Dipoto anticipates 'moderate' offseason

Mariners likely won't make major adds to big league roster

September 29th, 2019

SEATTLE -- While the offseason hasn’t yet begun and Major League teams won’t get into free agency and trading scenarios until after the postseason ends in late October, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto already knows that this winter will be different for his club.

The man who has built a reputation as the most active GM in baseball expects things to be quieter this offseason, as the plan now is to let the young and upcoming talent begin to mature together rather than continue churning a roster that used an MLB record 67 players in 2019.

With the arrival of top prospects Kyle Lewis, Shed Long, Justus Sheffield, Justin Dunn and Jake Fraley this September, and more talent like Jarred Kelenic, Evan White, Logan Gilbert, Cal Raleigh and others waiting in the wings, Dipoto said that he doesn't plan on bringing in veterans to block their progress.

While the Mariners could add a veteran starter or two for rotation depth and test the waters for bullpen help, don’t expect a flurry of moves like last winter as the club starts moving forward.

“We’ll likely not to be very engaged in the trade market in more than a peripheral way, because by and large, the players we have are the players we want to grow forward with,” Dipoto said. “Could opportunity jump up and grab us? Possibly. So I don’t want to shut it off as no chance at all, but very unlikely.

“This will be a little different offseason than you’ve seen from us, particularly last year’s. But even years prior, 2016-18, we were so much about making peripheral moves to augment what we thought was a contending core. This is a different scenario. We’re growing a young core and we have to give them an opportunity to play.”

Dipoto said that the Mariners would pursue some Minor League free agents after hitting big on Dylan Moore and Austin Nola in that market this year, and they would likely be active in the Rule 5 Draft again after landing Brandon Brennan last offseason.

But while Dipoto is never one to say never when it comes to making moves, he insists that his trade dealings will be “moderate” and free agency will involve primarily adding depth to the pitching core.

“You probably take it with a grain of salt because I’m the one saying it, but I don’t think we’re going to be particularly active outside of what I’d call the secondary market,” Dipoto said.

Adams’ surgery delayed by blood clot

Reliever Austin Adams said that the impending ACL surgery on his left knee has been delayed after doctors discovered a blood clot in his left calf as a result of the injury he incurred in Baltimore last Saturday.

Adams is flying home to Florida on Monday and said that he expects to have the surgery in the next few weeks, once he can get off the blood-thinning medication that he’s on to deal with the clot.

“It’s not pushed back drastically, but a week or two,” he said. “They’re not too concerned with it. But the blood clot is throwing some things off right now.”

Adams is expected to miss 6-8 months, which puts him on a return for around midseason next year.

Fraley progressing from thumb injury

Fraley, the Mariners’ No. 8 prospect by MLB Pipeline, will have his sprained right thumb in a splint for about two more weeks and then have several weeks of physical therapy before being cleared to return to normal activity in plenty of time to get ready for next spring.

Fraley played 12 games with the Mariners after being called up from Triple-A Tacoma in late August before injuring the thumb on Sept. 7 and being sidelined for the remainder of the year

“I’ll have a completely healthy and normal offseason to get ready for next year,” the 24-year-old said. “It’s still sore and painful with some things, but it’s getting better.”

Milone won't pitch in season finale

Lefty Tommy Milone is dealing with some shoulder fatigue, according to manager Scott Servais. So instead of using Milone as the “bulk innings reliever” after Dunn pitches the first 2-3 innings of Sunday’s season finale against the A's, the Mariners will go with an assortment of relievers.