By Tim Booth | The Associated Press
SEATTLE — Jerry Dipoto expected a quiet lead-up to the trade deadline. The only player the Seattle Mariners general manager knew he wanted to and could move with ease was pitcher Taijuan Walker.
The last thing Dipoto planned on was a massive seven-player swap that ended up landing the Mariners a couple of prime prospects they have long coveted.
“We’re excited about the group we’re building,” Dipoto said. “Frankly, when we made the Taijuan Walker deal, I really did think that we were probably done and that would be the extent of our activity. But it took on a little bit of a different light.”
Seattle ended up making four trades before Monday’s deadline, but the most notable was the seven-player deal with San Diego that landed the Mariners four players with the potential to contribute to their rebuilding plans.
Taylor Trammell, one of the top 100 prospects in the minors, headlined the trade. But the depth of the deal is what made it successful for the Mariners, who also added infielder Ty France, pitcher Andres Muñoz and catcher Luis Torrens.
Torrens and France will get the chance to play for the Mariners during the final month of the season. Muñoz probably won’t be a contributor until the middle of 2021 as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
And Trammell? He’s headed to Seattle’s alternate training site for the rest of this season to join a stable of talented outfield prospects that could all be ready for the majors around the same time.
“It feels almost impossible to imagine that, from the time we started this process in September of 2018 to where we are today, that it could have gone much better,” Dipoto said.
“Certainly we’ve not hit on everything that we’ve done, and we never expected to. And we know that attrition will not allow this to go 100 percent as we had planned. Which is why continuing to create layers and waves, and build that depth that’s critical to building from within, is an important factor, and we’ll continue to do that.”
Seattle is on pace to finish with another losing record in the truncated 60-game season, but in Dipoto’s eyes, the season will be viewed as a success. The team has seen outfielder Kyle Lewis blossom into a contender for AL rookie of the year. J.P. Crawford looks to be the club’s shortstop for the future. Justus Sheffield appears to have locked up a spot in the pitching rotation, and while Evan White has struggled at the plate, his defensive prowess developed in college and the minors has been apparent.
But Dipoto noted that’s only half of what Seattle is developing with its eye on the future. He’s been pleased with the work being accomplished at the team’s alternate training site at its Triple-A facility, where top prospects Jarred Kelenic, Logan Gilbert, Emerson Hancock and others have been getting regular work.
It’s not the same as what they would have received with the major league club, but it’s keeping the Mariners’ rebuilding plan going forward.
“I hate to say when you’re not winning games at the major league level with the frequency that we would like that it’s going extraordinarily well, but it’s going better than extraordinarily well for us,” Dipoto said. “Over the last year and a half, I’m not sure we could have painted a picture that has gone much better, learning so much about our young players, watching prospects continue to develop.”
The third and final game Thursday of Oakland’s series at Seattle has been postponed to allow for additional testing and contact tracing after a member of the Athletics’ organization tested positive for the coronavirus.
The first two games in the series scheduled for yesterday and today had previously been put off.
Major League Baseball said the games will be made up with a doubleheader in Seattle on Sept. 14 and another in Oakland on Sept. 26.