Jerry Dipoto Does Not Care About Your Friday Plans

Whatever else you might say about Jerry Dipoto, he’s demonstrated an indomitable desire to engage in trades. Big trades, little trades, all sorts of trades. And with injuries and Robinson Canó’s suspension forcing Dee Gordon to move back to the infield (before going on the disabled list himself), and with an extra $11 million of loose change suddenly freed up by Canó’s absence, it seemed likely that Dipoto would ride again, provided he could find a willing partner.

This afternoon, Dipoto found his man, or men rather. Per Marc Topkin.

The Mariners will also receive $4.75 million in cash considerations, so not all the Canó money is spent. The deal makes all the sense in the world for the Mariners. Denard Span and his heretofore 114 wRC+ will provide additional depth in a suddenly thin outfield, with Dipoto indicating that the initial plan is for Span to spend his time in left field, while Guillermo Heredia and Mitch Haniger roam center and right, respectively. Ben Gamel will remain in the mix for the left-field spot. Span also gives the team additional options in center should Heredia falter against right-handed pitching.

Alex Colomé, meanwhile, reinforces a bullpen that, outside of closer Edwin Diaz, has been shaky at times. James Pazos and Nick Vincent have pitched their way to a respectable FIPs, but offseason signing Juan Nicasio’s velocity has declined slightly, as has his effectiveness. According to Pitch Info, his average fastball has climbed back closer to 95 mph rather than the 91 mph Mariners fans were seeing in spring, but he’s still lost a tick, which may help to explain the increase in his home-run rate. Colomé’s season got off to its own rough start, marred by inexact command that lead to an 11.7% walk rate, but May has gone considerably better, with his FIP dropping to 1.35. He represents an additional option in late innings and beyond making the ball more likely to get to Diaz, should also allow the Mariners to rest Diaz a bit more.

Tampa’s side is bit stranger. For a team with the Rays’ pitching strategy, it seems odd to trade a good closer, an oddity that isn’t lessened by the acquisition of Wilmer Font. The Rays do get Andrew Moore and prospect Tommy Romero, which isn’t nothing. As with any set of young arms, there’s always the risk that they’ll bloom into something Seattle regrets giving up. Moore pitched big-league innings with middling results last year, and started the season in Double-A, but he’s still thought to have back of the rotation potential. That isn’t useless, but it also isn’t likely to help the Mariners win right now. And as Jerry and this trade show, winning right now is what Seattle is interested in.

We hoped you liked reading Jerry Dipoto Does Not Care About Your Friday Plans by Meg Rowley!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




Meg is the managing editor of The Hardball Times and a contributing writer to FanGraphs. Her work has appeared at Baseball Prospectus, Lookout Landing and Just A Bit Outside.

newest oldest most voted
sadtrombone
Member
sadtrombone

The conventional wisdom is going to be that the Rays got ripped off. And here, I think the conventional wisdom is probably right.

It’s pretty early in the season to start selling, even if there’s some competition for the 2nd wild card spot in the AL West. If they were to start selling, getting to dump a bit over half of Denard Span’s contract and getting back a couple of iffy prospects from the worst farm system in baseball is hardly worth selling a decent cost-controlled closer. Moore is a potential back-end starter–hardly a high-probability one–and Romero is an interesting but low-level arm who couldn’t even crack a Top 20 list on the Mariners. And Span himself is actually playing okay, with bad defense but good OBP.

This isn’t quite as bad as the Corey Dickerson-Daniel Hudson debacle, but it’s not a good look for a team hovering around .500 this early in the season to trade their cost-controlled closer to get rid $5 million (or whatever it is), an FV40 pitcher, and a low-level sleeper arm. If the Rays are really signaling they need to cut salary, I’d bet every team that needs a catcher is calling on the Rays about Wilson Ramos tonight.

