movies based on what fans would like to see; you've got to do better than that.  

Those are Premises 1 and 2; the Conclusion is, Jerry Dipoto must be doing the right thing, ignoring the fans.

Is the logic valid?  The LL comments to Kate's article say, Nay Verily.  There are about 60 sharp, telling refutations of the concept here.  (None of them include Dr. D's own reaction:  you sure as shootin' CAN make a great movie based on what fans want and expect.  Michael Bay, Peter Jackson and James Cameron are crowd-pleasing directors.  I do think one of the LL commenters did include Dr. D's reaction that we are running on 15 years absent the playoffs here.)


It's fairly easy to read what 29 other GM's are deciding about Jerry Dipoto:  that he has made 369 trades to turn a .500 team into a .500 team.

In Dipoto's defense, you have Dipoto's defense, because this winter he is becoming quite evidently sensitive to the industry criticism.  His general reaction is:

  1. The M's were much, much worse than a .500 team when he got here.  If you look under the surface.  (Dr. D's reaction:  maybe.  MAY be.)
  2. The M's should have lost 100 to 110 games last season, given their unbelievable injuries.  They did awesome to win as many games as they did.  (Dr. D:  lot of traction here.)
  3. Hey, the M's have had 7 different All-Star players recently, and they've gotten "more athletic."  (SSI is still completely unclear as to what "athleticism" is worth in MLB, as opposed to in the NBA or NFL.)


It is starting to look like Dipoto's plan was to sign Babe Ruth for the league minimum, and then bask in the reputation garnered.  Finding himself stranded on a dark Hilltop street at 3 a.m. with no cabs around, his rather minimal response was to acquire "impact pitching" by bailing out on the entire SP market and taking a reliever he sells as an impact pitcher, and trading for a quality center fielder.  That is pretty much it, and the fact is, that isn't much in view of who our AL West neighbors are.

The fact is, when Shohei Ohtani went to the LAA Angels, and Jerry Dipoto responded with light touches of lipstick and eye shadow, his image took a thunderous elbow from the top turnbuckle.  Everything looks pretty weird after that.  Hanjag says here

I do and don't like JeDi. I like his confidence and he seems likable as a human being.  (Dipoto's confidence borders on arrogance and begins to look suspect in view of his lack of Beane-type results.)

Question: Are you happy with the Scrabble sign? To me that seems like an overpay.  To me the most glaring need was the adding of a TOR the whole time.  (Dipoto's beginning to show a real aversion to spending FA money -- "it's a long, dark hallway" -- and he's trying to add "impact" with no-name sabermetric relievers.  This belies the fact that he feels zero guilt about the DL'ing of the entire rotation last year and the possibility of the rotation getting DL'ed again in 2018.)

Again, I don't see JD getting "value". I think he overpays in many trades.  I am fine with 'overpays' IFF you wind up happy with what you get back -- Haniger, Segura, Leake, a healthy Smyly, etc.


There's an old Bill James observation about Billy Beane, "If Beane were on trial for arrogance I wouldn't want to be his lawyer.  And if he were on trial for excellence as a GM he would scarcely need one."  Here we've got a situation where we might possibly want some representation ... Mojo?  Anybody?

Another fact is, Dipoto has us in somewhat better shape than we were in when Zduriencik left, 2.5 years ago.  This seems to give Dipoto great comfort.  But here is the key insight about being better than Jack Zduriencik:  it ain't saying much.  Ask your local rival GM how much credit he gives for this line on the resume.



With Zunino going berserk and Mitch Haniger loaded for his first full non-rookie year ... with quality batting at every single spot around the diamond ... and with 3 legitimate stars at 3-4-5 in the order ... I think the M's are a successful Wolf Pack away from real contention.  (A successful Wolf Pack is not a light thing to attempt.)

But it's surprising to Dr. D, how differently he feels about Jerry Dipoto, and how quickly.  Fan fiction notwithstanding, babe.  This team needed a staff ace, full stop, and Ariel Miranda Ain't It.  The rotation is much, much lighter than it was going into 2017, and Dipoto seems to be virtually scoffing about it. 





Taro's picture

Biggest issue with Dipoto is the need for instant gratification.

You see it in his trade of high upside A-ball players for low upside AAA/MLB players, in his swift dumping of players that don't perform immediately, in his constant trading in general, and you see it in the desperation trades for Ohtani (which it looks like he misread).

