Tomorrow, the Mariners purge continues: A multi-player deal that sends Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano to the Mets - the strongest representation of the franchise tearing everything down, and building from the ground up.
It might be the right thing to do. But I have no reason to trust that it will actually work.
Listen, I fully understand the argument: The M’s are in no-man’s land - good but not good enough to consistently compete with elite teams. Their aging veteran core is too expensive, they need to shed payroll, their farm system is depleted, and they need to acquire a group of young prospects to build a consistent championship contender.
And it might be true. But why should I believe anything anyone has to say?
I mean, this past July, Jerry Dipoto and Scott Servais were both given contract extensions, being rewarded for a job well done when the job itself wasn’t complete.
Just look at the statement from team president Kevin Mather: “Jerry arrived here two and a half years ago with a specific plan for our franchise. He has successfully executed that plan...”
Just five months later, that same GM is blowing it all up. They’re admitting in front of all of us that that “specific plan” failed. Sure, they had a more successful team, but didn’t even reach the playoffs. So now they’re going a completely different direction?
Two weeks ago, Dipoto called 2019 a year “we step back, hoping to take two (steps) forward.” Which means they’re waiving the white flag for next year and probably the next two seasons in the hopes - the HOPES – that they can build something the right way.
I’m sorry, but I’ve seen this story before. Maybe not a total burn-it-all-down-build-it-back-up plan, but the “watch this group grow” around Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak plan. The Mariners Fan Fest specifically built around “The Big Three,” Hultzen and Paxton and Walker, and Jesus Montero one year later.
You might be excited about getting Jarred Kelenic, but a reminder that he’s just 19 years old. A reminder that the Mariners’ track record of developing young prospects is significantly below the Mendoza line. In fact, who else have they developed in the recent past, aside from Kyle Seager and Edwin Diaz?
To me, it’s a different regime with the same old rhetoric. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me six, seven, eight times in 18 years? Shame on me – shame on all of us.
In his time here, Jerry Dipoto has made one outstanding move: acquiring Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger, but there’s not even a guarantee that either one will be with the M’s next season. For every one of those trades, there’s been a trade like the one for Drew Smyly. Less than a year ago, he was raving about his new director of high performance, Lorena Martin, who has since been let go and then accused the franchise of racism.
Now, he’s the guy with the keys to the Mariners castle - the man with full control of doing what no GM has done in franchise history: building a team that actually wins a World Series.
Jerry, for the sake of Mariners fans everywhere, I hope this new plan works.
But this franchise’s history – from development to results - gives me no reason to believe it actually will.