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Inbox: Dyson or Segura leading off for Seattle?

Beat reporter Greg Johns answers fans' questions
January 16, 2017

With Jarrod Dyson now in the mix, does Jean Segura still lead off or does he slide into the No. 2 slot? -- Michael V., SeattleGeneral manager Jerry Dipoto will leave it to manager Scott Servais to work out the lineup structure, which figures to be one of the interesting

With Jarrod Dyson now in the mix, does Jean Segura still lead off or does he slide into the No. 2 slot?
-- Michael V., Seattle

General manager Jerry Dipoto will leave it to manager Scott Servais to work out the lineup structure, which figures to be one of the interesting things to watch this spring with the speedsters Dyson and Segura now in tandem. Both have hit leadoff at times, and it's a safe bet they'll hit one-two in some combination, with Leonys Martin -- another good base stealer -- likely batting in the ninth spot.
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If I had a guess, I'd think Dyson will wind up leading off since he's left-handed, and his outstanding speed would set the right-handed Segura -- who is a better hitter -- up for more fastballs in the No. 2 spot. And that would alternate left-right-left with Robinson Cano batting third, followed by Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager. But stay tuned on all that.
How do you see the Mariners dividing up the late-inning bullpen? Assuming Edwin Diaz is the closer, where does that leave Dan Altavilla and Steve Cishek? Does this leave any room for a newcomer like Thyago Vieira?
-- Sam G., Meadville, Pa.

Diaz cemented the closer role with his electric performance over the final two months as a rookie. Cishek was very effective in a right-handed setup role after being replaced by Diaz, once he returned from disabled list, but he's recovering from hip surgery and might not be ready at the start of the season.

Altavilla was impressive after his late-season promotion (0.73 ERA in 15 appearances) and certainly will be in the late-inning picture, along with new lefty specialist Marc Rzepczynski. Tony Zych should be healthy again this spring as well and Dipoto just traded for another right-handed power arm in Shae Simmons from Atlanta. Vieira is another young flamethrower, but he was in High Class A Bakersfield last year and will likely open in Double-A this season, looking to continue harnessing his 100-mph heat.
With Felix Hernandez's massive salary and diminishing skills, would the Mariners be open to trading him while he still has value?
-- Travis M., Seattle

Given Dipoto's willingness to deal, I'm not about to say it could never happen. But it's pretty close to a zero chance. Dipoto has built around the nucleus of Hernandez, Cano, Cruz and Seager, and he needs Hernandez to be a quality starter atop the rotation for this team to succeed.
Hernandez may no longer be one of baseball's elite aces, but he remains a solid No. 1 starter and those aren't easy to find. Even in a down year, Hernandez was 11-8 with a 3.82 ERA last year and the Mariners were a much better team when he was healthy. They're counting on him coming to camp in top shape and ready to lead the rotation again. It's also worth noting that having 10-5 rights (10 years in MLB and five or more with his current team), Hernandez can decline any trade if he chooses.

Are there any reports of Danny Hultzen making another showing in Peoria this year?
-- Russell C., Washington, D.C.

Hultzen won't be at Mariners camp this spring. The former first-rounder became a free agent in November and is planning on spending this year going to school and continuing to recover from yet another surgery on his left shoulder after a setback last spring, with the hope of taking another shot with a team in 2018.
Will the Mariners get Andrew McCutchen, or is that just a dream?
-- Doug B., Keizer, Ore.

That always seemed an extreme long shot for the Mariners -- and frankly most teams given the Pirates' understandably high asking price -- and there is no way it happens now that Dipoto acquired Dyson and pronounced his position-player dealings likely done for the winter.
Do you think Mark Trumbo or Mike Napoli still could be an option for a little more punch in the offense?
-- Robert, Everett, Wash.

Again, Dipoto feels the offense is now set. He's pushed more to add speed and defense this offseason rather than boppers like Trumbo or Napoli, given the club already has pretty significant power. This will be a team more capable of creating runs rather than relying so much on the long ball.

Do you get the impression that the World Baseball Classic is an issue with teams as they prepare for the upcoming season?
-- Butch W., Tumwater, Wash.

I would agree that most teams likely prefer not to see their spring camps interrupted every four years by the Classic, but the tournament was put together by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players' Association in 2006 as an international celebration of the game and interest continues to grow as it heads into its fourth tournament this spring.
Players seem genuinely eager to represent their countries and GMs are generally supportive. Rules are in place to protect pitchers from being overused and Classic clubs communicate closely with MLB teams about how players are used. Dipoto is fully supportive of his players participating and takes the approach that it can only be helpful if they work hard in the offseason to stay in shape in order to be ready to compete for their Classic teams as well as the Mariners.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter [

@GregJohnsMLB]() and listen to his podcast.