Jerry Dipoto Continues to Impress


Lloyd McClendon was fired this morning. This comes as no surpise. Jerry Dipoto is setting the tone of his club, and there was no chance McClendon was Dipoto’s ideal manager.

In addition, Dipoto dismissed all of the M’s coaching staff with the exception of Edgar Martinez, Chris Woodward, and Rick Waits.

This makes me very happy. The retention of obviously talented coaches shows Dipoto isn’t simply burning down the house. He is cherry picking from the Mariners system, and then will bring in his outside personnel to compliment the front office and coaching staffs.

Dipoto has also said he’ll retain Tom McNamara, Tom Allison, and Jeff Kingston. Add those to the aforementioned coaches he’s retaining, and you can’t help but smile at Dipoto’s judgment.

Outside of Seattle, industry rumors all point towards Dipoto poaching Scott Servais come October 31st (when baseball contracts expire). Servais is a widely respected player development director, currently employed with Anaheim. He was hired by Dipoto there, the two being reportedly close friends.

It’s no secret that the Mariners need a player development overhaul. Here is a Servais quote I found intriguing:

“We can beat people in player development. Scouting — they all look at the same players. It’s really hard to get a leg up [in scouting]. You have a much bigger chance to have an impact in player development if you’re willing to try new things.”

Servais’ 2014 quote could sum up Jack Zduriencik’s failures with the Mariners developmental system. The high draft picks were well-regarded, but the struggles of players like Dustin Ackley, Nick Franklin, and Mike Zunino suggest that Zduriencik’s Mariners were very poor at turning raw talent into major league production.

Poaching Scott Servais would be another promising move for an impressive new GM. By “impressive”, I mean that Dipoto has laid out a coherent organizational philosophy, and now is making moves that support that philosophy.

Front office and coaching moves, in the end, are hard to get excited about. We won’t get a full picture of Dipoto’s vision until players start being traded and free agents are acquired (small contracts, small contacts). Yet with today’s dismissal of the Mariners pre-existing coaching staff, it’s hard not to get excited for a new chapter.


Keep up with us on Twitter: @Seatown_Mariner

[Tags: Felix HernandezRobinson CanoNelson CruzKyle SeagerTaijuan WalkerCarson SmithBrad MillerLogan MorrisonSeth SmithMark TrumboMike ZuninoJames Paxton]

Top 5 “House Cleaning” Moves of 2015 Mariners


*This article is to be taken in humor. Mostly.

I enjoy following the Mariners. Even when they lose. But, there are some instances where I can’t stomach a player or personnel within the organization. I realize these are real people, but for us, they are distant characters who get paid lots of money to do a job most would kill to do. I have no trouble throwing them to the wolves (in this meaningless blog).

  1. Fernando Rodney

While Rodney had a statistically impressive 2014 campaign, even then, I hated him. In the 9th inning, I want to see a pitcher who—above all else—has command of his pitches. “Wild” is not my cup of tea.

By consistently putting runners on-base in each outing, it was only a matter of time before Rodney imploded. And watching it happen—while skipper McClendon refused to remove him night after night—was pure pain.

Adios, Rodney.

  1. Jack Zduriencik

I got high off the fumes of 2014’s success. That much I admit. I thought Zduriencik’s offseason was good, and I was excited about 2015. Hopes were sky high.

But I’m a blogger who writes for enjoyment. I’m allowed to be dead wrong. Jack Zduriencik meanwhile is a professional. He needed to get it right in 2015. Instead he failed, miserably. That he brought in Nelson Cruz, Seth Smith, and even Mark Trumbo, and the team scored only 22 more runs in 162 games than they did last year….? What in the bloody hell?

Think about this: Nelson Cruz put up an OPS of .936 this year. Mike Trout, in his 2014 AL MVP campaign, had a .939 OPS.

Jerry Dipoto was right: Lack of depth killed this team. Zduriencik counted on far too many mediocre-at-best players, who voided good player’s production in the aggregate.

I am so glad the Zduriencik-era is over.

