Mariners Report Cards: Front Office
The first of my report card series starts with the front office! I give my honest assessment on how Dipoto and co. handled this roster, and what I will look for from them moving forward.
The Seattle Mariners missed the playoffs once again, a disappointing end to a season that was supposed to further the commitment to building a perennial playoff force. Instead of trying to break these failures down in one article I am going to approach things a different way, a report card for every piece of the situation.
People will try to assign blame to the situation to try to figure out the culprit, but there are tons of reasons why this team ultimately didn’t achieve their goals. Ultimately what happened with this team ended with the players on the field, but it began with the front office building the roster. Let’s take a look.
Jerry Dipoto and Justin Hollander kicked things off with a bang last offseason coming off of the club’s first playoff appearance in 20 years by swinging a big trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. Although Teoscar Hernández was a massive disappointment in the first half, his second half was much closer to the player Seattle thought they were acquiring.
Ultimately they only gave up Erik Swanson and Adam Macko for Hernández, who was an important part of this team. His wRC+ ended at just 105, but his second half was a huge reason for Seattle becoming a contender. They will have the chance to put the qualifying offer on him, so ultimately I think this was a solid process and a nice move by the front office.
The front office once again found value where nobody else did and built a very good bullpen. Justin Topa, Gabe Speier, and Tayler Saucedo were huge finds that cost essentially nothing. They have a knack for building bullpens, and 2023 was no exception.
In a vacuum and moving forward, the Paul Sewald deal was a win. Now I understand where Cal Raleigh and other players are coming from when they express disappointment in the move, but ultimately Seattle got three potential long-term contributors for an aging relief pitcher.
Seattle also bet on young players like Jarred Kelenic, Matt Brash, Bryce Miller, and Bryan Woo which paid off in a big way.
Their ability to find, develop, and deploy starting pitching was a huge positive from this season, especially after suffering the injuries to Marco Gonzales and Robbie Ray early in the season.
Just like the list of positives, there are plenty of negatives I have for Jerry Dipoto and the Seattle front office. For the most part, these negatives are common themes for me and have been for several years now.
One thing I refuse to do is put the blame on Jerry Dipoto and Justin Hollander for Seattle’s lack of free-agent spending. We simply do not have enough information, and the information we do have suggests they are hamstrung by a budget from owner John Stanton.
All we can do is assess the moves they have made, so I want to start with Kolten Wong and A.J. Pollock. Neither one of these moves was inherently bad, but both players performed as poorly as you could possibly imagine.
Seattle has neglected infield and the second base position for several years at this point, and it has come back to bite them in the butt in a big way. In my opinion, their neglect of this position both in the system and in the offseason has really hurt them.
Another main issue that I had with this front office is that even if Kolten Wong and A.J. Pollock performed, I still felt they were at least a bat or two short. Their refusal to acquire enough lineup depth has been a major issue for years now.
Another huge failure I had an issue with was their lack of urgency or willingness to attempt to improve the ceiling of this bullpen. At some point, they got stuck just settling for Dominic Leone, Trent Thornton, and Eduoard Bazardo, which no doubt cost them games throughout the summer.
Once again this team failed to add enough depth to sustain them and ultimately had to rely on Jose Caballero, Sam Haggerty, and other players down the stretch. They cannot keep undervaluing depth in both the bullpen and starting lineup, because it continues to wear this team down year after year.
Here are my overall thoughts on the front office, as well as my grade! Enjoy!
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