The Mariners haven’t added much when it comes to position players this offseason, but it’s worth pointing out that they may have taken care of that part of their shopping list before the 2020 campaign ended.
Talking Mariners Podcast: Potential late adds before spring training
Seattle made a blockbuster deal headlined by catcher Austin Nola going to the San Diego Padres just days before the Sept. 1 MLB trade, and while outfield prospect Cheap Taylor Trammell Jersey caught the most attention out of the Mariners’ haul in the deal, Seattle also got itself a promising bat already at the big league level in Cheap Ty France Jersey.
The 26-year-old France has MLB experience going back to 2019, but he played just 69 games that year and 43 between the Padres and Mariners in 2020. He’s expected to get more playing time than ever in a full season this year, and he wasn’t about to contain his excitement about that prospect while on with the Mariners Hot Stove Report this week on 710 ESPN Seattle.
“I definitely am (excited) to finally get that full 162 hopefully this year,” he told hosts Aaron Goldsmith and Gary Hill, referencing MLB’s typical 162-game schedule. “Just to have that comfort of knowing this organization wants me and they want me in the lineup every day, it’s a huge boost for me. I’m definitely looking forward to this challenge.”
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto sat down for his weekly chat with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant on Thursday morning, and while there was no breaking news to come from the conversation, Dipoto did drop a good amount of insight on some big questions facing the M’s as they prepare to start spring training.
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Let’s get to three items of interest I found worth noting from the show, which you can listen to at the bottom of this post.
The Weekly Jarred Kelenic Question
Of course there is the big question, the question on everyone’s mind that gets asked so often on The Jerry Dipoto Show that it probably should have a separate sponsor by now. Paul Gallant does the honors, framing the question a bit differently each week. Gallant acknowledged on Thursday that he was trying to find a way to ask it without annoying the GM and went in the direction of what Dipoto needed to see from Jarred Kelenic, who was recently ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 4 overall prospect, to know that it was time to bring him up to the big leagues.
“The same things we would be looking for from any other player in any other year,” Dipoto answered. “I absolutely understand the question, there’s been a ton of hype around Jarred and justifiably so. Incredibly talented player who we think has the chance not just to be a good major league player but to be an outstanding major league player.
“The reality is, he’s had just over 700 pro plate appearances. The easy answer to your question, what we will be looking watching for, is just him playing on the field against age-appropriate competition. We’ve not really had a chance to see that in a meaningful way in over a year now.”
While acknowledging that the Mariners feel Kelenic is incredibly close to the big leagues, Dipoto emphasized the importance that they remain measured in how they handle such a different level of talent. He also pointed to an area of development that can get overlooked when just looking at the highlights or numbers.
“There is a right and a wrong way to develop players,” he said. “Jarred’s an incredibly confident player. The only way I can envision him falling short is if that confidence takes a hit through pushing him too quick, too soon. I don’t imagine that’s easy to understand – it could be a very short period, it could be one that takes a little bit longer, but we want to be prudent in how we make that decision because we are so much more concerned with the big picture development of Jarred in his career as well as the long-term outlook for the Cheap Seattle Mariners Jerseys.”
All players fail at some point, that is a given. How they react to failure is what often determines their career path. Ideally the Mariners would like to see Kelenic go through a prolonged struggle in the minor leagues away from the spotlight and find a way to work through it. It’s not a requirement before they call him up – Kelenic may not see the competition required to best him in the minors – but they still clearly want to learn more.
Suppose Kelenic runs into a struggle similar to what we saw with Cheap Evan White Jersey in 2020. How would he react? The situation is different, two individuals with two different sets of expectations. Dipoto points to the confidence as crucial consideration in making these decisions with young players, and for Kelenic it is part of the plan.
“This is an important development for us for a lot of these young prospects,” he said. “We have seen what happens when teams exercise good judgment and the timing is right. We’ve also seen what happens when teams move too quickly and decide it’s time to come out of it because people are getting anxious. We have to calm the anxiety and exercise discipline and keep our eye on the prize that we set in the first place.”
France, who has played third base, second base and first base so far in his career, will likely find most of his playing time in 2021 at either second or as a designated hitter.
Let’s highlight a few more takeaways from France’s interview.
How do the rebuilding Mariners compare to the Padres?
The Padres are one of baseball’s fastest-rising teams, making the playoffs last season for the first time since 2006. The Mariners’ rebuild gets them compared to San Diego a lot these days, so who is a better person to weigh in on that than France, who spent time with both teams in 2020?
“Definitely, I do see similarities,” France said. “I think I’ve said this a few times, just (from) my short time in Seattle, it doesn’t feel like we’re far off. We have that good core, young group. We’re just missing a couple pieces that I think will really help that this team to the next level.
“We really aren’t far off. The Padres, they’ve done a great job from 2015 on to get to where they are now. It is pretty cool to experience the growth there, and like I said, I really don’t feel like we’re far off here in Seattle.”
Help from a star hitter
France’s time in San Diego allowed him to pick up something from a teammate that knows a few things about standing out in the big leagues. Tommy Pham, a slugging outfielder who has now played in the postseason with St. Louis, Tampa Bay and San Diego, provided France and the Padres’ hitters with valuable knowledge.
“Last year we had brought Tommy Pham over to San Diego, and what he had learned with the Rays was to be stubborn with your approach,” France said. “He came into spring training and kind of said, ‘Hey guys, this is how things are going to be over here. We’re going to be stubborn.’ I really took that to heart and really tried to implement that in my game, and I think it helped me a lot last year.”
Based on France’s statistics – he had a .305/.368/.468 slash line in 2020 – and reputation for strong pitch selection while at the plate, it seems to have been advice well worth taking.
Analytics are a one-way street with France
As a hitter, the analytically-inclined members of the baseball community find France to be an underappreciated player. Not that France pays much attention to it, which led to an entertaining exchange on the Hot Stove Report.