For all the wheeling and dealing that “Trader” Jerry Dipoto has done as the general manager of the Mariners, surprisingly little of it has come at the July 31 trade deadline.
In the past three Julys, Dipoto has acquired the likes of first baseman/designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach, who made his first All-Star team this season, and No. 1 pitcher Marco Gonzales, the former Gonzaga U. standout.
He’s been more active in the past in August, when deals could be made after players passed through waivers. But Major League Baseball has changed the rules this season and the old July 31 nonwaiver deadline is now the only one.
“I think one trade deadline is good. I think in an ideal world it would be a little further back on the calendar,” Dipoto told reporters last week. “But hopefully, having just one trade deadline gives teams around the league a chance to definitely get in or get out.”
That means teams have only until Wednesday to decide if they’re buyers or sellers.
For Dipoto, that’s been clear since May, after the M’s returned to Earth following their 13-2 start.
The M’s have already offloaded veteran sluggers Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion.
Will Dipoto make any more moves? That depends.
“Take it as it comes,” Dipoto said. “If there’s opportunity, we’ll jump at it, but we don’t see anything as imminent. We are open to listening to just about any idea.
“Our goal remains the same: We are geared toward building young, sustainable talent for the future.”
Let’s face it, if the M’s roster was loaded with players that other teams wanted, they wouldn’t be in last place in the American League West.
And most of the pieces they might be able to move are currently either on the injured list, ailing or ineffective.
Second baseman Dee Gordon, who can also play shortstop and in the outfield, might’ve given a contender a speedy utility guy, but he’s on the 10-day injured list with a strained left quad. Outfielder Mitch Haniger has been out since June 7 with a ruptured testicle and corner infielder Ryon Healy was just moved to the 60-day IL with lower back stiffness. Closer Hunter Strickland has missed all but four games this season with a right lat strain.
Who knows when Felix Hernandez will pitch again and third baseman Kyle Seager is stuck at the Mendoza Line, batting .200.
Outfielder Domingo Santana, who has 19 homers and 65 RBIs, avoided a trip to the IL last week but has been limited to DH duties with a sore right elbow.
Who does that leave?
Right-hander Mike Leake recently came within three outs of a perfect game and is a consistent innings-eater. But he’s still owed about $25 million beyond this season and has a no-trade clause in his contract, which he seems willing to waive. He’s not an ace, but could slot into the back end of a contender’s rotation.
Former No. 1 overall pick Tim Beckham, signed in the offseason to play short until J.P. Crawford was ready for prime time, has started at six positions and is batting .243 with 15 HRs and 45 RBIs. He could fill a utility role for some team.
Closer Roenis Elias, who has 13 saves despite his inconsistency, is a hard-throwing left-hander who could entice potential playoff teams as he also could serve as a set-up man.
Catcher Omar Narvaez has exceeded all expectations in his first season with the M’s, batting .298 with 16 HRs and 41 RBIs and has improved on defense, but Dipoto likely sees him as part of the future.
That could make for a quiet deadline week for “Trader” Jerry.
Out of left field
Matthew Roberson, a writer/podcaster for Lookout Landing, came up with some alternative texting acronyms for M’s fans to know. Here are a few:
JK: Jesus, Kyle
LOL: Lots of losing
SMH: Sorta miss Healy
NP: No pitching
TBT: The best tank
WWJD: Who will Jerry deal?
TTYL: Table the Yusei love
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