  1. Dustin Ackley

Ackley will forever symbolize the Zduriencik-era for Mariners fans. There’s the “busted elite prospect” aspect that suggests the organization blundered player development. But there’s also the 2200 plate appearances it took them to realize he was a hindrance to the lineup, not a contributor.

Just as it pained me to watch Rodney pitch, every at-bat from Dustin Ackley—in 2015—was excruciating. His .270 OBP was beyond disgraceful. Perhaps he finds success with the Yankees, perhaps they fix his mechanics. But the Seattle Mariners moving on from Dustin Ackley was just something that needed to happen.

  1. Lloyd McClendon

When the shit hit the fan, Lloyd McClendon aggravated the problems. For 3 months, he essentially repeated the mantra “stay the course”, even though the course was clearly flawed.

From refusing to dislodge Rodney from his 9th inning trainwrecks, to frequently sitting Justin Ruggiano while his OBP was among the team’s best, to refusing to shuffle the Cano-Cruz-Seager lineup in the first 3 months, McClendon showcased a stubbornness that exhibits confidence when you’re winning, and utter tone-deafness when you’re losing.

When all is said and done, McClendon was Zduriencik’s man. There’s no reason for Dipoto to adopt someone else’s manager. Especially when that manager has glaring failures.

  1. Dave Sims

Plenty of folks like Dave Sims. I think he’s terrible. He basically ruins the enjoyment of a televised broadcast for me.

The elation I feel when Nelson Cruz hits a home run is immediately buzzkilled when I hear that stupid stupid “BOOMSTICK BABY!!” cry from his mouth. His sense of excitement seems forced and his “casualness” just simply doesn’t work.

Now, Dave Sims hasn’t been fired, yet. And while he’ll probably retain some type of broadcasting gig with the Mariners, there is a new heavyweight broadcaster in town….

Aaron Goldsmith is a rock star in the making. The Mariners need to make him the voice of their franchise immediately. And if they don’t, they will soon lose him to another organization.


All in all, 2015 was a bummer season. But the deadweight is gone, and change is coming to the Mariners in many forms. While I was excited for last offseason, this coming one has me feeling actual relief.

Competence is coming.


Keep up with us on Twitter: @Seatown_Mariner

[Tags: Felix HernandezRobinson CanoNelson CruzKyle SeagerTaijuan WalkerCarson SmithBrad MillerLogan MorrisonSeth SmithMark TrumboMike ZuninoJames Paxton]

Jerry Dipoto: A New Era for Mariners Baseball


The hiring of Jerry Dipoto for Mariners GM wasn’t climatic—he was the obvious choice—but as far as implications go, today was an enormously huge day for the Mariners.

Jerry Dipoto is now the man behind the curtain. His vision is now the organization’s vision. Jerry Dipoto is now the decider of who wears a Mariners uniform, who works for the Mariners, who coaches every stage of Mariners development.

There’s much to like about Dipoto. He’s an upgrade over Jack Zduriencik, for plenty of reasons. Dipoto’s 2014 Angels had 98 wins and scored the most runs in MLB. That’s perhaps easier when Mike Trout wears your logo, but remember, the Angels play in a pitcher’s park, just like Safeco.

Dipoto is also a stats guy, which makes us nerds happy. In his 3.5 years of running the Angels, Dipoto’s team OBP was consistently in the top 10 of all teams, combining for an average team OBP of .325 during his tenure. (Meanwhile, Zduriencik had an average team OBP .301 during his tenure.)

If the reports are true that Mike Scioscia refused much of Dipoto’s analytical information— and that owner Arte Moreno forced moves for Vernon Wells and the signing of Hamilton and Pujols—there’s reason to believe that Dipoto has yet to deliver his full potential as a chief executive.

In 2003, Theo Epstein’s Red Sox hired Dipoto as a scout. Two years later, Dipoto became the Rockies head of scouting, and the next year, he became the Diamondbacks director of scouting. In Dipoto’s years with Arizona, his team drafted names like Scherzer, Miley, Pollock, and Goldschmidt.

