A few weeks ago at Major League Baseball GM meetings, the line of conduct used by team leaders when it came to thinking and planning for the offseason was ‘business as usual’ .
It didn’t matter that the collective agreement between the owners and the MLB Players Association expired after December 1 with a planned lockout, involving a freeze on all transactions, to be enacted on December 2.
They apparently weren’t going to let the impending shutdown dictate how they hit their offseason goals.
Now, three weeks later, has business remained as usual?
âThis month has been a bit rushed,â Jerry Dipoto, president of baseball operations for the Mariners, said in a video press conference on Saturday. âIt was fun – the activity of discussing trades with other teams, interacting and meeting with free agents. We originally planned to sit down to three or four, but that number doubled in no time. We’ve been separated by the holidays, but otherwise we’ve had at least one meeting a day for about the last week and we’re ready to do the same thing, you know, before this week. I like the rhythm right now. It was a blast.
He’s gearing up for what could be chaos four days before the CBA expires.
âI wouldn’t call it chaotic,â Dipoto said. âIt’s just fun. We’re listening and we’re going to keep trying to push and add players and that’s mostly because there seems to be a sense of urgency in the industry. We want to make sure we’re on the same page.
Dipoto was speaking to the media on Saturday morning after concluding a trade with the Padres that brought infielder / outfielder Adam Frazier to Seattle in exchange for two minor-league prospects.
It was an acquisition of opportunity. The Padres had roster issues and the Mariners were able to add a solid player who can play in multiple positions. Dipoto was adamant that the addition of Frazier won’t stop them from trying to sign at least one of the most impactful infielders in the free agent market, such as Marcus Semien, Trevor Story or Kris. Bryant.
“We had talked about the idea of ââidentifying how we were going to fill these player positions,” said Dipoto. âOnce we could connect with it, and it looked like we were going to be able to acquire Adam Frazier, we were able to start spreading our wings in different places. Because that meant he was a player we weren’t going to have in the free agent market. It was more of a fixed cost for us. While we don’t have a specific number, we generally know what Adam Frazier’s rate of pay will be, which then allowed us to better assess how far our dollars could go in the free agent market, which allowed us to reach out and connect with our best pitching targets. Rather, that’s what doubled our meeting sessions.
These meetings resulted in two firm contract offers to the players.
âWe have two offers on the table, one which I would say is remarkable,â said Dipoto.
Who is it?
âI’ll tell you later,â Dipoto said with a chuckle.
But that little comment fueled speculation from Mariners fans on social media.
Could Seattle outbid the Yankees, Giants and White Sox for Semien? Would the Mariners give versatile Bryant a seven-year contract? Or will Story be signed as an everyday second baseman with Frazier on the move?
Along with the trio of Bryant, Semien and Story, the Mariners are also looking for starting pitchers. The supply of weapons to free agents has been cut in recent weeks, with seven launchers signing contracts. There are still front row starters like right-hander Marcus Stroman and Kevin Gausman and left-hander Robbie Ray, who won the AL Cy Young in 2021, as well as depth throwers at the back of the rotation like left-hander Tyler. Anderson.
There is also always potential for trading with the A’s and the Reds, who are actively buying top players.
Dipoto said, “You can’t help but get excited as a baseball player or a baseball fan.”