However, paradoxically Dipoto is also against acquiring premium talent whether in trade or FA. So he will neither score big nor whiff big in one transaction. He has to make an impact through multiple transactions. The philisophical approach leads to a constant downgrading of talent in the system. On a field level result the Chris Taylor and Gohara trades look the most damaging. We got nothing for potentially two young superstars. 

Its/ a slow downward spiral that is about hit its breaking point; many people are becoming aware that it is bound to happen soon.


Just from the draft, Zduriencik left the following with the Mariners:

- Seager

- Zunino

- Paxton

- Diaz

- Taijuan

- Moore

- Gohara, Tank, Neidert as top-rated talents

- 90% of the rest of what Dipoto has tossed overboard (like Chris Taylor and Zack Littell)

Now, that ain't necessarily grand, but if we're crowing about Seager still having a lot in the tank and Paxton being a glass cannon with several years of club control left and Zunino being a crusher, well... those are Jack's guys.

Dipoto has moved Taijuan for Segura and Haniger, which is an interesting move with no clear winner yet (Walker was pretty darn good for Arizona). I expect Seattle to wind up with the better hand out it, but we'll see. He drafted Kyle Lewis who I love, and who then ran into the Seattle Curse and blew out a knee from which he is apparently still recovering. He grabbed White and Carlson last year, and those things might or might not pay off in 4 years.  

But he hasn't added any great (or even good) arms to the rotation. He hasn't added any MOTO pieces to replace the aging Cruz/Cano core.  Like you said, Doc: he's made 369 trade that have resulted in Seattle both a) treading water and b) moving a lot of near-future pieces for Now pieces that haven't done the job of getting Seattle to the playoffs.  The rotation's future would look a lot brighter with 21 yo Gohara hitting the rotation this year and Neidert's 21 yo self in AA (along with Littell and some other arms Seattle has moved). With a Paxton/Walker two-headed-yet-fragile monster at the top it would at least worry some teams.  Who's worried about facing Seattle's pitching staff?

The farm is thin, the 25-man looks pretty desperate, and I'm still waiting for Jerry Dipoto to wow me with his plan.  Because from where I stand, if Dipoto had done NOTHING for 2 years it's hard to see how worse off the Mariners would actually be.  They might not be better... but is that really a selling point?  Thus far Jerry has been the guy who is always shuffling papers at his work desk and telling everyone how busy he is, but he produces the same amount as the guy listening to music and quietly putting in his 40. 

If Dipoto's production rate doesn't go up, it's gonna be really hard for Seattle to succeed now OR later.  Here's hoping Moore turns into Mark Buehrle this year, because Seattle desperately needs some rotation member to step up in a big way.


Zunino is looking every bit a MOTO bat including taking the larger half of the 5 longest Ms HR with Cruz having the other 2.  If he doesn't count because Dipoto didn't acquire him (though he was broken when Jerry got here), how about Mitch Haniger?  There's been another draw at the DH/1b deck every 6 months and so far none of them have been + here but there's currently 3 that could directly replace Cruz next year.  Fully replacing his production isn't likely from anyone.  Having SS and C hit like corner outfielders helps though.  I don't think there's really much more than quibbles to be had over the offense and fielders accrued.

I agree that there's been a few head scratching moves that later turned out as painful as feared.  Don't know how people can blame him for Smyly or Taylor though.  I haven't heard of anyone claiming they knew how those would turn out.  Are you claiming you knew with Taylor or that Dipoto should have?   I am hoping we see this year why Gonzales, because Tank still looks every bit a young Buhner or so to me. 

I agree there's not much being feared in the Mariners rotation.  Leake and Ramirez may change that this year.  Paxton is already in some heads, there's even a certain .429 OPS in 29 PA in Ohtaniland that might think of him.  I wonder if Trout remembers all 11 punchouts or just combines them into one nightmare.  Here's to hoping some of our bats own Ohtani like Paxton owns Trout. 


I like JD.  I like his enthusiasm and his knowledge of baseball.

I think it's a little too soon to judge his body of work as a trader.

But one thing I'm getting more convinced of--his ability to judge off the field talent is feeble.  I know I'm alone in this, but I think the switch from Lloyd to Servais was a huge step down.  And from what I saw last year, the same holds true for the coaching staff (Edgar aside).  Maybe the addition of a 'second pitching coach' is a way to cover up Stottlemyre's obvious shortcomings.  