If there’s reason to be concerned, it’s regarding Dipoto’s drafts with the Angels. Simply speaking, they’ve been pretty mediocre. Consequently, the Angels farm system has ranked towards the very bottom of all MLB teams for the past three years.

However, at the end of the day, an organization’s farm system serves the major league team. Whether that’s to grow talent, or to trade from, is up to the GM’s approach. And the fact is, the Angels MLB team held a 306-259 record under Dipoto’s run. That’s a .542 winning percentage. Good enough to contend year after year.

In addition, Dipoto’s success in the AL West can only serve to help him with the Mariners. And it’s nice knowing he’s a well-respected guy, the type of manager who gets nothing but compliments from those who work with him. (Um, yeah.)

On a personal note, I’m very pleased to have a media-savvy guy as our GM. Jerry Dipoto has a fast mind, a natural ease and sense of humor to him. They say people elect whichever president they want to see on TV for the next 4 years. It’s sort of like that with Dipoto. He gives good interviews, is telegenic, and doesn’t wear stupid purple striped shirts.


Here’s wishing the best to Jerry Dipoto. He seems like a good hire, as we all know the Mariners could’ve done far worse.

Our future is yours, Jerry.


Keep up with us on Twitter: @Seatown_Mariner

[Tags: Felix HernandezRobinson CanoNelson CruzKyle SeagerTaijuan WalkerCarson SmithBrad MillerLogan MorrisonSeth SmithMark TrumboMike ZuninoJames Paxton]

Edgar Martinez Might Be Very, Very Good At His Job


There’s two weeks left of baseball for the Mariners. And holy hell, these guys have been hitting with authority since the beginning of July.

If you’re like me, your gut reaction said “Yeah, that’s cause the Mariners always hit well in the summer. The marine layer vanishes and warm summer nights makes Safeco play almost normal.”

But then I decided to take a look. Because I’m a dork. And I wanted to see if the numbers backed up my assertion.

It appears that I am wrong. The summer doesn’t have any real impact on the Mariners, by and large.

I compiled years 2009-2014 (the Zduriencik-era, minus this year). Here’s the conclusion:

1st Half— .672 OPS
2nd Half— .671 OPS

The variances between halves per season never exceed .044 and the average variance was .026 in one direction or the other.

This season, however, the difference between halves for these Mariners is jarring.

1st Half— .678 OPS
2nd Half— .787 OPS

That variance of .109 is monumental. The first number is very similar to the previous OPS halves we’ve seen in Seattle in the Zduriencik-era. But why are the Mariners so incredibly hot now?

Certainly, the roster improved over the season as dead weight was alleviated. (Yet we still don’t have any production out of the catcher’s slot.) Also, some of the Mariners are swinging undeniably hot bats that won’t sustain such high levels. (Looking at you, Guti. Love ya.)

But, to disregard the fact that Edgar Martinez was hired just before this impressive development seems unfair. How much of this success can you credit to him? No, not all of it. He’s only a coach.

But when players are playing to their full potentials— especially when a big handful are all doing so at the same time—you’ve got to think that the coach is doing something right.

Either Edgar is doing a great job, or he’s the recipient of one marvelous coincidence.


Keep up with us on Twitter: @Seatown_Mariner

[Tags: Felix HernandezRobinson CanoNelson CruzKyle SeagerTaijuan WalkerCarson SmithBrad MillerLogan MorrisonSeth SmithMark TrumboMike ZuninoJames Paxton]

Oh What Could Have Been

SEATTLE, WA - JULY 26:  Franklin Gutierrez #30 of the Seattle Mariners is congratulated by teammates after hitting a walk-off home run to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-5 in ten innings at Safeco Field on July 26, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) 538587393  (Otto Greule Jr / Getty Images)

Saturday’s 8-3 win over the Oakland Athletics gave the Mariners a four-game winning streak, their longest such mark of the season. Yes, the team that was supposed to win 95 games has not won more than four in a row by September 6th. The disappointment that has been the 2015 season is largely the responsibility of the offense. While, especially in the 2nd half, the bullpen and starting rotation have struggled at times, the narrative remains that 2015  Seattle Mariners were offensively challenged.

