The trades keep coming. Today, the Seattle Mariners made yet another trade, further revamping their MLB roster. Jerry Dipoto, in the space of 45 minutes, traded for Mallex Smith and then flipped him for Drew Smyly from the Tampa Bay Rays. Adding Smyly could be the final piece to the rotation that Dipoto has been searching for. Dipoto has said that acquiring Smyly was a high priority for him all winter.
What Dipoto’s Flurry of Trades Means for Seattle
Since 2015, Seattle has made the most trades in the majors by a comfortable margin. Dipoto stepped into the role of GM with the express intent of fixing the Mariners. He has consistently stuck with saying ‘retooling’, rather than ‘rebuilding’. He was handed a talented core of players in Felix Hernandez, Kyle Seager, Nelson Cruz, and Robinson Cano. This group was aging, however, and there was nobody in the farm system ready to step up and support these guys. That is where his trades come into account.
Most trades in MLB since September 2015
Jerry Dipoto became Mariners GM in September 2015
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 7, 2017
That number, 34, should make even the most passive fan to raise their eyebrows. A huge number of turnover that Seattle hadn’t seen since Pete Carroll and John Schneider took over the Seahawks, and look how that turned out.
This rush of activity has transformed the Mariners. The eleven trades completed this offseason have served to keep us intrigued in the the initial few months following such a successful first season from Dipoto. Jean Segura, Danny Valencia, Mitch Haniger, Robert Whalen, Max Povse, Yovani Gallardo, and Smyly are all players that, within a two-month period, have been added to the Mariners.
The staggering amount of movement has allowed Dipoto to work his magic in dealing to find teams that had needs and were okay with giving up pieces he could use to compliment his core. His team got younger and faster. With the additions of Segura and Dyson, there are three players in Mariners blue that last year had almost 30 more steals than the entire team. The only demonstrable talent that you can say he gave up would be Taijuan Walker and Luiz Gohara.
These trades have served to reinforce the idea that Dipoto would rather rebuild around his aging core through trades than through free agency. The trades look even more impressive when one considers that Dipoto has essentially no farm system to trade from. Given that the group has only been together for one year, Mariners upper management has only had a single draft in which to try to rebuild their minor league system.
Dipoto has probably finished his moves this winter, barring Spring Training invitees. He will look to sign minor league deals with invitees to camp for competition. Now the focus can be turned to remaking the farm system and trying to cultivate young talent.
All this will mean nothing if we see the Mariners regress this year. Mariners fans can only sit by and agonize until it all starts to play out in Spring Training. That will bring fans closer to seeing if the Mariners and the city can finally enjoy some October baseball. Watching the King step on the mound in the playoffs is the most ardent fan’s dream.