Dipoto says further trades 'highly unlikely'
Seattle GM completed deals for Lind, Miley, Scribner at Winter Meetings
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- As the dust settled on the final full day of the Winter Meetings at the Opryland Hotel on Wednesday evening, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto took a deep breath and pronounced himself satisfied that the bulk of his work this offseason is now done.
After making one trade in each of the three days in Nashville and continuing to lead all Major League teams in offseason activity, Dipoto said it is "highly unlikely" any more moves are on the immediate horizon.
"We've done a lot of business the last two months," said the new Seattle GM. "But I like the way our team has shaped up. It's a more complete and well-rounded team. The mix is good. I don't see a position on the field that looks like a sinkhole. We've built a good, solid group and we've raised the floor."
Dipoto will add one -- possibly two -- free-agent relievers in the coming weeks, but the position-player portion of the roster is nearly settled. Outside of competition for two backup infield spots, he can literally name the expected Opening Day roster now, assuming all things go as planned.
Jesus Montero will get a shot to be the right-handed backup to first baseman Adam Lind, who was acquired by trade from Milwaukee on Wednesday. A veteran non-roster invitee might be brought in to add depth and competition, but the position appears to be Montero's to lose.
With Lind at first, Robinson Cano at second, Ketel Marte at short and Kyle Seager at third, the starting infield is set. Chris Taylor, Luis Sardinas and Shawn O'Malley will compete for the backup middle-infield spot. Steve Clevenger and Mike Zunino will duel for the backup catcher spot behind Chris Iannetta. The outfield will consist of Nori Aoki, Leonys Martin, Seth Smith, Franklin Gutierrez and Nelson Cruz, with Cruz ticketed for increased time at designated hitter.
"We'll rotate those corner guys through DH and both corners," Dipoto said. "It gives us a pretty flexible lineup, particularly against right-handed pitching. Against lefties, it'll be contingent on what happens with the alternate player to Adam Lind on how dynamic we are there. But when you have guys like Iannetta and Gutierrez who excel against left-handed pitching and the middle of our order, those guys hit both ways. And Aoki is quite good against lefties."
Dipoto feels the bullpen needs another arm or two, but he's confident the addition of Joaquin Benoit, Justin De Fratus, Evan Scribner and Anthony Bass can team with returners Charlie Furbush, Vidal Nuno and Tony Zych to provide a solid group.
"We've picked up pieces that may not be household names, but they all have a chance to contribute," Dipoto said. "With one and maybe two more additions, I like the way it shapes up for us."
The rotation is completely set, with Felix Hernandez, Wade Miley, Taijuan Walker, Nathan Karns and James Paxton backed up by Nuno and Mike Montgomery.
In other news Wednesday:
• Dipoto said it's unlikely the Mariners will make a selection in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, as their 40-man roster is now full. A move could be made to create an opening, but there's no apparent roster spot where the club could carry a Rule 5 rookie for the coming season. The Mariners have the 11th pick in the Rule 5 Draft, which is scheduled for 7 a.m. PT.
• The Mariners acquired a player to be named from last week's trade with the Braves for reliever Jose Ramirez. Dipoto said that player would be revealed after the Rule 5 Draft but will not be a 40-man roster addition.