Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto’s mother on CBA says JP Crawford stays as a shortstop


CARLSBAD, California – It’s an environment that Jerry Dipoto can thrive in with great indulgence. No, it wasn’t the lush golf course in the background of the glamorous deck of La Costa Resort & Spa or the 70-degree temperatures and the endless sunshine that kept the general manager of Mariners energized.

Instead, it was surrounded by baseball media at annual general managers meetings answering a series of questions about its team, an off-season full of expectations and ambitions, specific players, and more.

Always elaborate and thoughtful in his answers, Dipoto attracts a crowd at these gatherings because he likes to talk about baseball and doesn’t stop until every question is asked.

At the relatively informal Tuesday afternoon media session that was attended by all American League general managers, Dipoto was one of the first to start answering questions and one of the last that lasted nearly 70 minutes.

Given the length of the discussion, here are some key takeaways.

The discussion about the CBA is a non-starter

While he was more than ready to answer questions about the impending expiration of the collective bargaining agreement between the MLB owners and the MLB players’ association and the potential impact on their off-season process, Dipoto had a similar answer to any variations of it.

“It’s the same, we just go on as usual with the idea that we control what we can control and we are very optimistic that we can continue this business as usual,” he said. “Every year in my career in November we come to the GM meetings, we court free agents, we talk about trades, we do the same things today.”

And controlling what he can control means sticking to the usual routines despite a possible lockout or significant changes to the luxury tax or arbitration in the next collective agreement.

“If that becomes part of my process, then I’m not focusing on what we can do today, which is building our roster within the parameters of the system,” he said. “That’s all we can do.”

JP Crawford is the Mariners’ shortstop

The shortstops free agent class is one of the best in baseball history, with Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story and Javier Baez.

If the Mariners could sign any of these players, they won’t be playing shortstop.

This job belongs to JP Crawford.

“One of the first conversations I had this off-season was with JP,” said Dipoto. “I said to him, ‘Hey, you are our shortstop. You will see that we are courting other shortstops, but with the understanding that the investigation is being conducted with the intent that this player is ready to move to another position. ‘”

The Mariners have spots open daily on the third and second bases.

“This flexibility gives us the chance to target the most effective player we can find,” said Dipoto. “As long as this player is willing not to play shortstop primarily, we should be in the game.”

Correa has said that if the situation is right, he will play third base while the Mariners are interested in Story, who played second and third base in the Rockies minor league system.

A’s as a trading partner?

Dipoto has proven that the mantra of not switching players within the division is “well out of date”. He has made a deal with the Astros as of the reporting date and has made multiple deals with the Rangers and Athletics.

“We made a deal with everyone but the angels,” he said.

With rumors growing that the A’s are trying to swap their core group of players – third baseman Matt Chapman, first baseman Matt Olson, and pitchers Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt and Lou Trivino – who are all now eligible to arbitrate, become the Mariners one of the many interested trading partners.

“I don’t know if they’ll do it or not,” Dipoto said. “But I can tell you we will talk to you a lot.”

The Mariners have an interest in Chapman to fill their third base hole, while both Manaea and Bassitt are proven MLB starters who would meet immediate need.

“We like them all,” said Dipoto. “We have traded with them before. Sometimes it worked out better than others. “

Suzuki in the outfield?

No, Ichiro is not making a comeback to play for the Mariners. Although he probably thinks he can still contribute, and still trains daily at the T-Mobile Park.

But with Yusei Kikuchi declining his player option, the Mariners could enter the 2020 season for the first time since 1997 without a Japanese player in the 40-man roster.

That could change when outfielder Seiya Suzuki is accepted by his team into the Nippon Professional Baseball League and becomes available as a free agent. The Mariners have a legitimate interest in Suzuki, who posted a .319 / .436 / .640 slash line for Hiroshima last season with 26 doubles, 38 homers, 88 RBI, 87 walks and 86 strikeouts.

“I think Seiya is a wonderful player,” said Dipoto. “We had a great opportunity to explore it. We saw him far and wide in the video and we saw him live. I will say we will not choose to start the season without a Japanese player. There are always options. “

Injury Updates

Kyle Lewis’ readiness for spring training due to his troublesome left knee is still largely unknown to Dipoto and the Mariners. After missing the first 17 games of the season due to a bruised left knee, the 2020 American League Rookie of the Year played in just 36 games for Seattle in his second season. On May 31, he suffered a tear in the meniscus in his left knee, which later had to be operated on. Lewis suffered a setback in September while running the bases at his rehab and was closed for the season.

“We don’t know is the real answer to the question,” Dipoto said. “We expect he will be back when we get to spring practice and we have no idea what he will be capable of until we see it.”

Lewis has not undergone any other knee surgery.

“He rehabilitated and rehabilitated from the one procedure he had and he had no other invasive procedures, but he had some care,” Dipoto said.

Dipoto made no “care” claims, but some athletes have used platelet-rich plasma injections into troublesome injuries to aid the healing process.

“I know Kyle is feeling better, but he doesn’t do any kind of baseball activity,” he said. “It’s a very wait and see process. We have to plan our off-season as if what he gives us is a bonus. We assume it will look like midfield, plus leftfield, plus DH and I don’t know if I deal out percentages I don’t know what position will be what percentage until we see it move. “

Evan White (Hip Surgery) cleared up for baseball activities 10 days ago and tees off a tee. It is expected that he will be ready for action by the beginning of spring training.

Justin Dunn (shoulder strain) has been cleared to participate in normal off-season activities and throwing programs.

Nick Margevicius (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Surgery) has been cleared to resume training and off-season throwing.

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