Dipoto: Mariners believe very highly in new OF’er Martin
On Monday, the Seattle Mariners made headlines by acquiring outfielder Leonys Martin and pitcher Anthony Bass from the Texas Rangers in exchange for reliever Tom Wilhelmsen, outfielder James Jones and a PTBNL.
It was the latest move by new GM Jerry Dipoto as he continues restructuring the Mariners since taking over for Jack Zduriencik earlier in the year. After falling short in 2015 of their postseason goals, the M’s ‘cleaned house’ with new manager Scott Servais and Dipoto in hopes of getting back on track, and there have already been some big changes since Dipoto took over.
While trading away Wilhelmsen wasn’t something the Mariners set out to do this offseason, Dipoto noted that the club thinks very highly of Martin, coming off a bad year with the Rangers in which he hit .219/.264/.313, lost his starting spot in the outfield and was shuttled back and forth between Arlington and Triple-A.
Greg Johns of MLB.com quotes Dipoto as being very complimentary of Martin’s skills as an outfielder. Martin is also a player the Mariners wanted for some time:
“The addition of Martin gives us a premier defensive center fielder,” said Dipoto. “His athleticism and speed will be strong additions to our lineup as we continue to mold the roster. Bass will give our club added flexibility and depth in our bullpen.”
Dipoto says bench coach Tim Bogar & Nelson Cruz big fans of Leonys Martin from Rangers days. "This is a guy we targeted from the get-go."
— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) November 16, 2015
Prior to a lost 2015 season, Martin was the Rangers’ everyday center fielder. As Dipoto said, that down year in 2015 presented the M’s with the perfect opportunity to strike a deal:
“He's coming off a down year, and frankly, that's when you acquire guys,” Dipoto said. “There was a soft spot in acquiring Leonys, and we took advantage of that.”
As for Bass, Dipoto sees him helping the Mariners in the rotation and out of the bullpen:
“He's not strictly a reliever,” Dipoto said. “He has some history as a starter. His big appeal is he's a righty who can go multiple innings, which we really didn't have on staff. He can pitch in a swing role, compete for a fifth-starter spot. And nobody has really tried to unleash Anthony Bass and seen what he looks like in a short role. He can touch 97 mph, but normally sits more around 92, so I'm not sure what the result would be in a shorter sprint. He's flexible and versatile and that's been a theme to our offseason so far.”
Earlier in the week, before the Martin/Wilhelmsen trade, Dipoto called in to ESPN 710 Seattle to discuss his OTHER recent big deal: the one that brought the M’s Nathan Karns, Boog Powell and C.J. Riefenhauser in exchange for Logan Morrison, Brad Miller and Danny Farquhar:
It’s only November, but the M’s new general manager is quickly putting his imprint on an organization that was in need of a ‘culture change’ in order to get back to October.