And down on the farm, I'm really skeptical about someone simply with the preferred mental attitude being the same thing as someone who knows how to develop talent.  

Across the board, the one thing apparently non-considered in all of these hires was the same thing--experience.

Learning on-the-job has to occur for everyone at some point.  But I don't want that guy performing surgery on my back--or my baseball team.  


1.  The Segura/Haniger grab looks like a big win to me, and I like Taijuan a lot.  Win for Dipoto.

2.  Gohara for Dyson trade shenanigan was basically absurd.  Shae Simmons is the result.  That’s what we got out of that.  It is a trad3 that might be historically bad.  Big loss for Jerry.

3. Tank for Gonzo?  Jury is way out.  I remain a doubter.

4.  Signing Gordon I like.  But it may or may not make us better this year.

5.  I like Healy and Ford.

6.  Monty, who is wish8bg to start again, for Vogs turns out to be a colossal waste, in that we won’t (or haven’t)  given Vogs a shot. 

So we are not really any better and we have, in fact, lost ground to the entire AL West during the Dipoto reign.  And our farm depth has been depleted.

The jury is out.  JeDi can be bold, but that hasn’t yet translated into anything beyond sort of interesting games at the beginning of September.  

I still think he has one more move This winter.  I am anxious to see it.




"Effectively what I think we've been able to do is build more depth and quality around our Major League group, build up the upper levels. While we certainly depleted the mid-levels of our system, now we've bought ourselves what I think is something like three to five years with some of the additions we've made at the big-league level to regrow the seed at the Minor League levels."


Oh we have, have we? He continues:

"I still feel there's a lot of quality there with guys like Kyle Lewis, Sam Carlson, Evan White, Julio Rodriguez among others," Dipoto said. "And we're certainly not short on controllable mid-20-somethings at the big league level.

"Now we have time to add via the Draft and international signings and grow the seed again and hopefully stop the tidal wave of transactions that we put in play to try to create this roster advantage."

So Jerry likes his #1 pick from his first draft, his first 2 picks from his second draft, and his million dollar teenage IFA. Those are probably the top 4 prospects in the system, yep. The problem is that even most blue-chippers fail to reach impact-player status in the bigs, which is why you need a bunch of draws at the deck.  He's at least not kidding about the farm - it will take 3-5 years to build it back up. 

But what that means is that Jerry will have to make do with what he has at the major-league level (or in AAA) to make this iteration of the Mariners work, and even after all his trades I don't know that he has done enough.  Like you said, from outside appearances we've lost ground in the division.  Other teams have gotten better, and the Ms have stayed the same.  Maybe Haniger really does come through as a truly great player rather than a good one and Seattle gets some other breaks along the way.

The Royals pulled it off, after all.  But now the Mariners will need that luck to come through in ways it hasn't in the last 15 years, and they haven't given themselves a ton of chances at nailing stars.  Of course, Seattle has also wasted more stars than many clubs get, so maybe it's time for the no-names and second-tier guys to join the current stars and get something done. Fast.   


...of Dipoto's moves thus far is the way in which they prepare the franchise for a spectacular payroll cut.

Cheap assets (Paxton, Diaz, Haniger, Heredia, Gamel, Zunino, Healy, Ford, Lewis, Simmons, Armstrong, etc) with enough "hope" to make you want to keep following that eat up a large chunk of the roster so that, when Cruz, King Felix, Seager, and the veteran pitcher contracts ends, they can just sit on that younger group and be mediocre for four years at half the cost.


Lose the vets, have a sweet 20 year missed-playoffs-mark, fire Dipoto, start over again, and cost-control the lineup.  Basically what the Mets have done for the last decade (minus that weird World Series appearance), except at half the price. Not tanking, not getting to the playoffs really either, just sort of existing.  

There's a lot of money still to be made in Seattle by existing.  More requires at least a couple of home-grown All Stars. 


I defended Zduriencik way longer than I should have, and I am probably making the same mistake with Dipoto, but! I don't agree that the M's have lost ground to rest of the AL West. I mean, obviously, we've lost ground to the Astros but so did every other team in the Major Leagues. They are going to be a juggernaut for at least another year or two.

