HOUSTON — Is Jerry Dipoto really done making moves before the activity leading up to Tuesday’s Major League Baseball trade deadline has even started to pick up?

Well, the Mariners general manager is never truly done taking phone calls or sending and responding to texts (many with emojis or GIFs) from other teams when it comes to potential deals.

But after giving up four prospects, including infielders Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo, the organization’s No. 1 and No. 2 prospects, in a trade to acquire Reds ace Luis Castillo late Friday evening, Dipoto didn’t exude his typical certainty when it comes to potential moves to improve his team.

­SAVE FOR SPECIAL SECTION   General Manager Jerry Dipoto works his cell phone Wednesday at Mariners Spring Training.

The Seattle Mariners Spring Training camp is being held at the Peoria Sports Complex, in Peoria, AZ, March 16, 2022. 219852
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“We’ll look for opportunity,” he said in a conference call after the Castillo trade. “We’re still open to the idea of adding a bullpen arm. The chance exists. Although we do think that you know both Diego Castillo and Kenny Giles will be back shortly after the deadline period.”

What about adding another impact hitter to his roster to help an offense that has been inconsistent and unproductive at times, relying heavily on rookie Julio Rodriguez and first baseman Ty France to provide production?


“On the offensive side … again we are open to opportunity, but it’s much harder to see where that is going to happen with (Mitch Haniger) on his way back,” Dipoto said. “We believe he is closer than far away now and actively playing. So we view Mitch and the addition of Kyle Lewis last week as the moves that our offense needed. That being said, we’ll keep our ear to the street in the event that opportunity exists. It’s just a little tougher to see where that might be.”

Is Dipoto playing coy in hopes of gaining some leverage in trade talks? That’s not usually his operating plan and most opposing GMs don’t rely on comments to the media to gauge intent or motivation.

The Mariners bullpen is getting heavily taxed in the games after the All-Star break and the lack of an experienced left-hander out of the bullpen would be useful instead of relying Ryan Borucki.

On offense, the Mariners are averaging 4.05 runs per game with a .235/.317/.387 slash line this season with the league average being 4.25 runs per game with a .242/.309/.394 slash line. A healthy Haniger certainly provides improvement, but Lewis is still relegated to a part-time player. The bigger issue is that everyday players such as Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez have struggled of late. Winker has a .172/.238/.293 since July 1 with three homers and three RBI, while Suarez has a .151/.292/.245 slash line with two doubles, a homer, seven RBI, 10 walks and 23 strikeouts in his last 16 games.

The roster is loaded with utility players, outfielders who are better at designated hitter and two first basemen. That limits the field because many of the available hitters are outfielders or first base/DH types.

Where does Dipoto find opportunity?

Five hitters who could help:

Ian Happ, LF/2B/3B, Cubs

While he’s played mostly outfield this season, Happ has played third base and second base in his career. The Mariners value positional versatility and love switch-hitters. Happ is also under club control for next season, which is an added bonus. In 97 games this season, he’s posted a .284/.366/.444 slash line with 25 doubles, two triples, nine homers, 46 RBI, 42 walks and 86 strikeouts.  


But for all the reasons he fits so well for the Mariners, Happ also fits perfectly for the Padres, Cardinals, Yankees and Dodgers. The asking price might be a bit much.

Whit Merrifield, 2B/OF, Royals

The Mariners contacted K.C. last year about the veteran utility player. The Royals said they would trade Merrifield to the Mariners for Julio Rodriguez. That was an indication that the Royals didn’t really want to trade him. But things are different this season as Merrifield, now 33, has struggled, posting a .243/.292/.348 slash line with 22 doubles, a triple, five homers, 40 RBI and 15 stolen bases. Merrifield is under contract through 2023. He’s also not vaccinated which would be a problem in a playoff series against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

Christian Vazquez, C, Red Sox

Cal Raleigh’s emergence as the primary catcher is a major reason for the Mariners’ recent run of success. But he can’t play every day and the Mariners have already pushed him into playing more than is ideal. It speaks to how poorly Luis Torrens has performed at the plate and behind it. Vazquez, who would be a rental, has a .280/.324/.430 slash line with 19 doubles, eight homers and 30 RBI and would represent a major improvement.  

Brandon Drury, IF, Reds

Well, why not just add the rest of the Reds to the roster? Drury is having a career year going into free agency, posting a .271/.332/.512 slash line with 21 doubles, two triples, 19 homers and 57 RBI in 89 games. But some scouts believe it’s a product of playing at Great American Ballpark. He’s got a .292/.347/.543 slash line with 15 doubles, 11 homers and 36 RBI in 50 games in Cincy vs. a .241/.310/.468 slash line with six doubles, eight homers and 21 RBI in 39 games on the road.

Miguel Andujar, IF, Yankees

A bit of a reach that would come at a cheap cost. Andujar is stuck in Triple-A with no place on the Yankees’ big-league roster. He’s got a .305/.350/.516 slash line with 14 doubles, 11 homers and 43 RBI in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He can play third base, first base and left field. But is he better than Dylan Moore or Sam Haggerty?

Five relievers who could help:

Matt Moore, LHP, Rangers

Once a heralded starter for the Rays, Moore has flourished as a reliever for the Rangers this season, posting a 4-2 record with a 1.66 ERA in 36 appearances. In 48 2/3 innings, he’s struck out 52 batters with 24 walks. He isn’t a left-handed specialist and actually has been more effective vs. right-handed hitters. He’s also had 19 appearances of more than one inning pitched, which has major value.


Andrew Chafin, LHP, Tigers

A rental reliever, Chafin looks like a bouncer at a honky tonk bar in Texas. In 37 appearances, he has a 2.53 record with 39 strikeouts and 10 walks in 32 innings pitched. While the Tigers are also listening to offers on lefty relievers Joe Jimenez and Gregory Soto, the team’s closer, the asking price for Chafin is much less. Chafin also isn’t vaccinated and can’t travel to Toronto.

Michael Fulmer, RHP, Tigers

Another rental reliever, the big draw for Fulmer is his versatility. While he hasn’t done it as much this season, the former starter can work multiple innings if needed. He’s got a 3-4 record and 2.77 ERA in 40 appearances with 38 strikeouts and 20 walks in 39 innings pitched.  

Jorge Lopez, RHP, Orioles

A waivers claim by Baltimore in 2020 and an All-Star in 2022, Lopez has a 4-6 record and 1.68 ERA in 44 appearances. Using a high-90s power sinker and quality slider, Lopez has struck out 54 batters in 48 1/3 innings pitched with 17 walks. Opposing hitters have a .174/.262/.267 slash line against him.

Joe Mantiply, LHP, Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks’ representative in the All-Star Game this season, he would come with a higher prospect price due to club control through the 2026 season. Mantiply has a 2.35 ERA in 42 appearances with 38 strikeouts and only two walks, yes, two, in 38 1/3 innings pitched.