Dipoto met with the media before Thursday's game vs. the Yankees
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto met with the media before Thursday’s game against the Yankees. He discussed the day’s activity,which included trading for reliever David Phelps and the prospects given up. Dipoto also discussed the starting pitching market as the trade deadline looms and also the Mariners’ recent play on the homestand.
Here’s some of the transcript:
On the trade for David Phelps …
David’s good. Really tested both as a starter and reliever. The last two years primarily a reliever. I think started some games in August of 2016 but otherwise has been under the radar good. He’s averaging 94, 95 with his fastball, has averaged about 11 strikeouts per nine over his last 134 innings. He’s among the hold leaders in MLB over that course of time – opening day 2016 to present. He’s versatile, he can go multiple innings, he can start, he has real stuff. It’s a mid-90s fastball with a well above average curve ball and a cutter that’s really become a weapon for him and allows him to face both the lefts and the rights. He’s a nice guy to have on hand, and from what I understand, a real pro in the clubhouse, too.
On Phelps joining the rotation eventually…
It’s possible. I can’t say right now it’s crossed our minds for 2017, but it’s not something we didn’t consider while we were making the trade. It’s a possibility.
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On Phelps’ role…
Really, anything Scott needs. He becomes perhaps the most versatile reliever we have down there, in some ways, because he has the physical ability to go more than one inning, also has the ability to face both the lefts and the rights, and he has the physical stuff to get strikeouts. Either in a critical situation with runners on base, or getting through toward the end of the game with Edwin.
On trading four prospects in the trade …
It’s always tough to trade prospects. Everyone thinks their guys are better than anyone else does. We hold our guys in a higher esteem than most other guys do. But that’s the going rate, as I understand it, and frankly, since executing the deal, there were probably as many as a dozen teams that were in on David Phelps. And different teams value, or evaluate, players differently. Obvious, Hernandez, the three pitchers, it puts a little hole in the depth in our system. None of them were particularly close to the big leagues, and I’d say all four we qualified as being higher risk type prospects in some way, shape or form — so we’re trading risk for certainty, and we’re trading what is perhaps future surplus for present need.
On if outfield depth in the organization made it easier to move Hernandez …
Yes and no. I can’t say that’s the first thought that comes to mind when talking about a 19-year-old in Everett. But you want to build up as much depth and cache as you can. But so much…generally speaking, the average major leaguer debuts at age 24. So what we’re looking at, over the course of the next five years, are we able to put something in place to fill the void we left by moving Brayan Hernandez, and meeting up with our major league team. And over the course of that time, we’re fairly certain that injury aside, or under performance aside, we’re pretty well positioned with guys like Gamel and Haniger and Heredia and Dyson and O’Neill and Lewis, etcetera. We are in a pretty good place there. So where Brayan Hernandez would have fit with the Mariners, I’m not entirely sure. But we do have five years now to figure out how to fill that void in the organization
On where does control-ability rank in possible deals …
Very high. Very high. It might be a little different if we were positioned like the Astros are positioned today. But we are competing for a wild card spot, by and large. It’s not going to be very easy to catch the Astros at this point, for anybody. Ourselves and anyone else. I don’t think we’re fooling ourselves into believing we’re going to make three magic acquisitions and hunt them down. But we can make acquisitions that help us for the here and now, and through 2018. That has been a primary focus, finding players that are sustainable, that can be part of what we’re doing. We still have a need for David Phelps in 2018. Now moving forward with guys like Vincent, Diaz, Phelps, Pazos, Rzep, people who are in place for multiple years, that’s really appealing to us. And we’re going to continue to pay attention to that. We will continue to try to find pitching that is both sustainable and perhaps long term in its core. We want to find guys that can be part of what we’re doing and grow with. Because that is an area of weakness in the organization.”
On if the trade for Phelps changed their plan to get starting pitch …
“It does and it doesn’t. We have been ear to the street. We have talked to every team in the league regarding starting pitching, and the league demand greatly exceeds the supply. And as a result, the asking price — you think we gave up a lot to get David Phelps? The starting market is particularly high in what the asking prices are in return. We’re going to be realistic in what we can afford to let go. If we are to give away the types of asks that are being requested in return for starting pitching, we want someone who’s not just sustainable for 2017 but for the foreseeable future. The only time we are likely to move what we think are our premium prospects is if we getting a guy who we think fits in our rotation not just for one year and probably not just for a year and a half but more along the lines of multiple years out.”
On the cost of rental pitcher being cheaper?
“It would if the rental cost much less because I don’t think that’s true.”
On Gallardo going back to the rotation
“We sent him to the bullpen, and it would have been very easy with his service and history in the game to pout. He didn’t do it. He went and he dealt for 11 or 12 innings in the bullpen. I think a sub-1 ERA, and the league was hitting .130 against him. Very convincing in what he was doing. His stuff has always been there. The performance wasn’t there much in the first half, but the stuff’s always been there. Now we’re starting to see the results. He deserves another opportunity; he earned it. He’s one of our most experienced starters, so rather than go out on the market and overpay for what we don’t think is an incredibly likely upgrade, why wouldn’t we first explore what we have in-house because that could be all the upgrade we need.”
On how important the last six games were …
“It’s created a good environment. I think you guys are around the club every day. There’s been a lot of energy in our clubhouse. The players are playing hard. Scott, the staff, are all upbeat. It’s fun to be around. But I’ve been saying from the get-go, we weren’t really in position to buy or sell. That’s not really what this year is about. We were kind of buyers of opportunity. With the acquisition of David Phelps, we would have done that regardless. We would have done this if we were 10 games back or a 1 ½ games back. It makes sense for us. He’s 30 years old, he’s very good, and he fills a need for us, not just this year but next. This wasn’t naturally about us getting off to a solid, one-week start to see whether we were going to go buy. We were determining how best we were going to make decisions for the present and future for this franchise.”
On teams declaring themselves buyers and sellers now ….
“I don’t really think that the buyer or seller, it’s getting to be a little outdated. That philosophy is a little outdated. There is no more clear cut ‘we will buy or we will sell.’ But you mentioned rentals. Teams, as they get closer to the deadline, will move the rentals. If you want to stay patient and you want to just wait, you might be able to get a rental for less than 100 percent of the value. But you’re still going to pay somewhat of a premium for a shot-term buy, and I think there are enough teams that are still in it, particularly in the American League, and there are enough teams that are close enough to it in the National League, and there are enough teams that are, quite frankly, rebuilding and don’t have a lot of assets to trade, that it leaves very few, what you’d call, sellers left on the market.”