Among the also rans in the West:

Rangers: Have taken a huge step back since JeDi arrived, and have been very quiet this offseason. Will probably lose Darvish as well.

Athletics: Traded a first-baseman so they can fit other first-basemen into the lineup. Their major add this year will be their hot shot rookie.

Angels: Added OHTANI, but have otherwise been quiet. Trout-Ohtani is scary, but it makes them a very top-heavy team talentwise. Two players do not make a lineup, however, and they are still going to be trotting out what's left of Albert Pujols every day.

I think the Mariners have all the tools compete for the wild card at least. So much so that I think we should be all in on Darvish to complete the push. It would be a shame to miss the playoffs by a game or two again.


...I would say the Mariners have lost ground to the As in that the As have developed a better stable of young players in the upper minors while the Mariners have gone backwards in the minors without gaining in the majors.

w/r/t Anaheim, I would say it's more than just Ohtani...they also get Kinsler and Cozart...we got a reliever who's been good for one season, and a low OBP first baseman to replace the last low OBP first baseman we had.


Gave too much leeway to Zduriencik.  We're not approaching that yet with Dipoto.  I'm watching closely.  I still credit him positively for the Smyly acquisition.  Heredia, Gamel, Mitch, Segura (+extension) shouldn't be ignored or understated.  If Dee works as intended and becomes the better version of Billy Hamilton.  Well then.

Zduriencik gets all the credit for Zunino, Paxton, Seager, et al.  Except 2 things.  Tom McNamara.  And there's the fact that Dipoto, while it's been suggested he's churning through the guys left over by the previous regime, chose to keep these guys. That is not nothing. 

Anyone else notice that few are using any nicknames for Jerry ever since Ohtani went to the Death Star in Anaheim which is Orange County (THAT'S RIGHT ITS NOT EVEN IN THE SAME COUNTY AS LA.  Quit your lying please)?  Sorry for the rant...

Last year was devastation in the rotation.  So much so that I may have continued downplaying the in-season additions, carrying the disappointed vision over to them.  We thought we'd have Smyly last year and none of them are Smyly.  Yet Marco Gonzales has a very similar repertoire.  The shape of the 4 seamer being the biggest individual difference, without much separation in speed.  Drew's straighter, flyball inducing fastball has just been more valuable than Marco's groundball, swinging strike inducing fastball.  Why did I start out with my weakest argument?  Leake has only had 2 or 3 positive value pitches every single season in the show.  The entire world continues to Moyer him.  Fine by me.  Meanwhile Felix just finished his first year with only 1 positive pitch.  Albers was so annoyed by being overlooked he said "I'm taking my Nintendo and going home."  Or something like that.  Ramirez fits 2-3 positive pitches annually.  Since the moment he was first traded away, that is.  The cutter he just added garnered the 2nd highest single season value of any pitch in his career.  That with throwing it 25% of the time right out of the gate.  The 1-2 inches of additional rise gained on his 4 seamer the last few years helps his k rate too.  Miranda has also had a pair of value pitches, unfortunately they're both sub-85MPH.

So Leake is only a marginal #2?  At least there's no Gallardo (Read; Silva).  Unless that's Felix this year.

Paxton, Leake, Ramirez, Gonzales, Felix.  With this city sacking Mariners Lineup.  A roster very reminiscent of the Mid-90s?  I'd love Arrietta or Lynn or similar/better(Archer?) addition behind Paxton, but I don't think the rotation is as bad as most seem to.

And Miranda isn't even on that list.  If he just comes up with a good fastball somehow.  I don't mean he needs to add velocity.  89-90 MPH Cutter, maybe?  I guess that could fit Gonzo too.  Kuma, Moore (needs something other than the 4SFB), Povse, Whalen, De Jong and others represent significant depth.  Unless I missed a trade somewhere there in the flurry...



Mariners left-hander James Paxton broke out in many ways last season, but his air-ball contact stands out. Among those 134 starters, Paxton allowed the lowest average exit velocity on air balls at 85.5 mph. He also allowed the lowest rate of air balls hit at or above Statcast™'s 95 mph baseline for hard contact, at only 26 percent. For context, MLB batters hit .623 and slugged 1.627 on "hard-hit" air balls last year, as opposed to a .253 average and .316 slugging percentage on anything softer. Lifting the ball is important, but lifting it and hitting it hard is much better...