After sporting an 89 wRC+ as a team during the first half of the season, the Mariners have since had the best offense in all of baseball, posting a league high 123 wRC+. Players who had been underperforming have finally turned it around. Others who had been performing well have taken their game to the next level. Some have even come out of nowhere to help produce for the Seattle club. Here is a look at the 1st and 2nd halves of some of the most notable Mariners:

Robinson Cano (From 8 more years… to 8 more years!!!)

1st Half – .251/.290/.370, 6 HRs, 84 wRC+

2nd Half – .335/.396/.531, 8 HRs, 159 wRC+

Nelson Cruz (From Good to Insane)

1st Half – .308/.373/.546, 21 HRs, 156 wRC+

2nd Half – .315/.392/.663, 18 HRs, 192 wRC+

Cruz has nearly reached his 1st half home run total in half as many games. M-V-P! M-V-P!

Mark Trumbo (You’re fired Jack Zduriencik to Well you didn’t mess up everything)

1st Half – .219/.255/.305, 2 HRs, 56 wRC+

2nd Half – .267/.329/.486, 9 HRs, 127 wRC+

Ketel Marte (The next big disappointment to Where have you been all this time)

1st Half – In minor leagues

2nd Half – .280/.351/.373, 106 wRC+

Kyle Seager (Mr. Consistency to Mr. Consistency)

1st Half – .269/.329/.438, 12 HRs, 112 wRC+

2nd Half – .271/.327/.482 10 HRs, 129 wRC+

Franklin Gutierrez (The GOAT of old to The GOAT of current)

1st Half – Only played 12 games after being called up

2nd Half – .320/.382/.700, 10 HRs, 199 wRC+

It’s easy to see that list and want to start the entire season over. The incredible individual and team improvements on offense is extremely frustrating after a horrid first half. Seeing what could have been have been, in the season that was supposed to be, is hard to watch for all of us to cope with.

But maybe this is a turning point for future seasons. The Mariners may have finally found their franchise short stop in Ketel Marte. Mark Trumbo is proving he can be the everyday first baseman of the future. The $200 million man, Robinson Cano, is still worth the money. A bright light shines at the end of this tunnel, giving us hope for 2016. Next year could very well be the year, or that bright light could be a train, but don’t think about that. Either way, it’s more fun to hope for freedom than to dwell on what could have been.


Keep up with us on Twitter: @Seatown_Mariner

Where Do the Mariners Go From Here?


We haven’t posted much recently. Ryan has gone off to college, and Lord knows what he’s up to. And for me? Well, this team has been far too depressing to write about these past few months.

Personally, I am glad to see Jack Zduriencik gone. I don’t think he was terrible, but he wasn’t able to be effective in the whole. Some of his moves made you nauseous, while others seemed smart and sensible. I suppose that’s the life of a GM, but Zduriencik had his time and it didn’t work out.

Combine his tenure with Bill Bavasi’s, and it has been nearly a decade and a half since the Mariners were an impressive organization. I’ve lived in Seattle for just shy of 10 years, and I’ve never experienced anything but casual scorn from people regarding the Mariners. They are a joke. A punchline. And there’s little sense of the “yeah they’re terrible, but they’re our team” sentiment (like perhaps the Red Sox receive).

With the hunt on for a new GM, loyal fans are experiencing serious anxiety. Simply put, if this organization hires another ineffective GM, it’ll be a source of monumental frustration.

Kevin Mather now holds the key to the future of the Mariners. It’s impossible to say where his mind is. His media interviews following Zduriencik’s firing gave only a general sense of his thinking. Basically, he wants it all. Experience, vision, management skills, scouting, international scouting, development, analytics and sabermetrics. AKA, the bullet points of what a General Manager does.

If I were in his shoes, there’s a place I’d be looking, and an approach I’d be looking for:

Where to Look 

Mather explained that he wanted a GM “with prior experience”. While that’s a fine wish, I think it’s likely to cause trouble. And that’s because effective GM’s aren’t collecting unemployment checks. They’re out there winning ballgames with their good organization. And because Mather wants to fill this position before the off-season, the idea of an effective GM quitting his current gig and coming to Seattle seems unlikely.

