New Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto’s Major Trade History and Grades

Unlike his predecessor, new Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has previous experience as a top decision-maker (for lack of a better term) in a major leaguefront office.

Dipoto presided over the Arizona Diamondbacks for a short spell as the Snakes went through a transition period. The GM shipped off a number of key players.

Following his stint in the desert, Dipoto took over as the general manager of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

However, before we get to the spending and all-in moves made by Dipoto in Anaheim, his tenure in Arizona must be properly gone over with a fine-tooth comb—at least in terms of his trades.

Dipoto made a few major trades in Arizona. The most prominent of which occurred on July 25th, 2010 when he dealt Dan Haren to the Angels for Tyler Skaggs, Rafael Rodriguez, Joe Saunders and Patrick Corbin.

Haren was generally pretty outstanding in a Diamondbacks’ jersey. He earned All-Star nods in 2008 and 2009 while finishing fifth in the Cy Young voting in ’09. Over the two seasons he went 30-18 with a sparkling 3.23 ERA and 429 strikeouts in 445.1 innings pitched. His FIP was an even more outstanding 3.12. Haren led the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio in both 2008 and 2009.

The 2010 season was different for Haren. He went 7-8 with a 4.60 ERA in 21 starts. His FIP was a still-respectable 3.88, but it was clear his numbers were nowhere near his usual best. So with the Diamondbacks struggling, Dipoto sent Haren packing to his future employers in Anaheim.

The Haren trade was actually sneaky-good, in retrospect, for the Diamondbacks. Despite the ace posting an impressive 13.2 WAR in two-and-a-half seasons in the desert, he was traded. Haren was essentially dealt for three starting pitcher (Rodriguez threw 2.2 innings for the D-Backs and hasn’t seen the Majors since).

The first pitcher, Skaggs, posted a 5.43 ERA in 13 career starts for the Diamondbacks. The young pitcher was never quite able to put it together in Arizona. Dipoto later acquired Skaggs during his tenure in Anaheim. Skaggs and Adam Eaton to the Angels and White Sox respectively for Mark Trumbo (who strangely enough, was just dealt to Seattle a few months ago).

Saunders was extremely dependable as a member of Arizona’s rotation. He posted a 3.96 ERA in 424.2 innings for the D-Backs, serving as an innings eater. He only won 21 games in three seasons with Arizona, but was worth a 2.1 WAR.

Last-but-not-least,Patrick Corbin is the centerpiece of the deal. The starting pitcher has won 26 games in his three seasons with Arizona. He made the All Star team in 2013 and posted a 14-8 record with a 3.41 ERA and 178 strikeouts in 208.1 innings pitched. He missed 2014, but came back to post a 3.60 ERA in 16 starts this season. The 26-year-old is clearly one to build around for the D-Backs.

Haren never posted the brilliant stats he did in Arizona after leaving the desert. The fact that Dipoto received three major league starters for Haren, including an All Star and frontline starter in Corbin, makes the trade a win for him. Dealing an ace is never easy, but when you acquire three big-league starters, it’s looked at as a win—especially when one of the three has the potential to be a front-line starter for the foreseeable future.

Trade Grade: A

Five days after that Dipoto sent Edwin Jackson to the Chicago White Sox for David Holmberg and Daniel Hudson. Continue reading

Seattle Mariners: Mark Trumbo’s Early (Lack of) Impact

The Seattle Mariners offense is struggling. Despite the offseason addition of Nelson Cruz and the presence of Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager, the M’s offense is in a rut. Entering the week, only the White Sox and Phillies had scored fewer runs.

Given all these factors, the addition of Mark Trumbo would seem like the best early Christmas present known to man. Yeah… not so much.

Trumbo’s early impact, or lack thereof, has been staggering considering the slugger’s track record.

The former Angel was a massive hit for his hometown team, averaging 32 home runs, 94 RBI and a .251 average over three full seasons with the Halos. The M’s needed that Trumbo, not the one they acquired. The first baseman/corner outfielder/designated hitter (he basically plays every “power” position on the diamond) had a rough go of things in Arizona. With the Diamondbacks he tallied 23 bombs, 84 RBI and 128 strikeouts in 134 games. Those aren’t that awful numbers, but when you consider the stats were accumulated over the course of two seasons, it encourages pause.

The Mariners certainly gave up some quality pieces to bring a player who once finished second in Rookie of the Year voting and appeared in an All Star game during his first two seasons.

Out went Welington Castro, Dominic Leone and minor league prospects Gabriel Guerrero and Jack Reinheimer.

(It should be noted that reliever/swing man Vidal Nuno made the move north with Trumbo in the transaction, so the M’s upgraded their bullpen to some extent).

Losing Castillo is the most prominent negative here. Yes, Leone had his moments last season in relief, but he struggled this year and Nuno is likely an upgrade over the now-former Mariner.

Seattle’s catching situation is pretty straight forward. Mike Zunino is the starter and Jesus Sucre is the backup. However, Zunino is hitting .158 with a .230 OBP while Sucre is scuffling with the bat. His batting average, OBP and slugging percentage are all .043. He owns the rare distinction having an OPS under .100. Yes, that’s right, Jesus Sucre’s OPS is .087. Yikes.