TheNEW_guy
Member
TheNEW_guy

Per Longehagen Moore is a FV45, the Rays got 4.75M in the deal plus unload two of the larger salaries and the requisite option on Span. That is significantly more than 5M. Also, Span would not have much of a market in general just look at the return for JD Martinez last year. And Colome has been regressing for a few years now, assuming he will be healthy and effective for the remaining 2 years of “cost control” which will be more than 5M per season likely closer to 15 total over the two years would be pretty dangerous for a budget conscious team and realistically he could pitch at best 160 more innings over the next 2.5 seasons?

To suggest the Rays got ripped off seems very gut reaction. I seem to remember the Rays getting “ripped off” last offseason when they traded Smlyly to the Mariners for Yarbrough, Mallex Smith, and Carlos Vargas, how did that work out?

TheNEW_guy
Member
TheNEW_guy

Read the money wrong, Rays giving 4.75 so they are saving about 6M on the deal this season and 4M on next season for declining the option on Span

sadtrombone
Member
sadtrombone

I seem to recall that most people were most excited about how the Braves came out of that. I don’t think that DiPoto is terribly shrewd in these trades, just that it’s not a good look to be trading away a Proven Closer(tm) in the middle of the season to dump $6 million dollars and get back a couple of not-too-attractive pieces (they have value, just not a ton of it).

Cartulo
Member
Cartulo

Rays fan here. Of the bat, I thought the return for Colomé was going to be better. His k/9 had rebounded and was running the second best FIP of his career. Angels, Phillies, Braves, Indians and Dodgers were definitely going to be in the mix for a bullpen arm and all of those teams have a better farm system than the Mariners. What I think happened is the Rays were hellbent on getting rid of Span’s money and found the only team in baseball that wanted him. Now, because of said money, the return for Colomé wasn’t what the Rays could have gotten if they just traded him alone.

For the trade in itself, losing Colomé means nothing for the Rays as wins and losses go. Alvarado has monster stuff and it was clear he was going to be the closer of the future, so there is no “who’s gonna pitch the ninth” mystery thing going on and the Rays have a small army of relievers down in AAA so it’s not like they don’t have arms. Everything not in Adames time is going to be traded. This is just the start.

About the return, Moore was a 45 FV and 5th in last years Mariners top prospects list. I know 5th in that system is not great but that 45 grade is not horrible. The Rays develop pitchers like almost nobody else in baseball so there is a chance they get a #4/5 out of this deal. IF THATS THE CASE, isn’t that solid return? Pre arb #4/5 for a bullpen arm with two years more of control but coming of his worst season? That’s a spin, I know, but it’s not out of the equation. Moore has had solid #4/5 numbers every step of the way besides that cup of coffee in the majors last year. Romero is almost impossible to project because of how far away he is but the numbers looks nice. Over 44 innings in A ball dude is running a 2.63 FIP.

Span was great for the Rays. High energy guy that got some big clutch hits for us. He played hard every inning, was a great leader in the clubhouse and was doing great work in the community. He was more than great. He was also geting a lot of money, was gonna cost the Rays $4million next year and was worth 0.4 fWAR. Not great Bob.

The Dickerson trade is a “debacle” because Dickerson turned into something literally no major league team thought he could become. Last year he ran a 75 wRC+ from July 1st to the end of the season. No team wanted him. The Pirates took him because people in Pitt were ready to kill Bob Nuttin. The Rays got a flawed player (Hudson) for their flawed player. The Pirates corrected Corey, the Rays couldn’t do anything with Hudson. And going against the “Rays are cheap” narrative, the org DFA a guy making $5 million because he was not good enough. Also, Tristan Gray hits.

LHPSU
Member
LHPSU

I thought the Dickerson trade was a fantastic one for the Pirates at the time it was made.

Cartulo
Member
Cartulo

As almost everyone. Nobody pays atention to the Rays so when they saw All Star Corey Dickerson traded for “nothing” people came here, looked up Dickerson and saw he was worth 2.6 WAR, was controllable and finished the season with a 115 wRC+. That’s a solid player.

