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Dipoto dishes on trade habits on Wheelhouse

Mariners GM recalls unusual deals, discusses his use of emojis and more
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Jerry Dipoto has built a reputation as the most prolific trader in the Major Leagues in his 28 months as Mariners general manager, so it's probably not surprising that some of his 62 deals have come under unusual circumstances.

Speaking on his latest Wheelhouse Podcast, which was released on Friday, Dipoto said he finalized this winter's trade for Dee Gordon via text message with Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill while on a flight back to Seattle from Los Angeles following the team's meeting with Shohei Ohtani.

SEATTLE -- Jerry Dipoto has built a reputation as the most prolific trader in the Major Leagues in his 28 months as Mariners general manager, so it's probably not surprising that some of his 62 deals have come under unusual circumstances.

Speaking on his latest Wheelhouse Podcast, which was released on Friday, Dipoto said he finalized this winter's trade for Dee Gordon via text message with Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill while on a flight back to Seattle from Los Angeles following the team's meeting with Shohei Ohtani.

Listen to the Wheelhouse with Jerry Dipoto

"We were 25,000, 30,0000 feet up when Dee Gordon joined the Mariners," Dipoto said in his conversation with Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith. "Once I landed back in Seattle, Mike asked me if that was the first deal I'd finished over text. I said, 'Mike, c'mon. When you make as many trades as we've made, you tend to do them in weird places or spaces.' But in this one, we were able to push it across in the air."

Video: Dipoto discusses the Mariners acquiring Gordon

Dipoto said most of the work in that deal had already been discussed in earlier phone calls, but he said he traded for lefty Wade LeBlanc for a player to be named in June 2016 strictly via a couple quick text messages with Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins.

Another curiosity of that deal, Dipoto recalled, was that the two sides agreed that if LeBlanc pitched well but later became available again once the Mariners recovered from a spate of injuries to other starters, Seattle would offer him first back to Toronto as the player to be named before placing him on waivers.

"That set up the potential of trading Wade LeBlanc for Wade LeBlanc, which would have been awesome," Dipoto said. "We weren't quite able to get there, but that would have been awesome."

Dipoto also acknowledged that he is among many general managers who use video GIFs and emojis in their texts to each other to convey messages during trade negotiations.

"I can confirm there are many out there that will go fairly deep on the GIFs, and I'm admittedly one of those," he said. "There's a certain sector out there more likely to just play it straight with texts and some where I'll get more creative. And some where I'll get more creative in a sophomoric way, let's say.

"I have a variety of GIFs stemming from 'The Office,' Chris Farley, there's a number of Jim Carrey [GIFs] in my standard bag. There are some that, depending how things go, I have a GIF of Stephen Rea from 'The Crying Game' in the shower.

"You just try to pick the most appropriate one. I've come up from anything you see on the standard emoji board, from the happy face to the steaming pile of poo, and any one of them are in play."

Hot Stove Tracker

Elsewhere in the nearly 50-minute Podcast, Dipoto discussed:

Taylor Motter's hair and a prank the team nearly pulled off on getting him to cut it for charity last Spring Training.

• Two Class A Minor Leaguers being invited to Major League camp this spring -- infielder Jordan Cowan and pitcher Ljay Newsome -- as reward for winning the team's PTPA (productive team plate appearance) competition last season.

• His belief in the importance of "intangibles" in a player as well as the statistical and sabermetric analysis he's known for following. He said many of the Mariners trades are built on bringing players whose personality, work habits and desire fit in with the club they're building, and Dipoto cited veteran utility player Andrew Romine's acquisition this winter as a good example of that.

• The role of the "leverage index" in determining with manager Scott Servais and his coaching staff how the bullpen will be set up for each game when it comes to how everyone outside of closer Edwin Diaz is used.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

 

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