MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Busy Dipoto showing no signs of slowing

Busy Dipoto showing no signs of slowing

Jerry Dipoto is a man in motion.

Never has been one to sit around.

And he is not slowing down one bit.

Sixteen months on the job as general manager of the Mariners, and even diehard Mariners fans need a program to know who's who in the Pacific Northwest.

Crunch some numbers.

With last week's deals that brought veteran pitcher Yovani Gallardo from the Orioles for outfielder Seth Smith, and outfielder Jarrod Dyson from the Royals for right-hander Nathan Karns, Dipoto has now made 34 deals involving 84 player transactions since his hiring on Sept. 26, 2015, according to Greg Johns, who covers the team for MLB.com.

There are only nine players on the 40-man roster today who were on the one Dipoto inherited from predecessor Jack Zduriencik. Heck, only half of the 10-man lineup for Opening Day last April is still around. Dipoto has completely rebuilt the bullpen and overhauled the outfield.

Dipoto has kept together a nucleus of the rotation with Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton, and the middle of the lineup -- Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager.

After that …

Well, there's not a reliever or an outfielder who was on the 40-man roster 16 months ago.

"You are always looking for ways to get better," said Dipoto.

And in the aftermath of his moves last Friday, Dipoto did make it clear he's not planning to hibernate until Spring Training.

"We still have the capability to be creative in looking to add," said Dipoto.

But then, it's not like he has broken up a juggernaut.

The Mariners' 15-year postseason drought is the longest in the big leagues. Since the Mariners won 116 games and the AL West in 2001, they have finished in second place only twice, and they have had a winning record only twice in the last 13 years, including a year ago when they came up three games short in the AL Wild Card race. And the Mariners and Montreal Expos-turned-Washington Nationals are the only teams that have never played a World Series game.

Dipoto on Dyson's defense

Meanwhile, the rest of the AL West has been a postseason factor over the Mariners' 15-year drought. The Angels have made seven appearances, winning the World Series in 2002. The Rangers have advanced four times, making two World Series appearances. The A's have been to the postseason six times, and the Astros have made three trips to the postseason, including a World Series appearance in 2005.

That doesn't sit well with Mariners fans, ownership or club officials.

That's something that the Mariners know needs to change, sooner rather than later.

And that's what has underscored a revamping of the roster to fit what Dipoto is convinced is a better style of play for success at Safeco Field with its heavy air and expansive dimensions.

The focus has been on speed and defense.

The Mariners did rank in the upper echelon in terms of fielding percentage a year ago. But it was more a matter of being able to catch what the players could get to, particularly in the outfield, where the Mariners ranked 24th in the Major Leagues with an .897 ultimate zone rating.

2017 impact for new Mariners

And not only did Seattle rank 24th in the big leagues with 56 stolen bases, but its success rate of 66.7 ranked ahead of only the Rays and Orioles among American League teams.

That was addressed with the offseason deals that brought shortstop Jean Segura, who stole 33 bases last year with the D-backs, and Dyson, who stole 30 bases last year with the Royals. Combining for 63 steals, the pair swiped seven more bases than the entire Mariners roster did a year ago.

With Dyson leading off, Segura hitting second, and Leonys Martin, who led Seattle with 24 stolen bases last year, most likely in the No. 9 slot, the Mariners are aligned to create havoc on the bases.

It's a new look for the Mariners. Jerry Dipoto is a man in motion.

Never has been one to sit around.

And he is not slowing down one bit.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Write 'em Cowboy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.