Rays fans knew better. From July 1st to the end of the season, no small sample, this was Corey Dickerson:

75 wRC+ – 5.5BB% – 28.4k%. A .232 AVG with a .293 BABIP. No baserunning value, bad left fielder. Second half last season pitchers could just roll the ball from the mound and he would swing (and miss).

It doesn’t sound like it but I enjoyed him in TB and i’m happy he’s doing so well in Pitt. He was a good guy. I hate that I have to hate on him to defend the trade but in the context of the time, Corey Dickerson was of not much value to baseball.

LHPSU
Member
LHPSU

So it’s not that nobody wanted him, it’s just that you (Rays fans) didn’t want him.

And it’s not a debacle because he turned into something no one thought he could become; it would have been a debacle if he was merely whom he had been up to that point.

Mario Gerzowitz
Member
Mario Gerzowitz

If Dickerson was wanted by many, his return would have been better. The Rays front office are not morons; they looked for the best deal for Dickerson all winter. His value was Hudson/Gray.

Cartulo
Member
Cartulo

I don’t see it that way.

Entering 2017 Dickerson was a bad fielder with no baserunning value who could run a career 120 wRC+. ML teams can roster those. Entering 2018 he was the same bad fielder with no baserunning value but had ran a 75 wRC+ for a whole 3 months after starting the season crazy hot.

Baseball thought Dickerson had been figured out to the extreme and was on his way to becoming Chris Davis. Nobody wants Chris Davis. Projections pegged him at 1 win, 1 win players are easily replaceable.

The trade is a debacle NOW but before it was done, it was easy to see why the Rays were doing it.

Skin Blues
Member
Member
Skin Blues

Sounds like Rays fans didn’t know better, actually. First/Second half splits mean very little, and second half is not more predictive. In almost every single situation, it’s better to trust a Steamer projection than what the hometown fans think will happen.

Cartulo
Member
Cartulo

Absolutely.

Steamer had him at 0.9 WAR for 384 PA. Make that 600 PA and you get 1.4/600 WAR.

I’m not saying Rays fan expected Corey to hit like that second half, i’m just saying that while everybody fixated on the All Star thing we knew that he was highly volatile and not really an All Star level player. Those are 4 win guys.

The Rays got a pitcher they couldn’t fix and a lottery ticket prospect for a guy projected to be worth 1.4/600 wins. That’s not a debacle. The debacle is that he has already been worth that but that happens. The Rays shopped Dickerson aggresively and no one wanted him. There was a reason for that. He was dangerously close to becoming Chris Davis.

shampain
Member
shampain

I’m with Cartulo on this one. I’ve always kind of liked Dickerson, but the situation was that he needed a high BABIP and HR/FB% to be half a win above average last year. Over 1200 ABs in TB he was fringe average. He turns 30 this year. Even after his hot start this year all of the projection systems have him at around 105 wRC+. That, with bad defense in a corner OF spot and an injury history, just isn’t all that valuable.

Maybe the Buccos figured something out with him, but if they expected this then they know something no one else knows.

sadtrombone
Member
sadtrombone

LHPSU hits the highlights but the Dickerson trade is a debacle from almost any angle. First, they DFA’d a guy who they tendered a contract, committing a million to a guy they thought wasn’t good enough to make the team. Then, rather than cut their losses, they traded him for a guy who definitely wasn’t good enough to make the team. Cron was a savvy pickup, but they managed to somehow downgrade the team while spending more money to do so. Ironically, it appears the cost to the Rays was similar to the amount they saved by dumping Span, so we know that amount of money matters to the Rays. And the fact that they sold a cost-controlled guy who quite literally has all-star potential because he made the ASG the previous season hasn’t even come up until this sentence. Simply put, the Rays made the wrong move at every juncture, and the only saving grace is that it was a guy who wasn’t going to be part of the next great Rays team anyway. But it also would have been nice to get something as well.