November 24, 2021: MARINERS SIGN INF MARCUS SEMIEN
Jerry works holidays. And for a second time in six years, he makes a splash on Thanksgiving Eve, signing AL MVP finalist Marcus Semien to a 5 year, $113 million deal. Semien, a Gold Glove finalist, fills a defensive hole at 2nd base and can slot into any of the top three spots in the Mariners order (265/334/538/873).
**Plan B: Javier Baez. 5 years, 103 million.
November 29, 2021: MARINERS trade INF ABRAHAM TORO & C LUIS TORRENS to NYM for UT JEFF McNEIL
Jeff McNeil is coming off the only bad season of his four year career, and his in-season dugout scrap with teammate Francisco Lindor might send him out of town. Time to buy low. McNeil, 29, had a slash line of (319/383/501/884) through his first three years with the Mets. He has the contact-rate and hit-to-all-fields approach that the Mariners organization values, even if some teams don't.
You can hit him just about anywhere in the lineup (except 4th) and play him at 2nd, 3rd or LF. Heading out of town: Torrens' bat showed promise in 2021. The glove? Not so much. The same can be said of Toro, who I personally never warmed to as a Mariner acquisition. But both players should have some trade value. McNeil will cost Seattle $2.25m in 2022, but he won't reach free agency until after the 2024 season. Let Perry Hill work with him as the everyday 3B, but he would give the organization flexibility should Jerry feel the urge to add Kris Bryant or trade for Oakland's Matt Chapman.
December 1, 2021: LOCKOUT PUTS OFFSEASON ON HOLD
Damn you, Manfred. Damn you, Tony Clark.
December 2, 2021: LOCKOUT ENDS
It's my offseason wish list, isn't it?
January 3, 2022: MARINERS SIGN FREE AGENT PITCHER JON GRAY
Jerry Dipoto loves spin rate. And Jon Gray is not exactly known for his spin rate. But at age 30, and after a career spent pitching in the thin-air of Colorado, Gray & his 95-MPH fastball could find a nice home in Seattle. Salary forecasts for Gray vary. The crystal ball predicts he signs with Seattle for 4 years, 46 million.
January 15, 2022: MARINERS BLOCKBUSTER!!!
In the biggest (but not boldest) move of the Mariners offseason, Jerry Dipoto rolls the dice on his Mariners' training staff being able to keep one of the game's most talented & most injury-prone players healthy...
MARINERS trade P MATT BRASH, OF TAYLOR TRAMMELL & P JUAN PINTO to MINNESOTA for OF BYRON BUXTON & P DREW STROTMAN
Matt Brash has skyrocketed up prospect lists, and any Mariner fan that follows such things, does not want to think about trading him. But you have to give something to get something. Byron Buxton just can't stay healthy. But when he does, IF he does, he'll be a superstar--an elite defender with power and speed. The Mariners should take that chance on him.
February 4, 2022: MARINERS BRING CONFORTO HOME
Michael Conforto is a PNW guy. Even after 7 years in New York, he remains a PNW guy, even says so on his Twitter profile. Time to bring him home. The Mariners need LH power, and if they wait out Conforto's market, and eat the draft pick compensation they'll owe the Mets for signing a player who received a QO (Qualifying Offer), Scott Servais will get the rotational fourth Outfielder (primary DH) and middle-of-the-order LH bat the lineup will need in 2022. I'm saying Conforto gives his hometown team a hometown discount. 2 years, $35 million.
**Plan B: Kyle Schwarber (3 years, 56 million)
February 11, 2022: MARINERS SIGN DANNY DUFFY
The former Kansas City ace is no longer durable enough to start, but the idea of turning Duffy into a long-relief weapon intrigues me. Analysts claim the experiment could cost a team up to $8 million but perhaps for only a single season. I say, go for it. Seattle adds Duffy just before pitchers and catchers report at 1-year, 7.5 million.
February 21, 2022: MARINERS RE-SIGN JAMES PAXTON
He owes us. 1 year, 3 mill should get it done. Right, James?
AND THEN, THERE'S THE BIGGIE. THE SHOCKER. THE ONE THAT WILL NOT SIT WELL WITH THE MARINER FAN BASE. BUT I THINK JERRY HAS BEEN WAITING A LONG TIME TO MAKE THIS MOVE...
After a productive offseason, after Mariner season tickets have been sold, after Semien jerseys have been ordered and Buxton billboards are plastered throughout the greater Seattle area, Jerry Dipoto drops the hammer...
February 24, 2022: MARINERS trade OF MITCH HANIGER & SP ERIC SWANSON to MIA for SP PABLO LOPEZ & RP RICHARD BLEIER
Moving Haniger after a career year, and his public plea regarding his commitment to delivering Seattle a champion, would NOT be popular. But Jerry does not make it personal. It's business. And the chance to sell at the top of the market on a 31-year outfielder with one-year left on his deal might prove irresistible for a man nicknamed "Trader Jerry". Miami is looking to contend in 2022, and are one of the few teams in the sport with good young pitching to deal. Pablo Lopez is 25, coming off a terrific season, and would slot in as no lower than #2 in the Mariners rotation. Bleier would give the Mariners a much-needed lefty matchup reliever.
I know many of you are angry reading about this proposed trade. But the truth is, this is probably wishful thinking on my part. However, if the Marlins need affordable help on offense. An 8-million dollar player coming off a 40-homer season could be quite the pickup for the NL's version of the Mariners--a young talented team that is done rebuilding and should compete for a division title this year.
FEBRUARY 26, 2022: SPRING TRAINING BEGINS
Bucky and I will be there receiving accolades for reading Jerry's mind throughout the offseason.
MARCH 31, 2022: OPENING DAY
The Mariners Opening Day Lineup:
Bench: Morris, White, Fraley, Murphy & Padlo
(SP Depth: Paxton, Dunn, Sheffield, Kirby)
** As I've mentioned many times on-the-air, I'm waiting til mid-season before adding the #1 Starter the organization will eventually require.
RH: Giles, Sewald, Steckenrider, Castillo, Munoz, Sadler, (Dunn)
LH: Duffy, Sheffield, Bleier, Misiewicz, (Paxton)
PAYROLL ADD: 67.5 million
TOTAL PAYROLL: 112 million (doable)
Hey, let's go end a playoff drought. And after that, who knows?