In His Words – Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto

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New Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto met the Seattle media yesterday. Here are some key quotes from his introductory news conference. (You can watch the press conference in its entirety here.)

His approach to building a winner:

“My baseball philosophy is to build flexibility, build versatility, create balance and that will lead to sustainability.”

How to build a roster:

“We want to create a model here that is something that can be sustained year in and year out where we have a steady flow of young players from the minor league system. But you don’t want to quarter that off to just through the draft. You get young players from a lot of different avenues. You get them via the draft, international signs. Right now the doors are wide open on international professional players with the Cuban market and Far East. They are important to tap into. You also acquire these players via trade. You can create a farm system, so to speak, via trade and create multiple layers of players in your system.”

Get creative:

“Whether it be through the primary market—free agent and trade acquisitions—or the secondary market—deals, waivers, smaller trades—minor league deals, you can come up with a very creative roster balance that will allow this team to contend now. I believe that the quality of the core group screams for it. You’ve got too many good players to believe that you’re far away from winning.”

What’s the time-line:

“There will be areas where we improve quickly, and there will be areas where it’s going to require some time. Minor league player development takes a little bit of time. That’s a slow build. It takes time for that to develop. The Major League roster foundation is here. And what we need to do is work in the in-between.”

Workhorse vs. Show horse:

“As I said during my visit with Lloyd McClendon [Monday]… my style is to allow somebody else to focus on what’s happening in the showroom and we’ll go back and work in the engine room and make sure we’re building an organization that can do great things and continue to do great things.”

Home field advantage:

“Safeco Field is a pitcher-friendly environment. It does require a degree of athleticism to cover the ground. It’s an expansive ballpark. Like most other teams, the Mariners are going to win when they pitch it, when they catch it and when they run it down. It’s a unique environment, but I think the narrative is that you can’t hit in Safeco Field. I don’t believe that to be true. They’re hitting right now. It’s a matter of finding the right hitters who fit this ballpark well and the right players to create a roster. I think some of that already exists. We’re going to go out and find the right pieces to augment that group.”

What’s missing:

“If you put together the elements of what is required to be a contending club, I think the one that we are missing right now is just the general roster depth. The lineup needs to be a little bit longer, the rotation needs to be a little bit deeper, the bullpen needs to have more layers than it presently has. That’s something that through hard work, through good scouting, the use of proper analytics, you can turn over a couple of rocks and find a guy here or there and you can create the depth on the roster that allows you to be competitive quickly.”

Talent evaluation:

“If we’re making a decision on a player, we will consider all elements. We’ll consider the quality of the player, the age of the player, the way he fits on our roster, the way he’s performed, the trends that suggest what may come next for him.”

Analytics:

“When I was playing, I was the only active player who was also an active member of SABR (Society for American Baseball Research)… I’ve always been interested in it. I’m a baseball junkie, always have been. I fancy myself a historian, or some have told me that’s the case. I think the game has evolved in ways that we could not have possibly imagined.”

Information is King:

“A very smart baseball person once said to me when making any decision on a baseball field you have to consider what you see and what you know. What we see is the player playing out in front of us. And what we know is what he’s done. And what we can do is come up with some general understanding of what he may do moving forward based on all the elements we talked about earlier – the age of the player, the health of the player, the ballpark he plays in, there are so many key elements. But today, if you’re not using the analysis that’s available to you, information is king. If you’ve got information, you’ve got the key to the universe. And if we’re not using it, we will.”

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