That leaves a scrap heap of former GMs. You’ve read their names in the media, and none provoke confidence. (Although Dipoto I’d keep an open mind about.)

In my opinion, Mather needs to look at the pool of Assistant GMs. This is where the best talent will be found. Take my ideal candidate Michael Girsch. He’s been the Cardinals AGM for 5 years. Before that he oversaw their player development operations. His team has juggled consistent winning while drafting effectively without top picks, and doing so with a mid-market budget and in a ballpark that is slightly “pitcher friendly”. The last time a team plucked a Cardinals front office guy for their GM was the Houston Astros… Jeff Luhnow’s rebuilt team is a success all around. And sadly for us, the Astros are only gonna get better.

The Cardinals aren’t the only club with an impressive AGM’s resume. The Yankees, Cubs, Braves, and Rangers all have candidates worth interviewing. To me, you must acknowledge the value of a candidate who has worked in a successful organization. Experience isn’t about having held a job position, it’s about the effectiveness of the job you held.

What to Look For

Whether a former GM or an exciting AGM gets hired, they’ll have to figure out what Seattle’s organization needs. Regardless of background, they’ll have some “learning on the job” to do.

What I’d want to hear is how a GM plans to build a team for Safeco Field.

Zduriencik seemed bent on finding power hitters to out-slug Safeco. It’s never worked. It never will. Just look around at successful teams that play in pitcher-friendly parks: Oakland, San Francisco, St. Louis. Each has focused on high-contact, high-OBP offenses. Combined with good pitching— which is aided by the park factor— these teams succeed. And all with budgets that Seattle can match.

In addition to ‘A Team Built for Safeco’, you definitely do need a legitimate drafting and development system. Again, experience from working with a team that does this well is ideal. That’s not to say that the Mariners need to be a completely home-grown team, although that’s pretty darn fun. But creating value for an organization comes from producing major league baseball players.

If Mather simply looks for a short-fix to get this core a winning supporting cast, he very well could find this next decade in the same predicament as the last. (Winning and building aren’t mutually-exclusive.)

Here’s hoping they finally get it right.


Keep up with us on Twitter: @Seatown_Mariner

[Tags: Felix HernandezRobinson CanoNelson CruzKyle SeagerTaijuan WalkerCarson SmithBrad MillerLogan MorrisonSeth SmithMark TrumboMike ZuninoJames Paxton]

Bring Dave Dombrowski to the Seattle Mariners


This morning Ken Rosenthal reported that many insiders predict Dave Dombrowski lands in Seattle. The rumor was met with mixed emotions from Mariners fans. But for me, I say bring him aboard!

Here’s why…. And it’s really for only one reason…

Dombrowski is a well-respected GM. He’s in his 27th season as a GM. Meanwhile, the Mariners are in the middle of a “win-now” window.

While my preference is to hire a young, stat-savvy GM— like Mike Girsch or Jason McLeod— I fear that hiring someone of inexperience might require too much time to get rolling. Thus, jeopardizing the win-now window.

You figure, an executive like Dombrowski comes with a staff of personnel and years of knowledge of professionals in the industry. And while a young GM might have better ideas in the long run, they likely haven’t assembled an entourage of trustees to accompany them in a transition.

Dombrowski strikes me as a guy who can hit the ground running. He’s rumored to covet the President of Baseball Operations role, which if given to him— likely the price of him coming here— it could free him up to hire and mentor a young GM in the next few years.

So, bring in Dombrowski, give him the keys to the organization, and hope he can right this ship for 2016 and 2017. Then, hope he hires a McLeod or Girsch type for beyond.

Sounds like a nifty idea to me.


Keep up with us on Twitter: @Seatown_Mariner

[Tags: Felix HernandezRobinson CanoNelson CruzKyle SeagerTaijuan WalkerCarson SmithBrad MillerLogan MorrisonSeth SmithMark TrumboMike ZuninoJames Paxton]


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 420 other followers