On Aug. 28, amid a disappointing season, the Mariners announced the firing of General Manager Jack Zduriencik. With Zduriencik at the helm, the Mariners put together a 500-595, the fifth worst record in the majors over that span.
Exactly one month later, the Mariners had a replacement for Zduriencik in place. On Monday, Sept. 28, the Mariners announced the hiring of Jerry Dipoto, the most recent man tasked with righting the sinking ship known as the Seattle Mariners.
“I am thrilled to be here,” Dipoto said at his introductory press conference. “This is a dream job for me.”
The Mariners were the trendy pick to win the American League West and represent the AL in the World Series this season. Things derailed quickly, and the M’s were never able to put everything together to achieve any long term success, and they finished 76-86, 5 games under .500.
That was big step backwards for a team that missed the postseason by just one game last year. Feeling that success was on the horizon, the Mariners made some moves to bolster their roster, bringing in slugger Nelson Cruz to compliment Robinson Canó and budding superstar Kyle Seager.
Cruz proved to be a key addition, however, a pitching staff that led the majors in ERA last season, ranked 22 this season.
Regardless, Dipoto believes that the Mariners are not far off from contending and he made it clear that this is not a long term rebuilding approach.
“We’ll focus on [Seager, Cano, Cruz, Felix] and Taijuan Walker, as the core we’re trying to build around. And we’ll have to be more creative in finding ways to augment around that group, rather than using that group to build a new program,” Dipoto said.
A lingering question heading into the offseason is the status of manager Lloyd McClendon. Many fans believe that he should be replaced, just two seasons into his contract.
McClendon said all the things you would expect to hear out of somebody trying to keep their job.
“It was great. He’s a very energetic, dynamic, intelligent, forward thinking guy. I thought we hit it off pretty good,” McClendon said. “We had very honest discussions about a lot of things. I think it went very well.”
Still, McClendon knows the nature of the business, and nothing is certain heading forward.
“Well, I’m under contract to manage next year, and hopefully I will manage that club,” McClendon said. “Beyond that, if you are looking for security in this game, you are in the wrong business.”
Things should get interesting over the next few months. Dipoto has quite the challenge ahead of him, as he looks to build a roster capable of ending the Mariners’ 14-year playoff drought. However, he has made it clear that he is up to the task.
“I truly look forward to both the challenges and rewards to come as we chart a fresh course for the future of Mariners baseball,” Dipoto said.
AJ may be reached at email@example.com
A northwest native, AJ is a returning college student finishing his journalism degree. He loves everything Seattle sports, and plans to carry that enthusiasm into the sports section of the Spectator this year.