Nathan H's picture

Short version: Jerry's been a mixed bag so far but I hope the changes he's making under the surface support long-term success for the organization.


Long version:

I guess I view the job of a General Manager differently than The Consortium. Yes, sure, his number 1 job is to win games in the MLB. But there are a heap of other facets in running a Major League ballclub that aren’t being taken into consideration while Jerry’s evaluation is happening, here. That's why I never put stock in a team's "budget" constraints. MLB budgets go WAY beyond the on-field product such that a few million here and there literally make no difference.

So, here’s a (non-comprehensive) list of responsibilities a Major League GM has.

  • Roster Construction
  • Talent Acquisition
  • Drafting
  • Amateur
  • Rule 5
  • Scouting talent (Amateur/Professional)
  • Projecting Future Performance
  • Physical Profiling
  • Psychological Profiling
  • Statistical Profiling
  • Free Agency
  • International
  • Major League
  • Budgeting
  • Major League Contract Management/Control/Maintenance
  • Roster Management
  • 25-man
  • 40-man
  • Total Asset Management
  • Union Management
  • MLB Rules Coordination
  • Venue
  • Major League Ballpark Operations
  • Business Operations/Revenue
  • Corporate Business Management
  • Naming Rights
  • Partnership Management
  • Client Services
  • Sales
  • Individual
  • Season Tickets
  • Individual
  • Groups
  • Suites
  • Merchandising
  • Concessions
  • Security
  • Hygiene Maintenance
  • Grounds Maintenance
  • Field Conditions
  • Roof
  • Team Operations
  • Clubhouse Maintenance
  • Equipment
  • Procurement
  • Maintenance
  • Shipping/logistics
  • Travel
  • Minor Leagues
  • Affiliate Management
  • Affiliate Coordination
  • Coaching Staff
  • Advance Scouting
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Team-Building
  • Individual Counseling
  • Game Theory
  • Game Execution
  • Development
  • Physical Conditioning
  • Psychological Training
  • Academies
  • Domestic
  • International
  • Spring Training
  • Medical
  • Resources/Facilities
  • PR
  • Social Media
  • Community Programs
  • Marketing
  • Promotions
  • Events
  • Mascot
  • Video Vignettes (Entertainment)
  • Media
  • Broadcast
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Information Services
  • Legal/Governmental Affairs
  • MLB Home Office Coordination
  • Union
  • Private Liability Management
  • City
  • County
  • State
  • Federal
  • International
  • Human Resources
  • Finance/Accounting


Ultimately, Jerry’s responsible for ensuring the right people are in charge of the left-most justified bullets and continuity of organizational philosophy. He will certainly be accountable to the ‘Roster Construction’ sphere more, though, as that has the most immediate impact on winning Major League games. That's what the conversations has been about, so far, and, in this regard, I mostly agree with all-ya'll. His bloom is wilting, here.

I *hope* that Jerry’s been working to modernize the team’s Medical and Development aspects as those are two areas that I see the Mariners have been severely lagging behind other teams.

A guy playing everyday with a significant sports hernia? That’s embarrassing. A guy playing three months with tuberculosis? That’s literally a Cleveland Browns level of failure and should stigmatize the medical team as a laughingstock forever (see Browns: staph). The fact that this medical team won the Martin-Monahan Award in 2013 is a joke. And, yes, it is fair to go back to 2001 because the SAME PEOPLE are STILL involved in shaping today’s medical team, people like Rick Griffin.

 As far as development, I don’t need to point out to YOU guys the historical level of failure associated with this organization.

Jerry is clearly changing the organization’s approach to development. That’s good.

Jerry appears to be modernizing the approach to the medical aspect (as Ryan Dvish outlined in a spring training puff piece here) while, at the same time, keeping bad retreads like Rick Griffin in charge. That’s a mixed bag.

Jerry will be head of the organization when the naming rights for Safeco Field expire. That'll be interesting.

Does Jerry get credit for keeping Kevin Martinez' team intact? Not messing with an already established good thing?

The org switched their A and AA affiliates this past year. I wonder why. Is that a good thing?

etc. etc.


He's been relegated to "roving conditioning consultant" and will handle some of the administrative duties of the training staff, but Martin is going to be in charge of appointing the new head trainer and in overseeing the team's approaching to field medicine and sports psychology.

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