Posted on July 6, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
When Jerry Dipoto took over as GM of the Seattle Mariners in September 2015, he set out to end what is now the longest playoff drought in baseball. He hasn’t quite gotten there yet, but the team is willing to give him more time to try. On Friday, the Mariners announced that they have signed Dipoto to an extension. Terms of the extension were not disclosed. However, Dipoto’s original three-year deal was set to expire at the end of the season. His future beyond this season is now secure whether the Mariners break that drought this season or not.
“Jerry arrived here two-and-a-half years ago with a specific plan for our franchise,” Mariners president and CEO Kevin Mather said in a statement. “He has successfully executed that plan, resulting in a younger, more athletic and, most importantly, far more successful Major League team.
“At the same time, he has upgraded nearly every aspect of our overall baseball operation, improving systems, staff and communication in our Major League operations, our Player Development system, our Pro and Amateur scouting departments and our revamped High-Performance Area.”
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The Mariners improved their win total by 10 games between 2015 and 2016, Dipoto’s first season at the helm. They took a step backward last year, in large part because of injuries. But Dipoto stuck to his plan, continued to make bold choices, and it has paid off thus far. The Mariners began Friday 56-32, just 1.5 games behind the reigning world champion Astros in the AL West. They also hold a 7.5-game lead for the second wild-card spot, putting them in a great position to reach the postseason for the first time since 2001.
Seattle’s success this season is a culmination of nearly three years of Dipoto completely overhauling the team’s roster. No team has made more trades than the Mariners since Dipoto took over, and it’s not even close. He’s acquired players like Dee Gordon, Jean Segura, and Mitch Haniger, as well as pitchers like Marco Gonzales and Wade LeBlanc, all of whom have become key contributors to Seattle’s success. He’s also used the club’s farm system creatively, unafraid to take chances and make mistakes. Dipotos bold moves have helped turned the Mariners into one of the biggest surprises in baseball this season.
“As I said when I arrived here, I believe this organization has every opportunity to be successful on a consistent basis,” Dipoto said Friday. “The combination of a supportive ownership group, great ballpark, passionate fan base, and beautiful city gives us all the tools we need to consistently compete for division titles, and division titles give us the opportunity to attain our primary goal: winning the World Series here in Seattle.”
Naturally, the job is far from done. The Mariners have not yet secured a playoff birth. They are also likely to face some of the best teams in baseball if they hope to get anywhere in the postseason. However, Dipoto has proven that his bold and unconventional approach can work. Clearly, the Mariners have enjoyed the ride over the last three years and are looking forward to Dipoto pulling the strings a little while longer.