So why is this being mentioned? Because Welington Castro happens to be a career .251 hitter, who at his best hits somewhere in the .260-.270 neighborhood.

Why he was dealt for a struggling Trumbo is puzzling.

Trumbo put up half-way decent numbers (9 home runs, 23 RBI, .805 OPS) in 46 games in the desert prior to the trade—however, Seattle was already well-stocked in the first-baseman/corner outfielder/designated hitter areas. In fact, they had a log jam on their hands. Logan Morrison was/is entrenched at first base, while the pre-Trumbo corner outfield/DH candidates included Nelson Cruz, Seth Smith, Justin Ruggiano and Dustin Ackley. James Jones has also received at-bats in the outfield.

Adding Trumbo to this mix makes sense if the Trumbo in question is the one who suited up for the Angels. However, sacrificing an above-average offensive catcher (Castillo) and two prospects for the Trumbo who suited up for the D-Backs is, in layman’s terms, a bad deal.

Losing Castillo hurts catcher production, while adding Trumbo to a position where there is a surplus only rubs salt in the wound. While Zunino is clearly the starting catcher, he’s struggling with the bat, as is his cover, Sucre. Sacrificing offensively behind the dish is fine trade-off when you acquire pre-Diamondback Mark Trumbo, but sacrificing behind the dish for a player who hit entered the week hitting .179 as a Mariner… well, then you have some problems.

The Mark Trumbo acquisition will be a win for the Mariners if the slugger can regain the form he displayed with the Angels, however if he continues his downward trajectory, the M’s may soon come to regret the trade.

All stats courtesy of unless otherwise noted.

The Collective Genius of Pete Carroll and John Schneider

Leon Washington averaged nearly 10 yards per return on punts over the course of his career. That means punts he returns go from the 10 to the 20, 20 to the 30 and so forth. Now, obviously that isn’t going to happen every play, but having someone who can give you an extra 10 yards instead of a fair catch or touchback on a punt/kick return can have its advantages. Especially when that same someone has the ability to return a kick for a touchdown. (Washington is tied for first in freaking NFL history in kick return touchdowns. The magic number is eight.)

The Seahawks’ price of admission: moving down two rounds from the fifth round to the seventh.

Brandon Browner is widely perceived as one of the better, if not physical, cornerbacks in the entire league. He’s a highly penalized player at times, but consistently draws one of the opposing team’s top threats and comes out either on top or close to it. Browner also made the Pro Bowl last year and probably would have this year if it weren’t for his four-game suspension.

Seahawks’ price of admission: paying his contract. They signed out of the CFL, where, to his credit, he was a three-time All-Star.

Carroll and Schneider have also found a countless number of contributors in all portions of the NFL Draft.

Bobby Wagner was originally touted as too small to play linebacker in the NFL. He led the top scoring defense in the league in tackles his rookie year.

KJ Wright was a fourth-round choice who has gradually turned into one of the better young linebackers in the league. He’s shown his versatility on defense, starting at both the middle and outside linebacker spots at certain points in his career.

Kam Chancellor might be one of, if not the best find of the bunch. Towering over opponents (unless of course, Randy Johnson was to suit up) in the defensive backfield, Chancellor is one of the harder hitters in the league and makes you think twice about leaping for a catch in his vicinity. He also went to the Pro Bowl last year. Draft slot 133rd overall. That’s in the fifth round for anyone who isn’t a super draft genius.

Richard Sherman might be the best cornerback in the the league. Period. The Hawks found him in the fifth round.

And of course there is Russell Wilson who not only tied Peyton Manning’s NFL Rookie record for most touchdown passes in a season with 26, but also was the first rookie QB since the merger to go undefeated at home.

The Seahawks’ brass has also found countless gems in the even-later stages of the draft, JR Sweezey, Greg Scruggs, Jeron Johnson and Jeremy Lane all have made impacts at times.

One of the things that makes the Seahawks’ front office tandem special is because of something they didn’t do. They could have easily tried to replicate Carroll’s USC success and go get every USC guy on the open market. While the team might have been good, it would have seemed too easy or just not right at all. Before you would have known it, USC North signs and the like would probably be popping up everywhere here to Omak.

But they did pick and choose their moments with USC players. After all, they probably would have the best scouting report in the league. Malcolm Smith looks like a long-term answer at linebacker as well as Anthony McCoy, who looks to be also in the team’s long-term plans. McCoy was low on draft boards due to off-the-field problems. Talent wise it was there, maybe not off the field. He’s doing great in Seattle with Carroll and looks to, as stated, be with the team for the long haul.

The one name we have forgotten to mention is Marshawn Lynch’s. You can’t forget beast mode. The Seahawks probably wouldn’t be as far along as they are now without Lynch. He was stolen from the Bills for a couple of mid-round draft picks.

Pete Carroll and John Schneider have done an outstanding job. It certainly makes you forget about the down year we had with Jim Mora.

If I missed any late-round gems, or other great acquisitions the Seahawks made, tell me about it in the acquisitions.