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The great Corey Brock at The Athletic penned a piece Wednesday discussing results from a Seattle Mariners fan survey, and I thought the results were interesting. Interesting enough I’m here to toss out my own responses to the survey questions.

The questions range from Jerry Dipoto’s job approval to confidence the team is headed in the right direction, and everywhere in between.

Here we go.

How confident are you that the Mariners are headed in the right direction?

Among those that responded in the survey, 53.4% said they were very confident the club was on the right path, while 41.8% said they were somewhat confident. That leaves just 4.8% ranging from unsure to not confident at all.

My Vote: Very Confident

There’s absolutely zero question the Mariners are headed in the right direction. There’s question whether they get where they want to go — or where fans want them to go — but anyone voting anything but very confident here hasn’t been paying attention during the rebuild — a three-year trek from 68 wins to a 73-win pace in 2020 to 90 wins in 2021.

It’s just plain fact they’re on the right path.


How would you rate the job Jerry Dipoto has done during the rebuild?

The options: Poor, Below Average, Too Soon to Tell, Fair, Solid, Excellent.

Too soon to tell doesn’t actually exist here considering the question, which states “has done during the rebuild” meaning “so far.”

No one with a real clue responds with anything below solid, which was the prevailing reply at 62%. Just 27% responded excellent.

Let me explain why excellent is the only answer.

Ted S. Warren, licensed via AP Images

Dipoto was handed a club with aging and/or fading stars (Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Felix Hernandez, Kyle Seager) in 2016 and asked to make the best of it without the opportunity to spend toward more wins with that core.

During the first three years under Dipoto — the three prior to the start of the rebuild — the Mariners won 86, 78, and 89 games, contending into September twice, despite the obvious issues with the roster and no significant resources on the farm or in term so payroll flexibility. Not special, but they finished second, third, and third in the division.

After 2018’s 89-win campaign, Dipoto and friends began a total rebuild. A full-bore, all-out tear-down. Now, when this occurs in Major League Baseball, the result is generally 5-7 years of 85-plus losses: see Astros, Houston, White Sox, Chicago, et al.

But since then, Seattle has had just one season of such awfulness, 2019.

As the club heads toward 2022, the farm system is among the elite in baseball — a complete 180 from 2015 when it was generally considered among the 3-5 worst — and the payroll flexibility the club has created with smart decisions and discipline is among the greatest assets to an individual club in all of baseball right now.

Every avenue is open for Seattle, and that’s excellent work by those making those decisions. That’s Dipoto and crew.

We don’t know if Dipoto is a good GM yet. You have to win — get to October, do some damage — before that’s even part of the equation. But there’s absolutely no denying the tremendous job done to date to put the club in the position they are in at present.

It’s an A+ performance by Dipoto and the rest of the baseball people during the rebuild. Stop with the nonsense. Don’t conflate finishing the job with the performance during the rebuilding process.


How confident are you that the Mariners will make the postseason in 2022 or 2023?

Fans are fairly confident, as they should be. If this was just 2022, I’d vote unsure. With 2023 included, I’d check very confident, which is to say I’d be at leas mildly surprised if they didn’t make it one of the next two years, whether playoff is expanded or not.


How confident are you that ownership will build a consistent winner?

Fans are less confident here, and so am I, though I’m a lot more confident than most. I’d vote somewhat confident here because of the inclusion of the term ‘consistent.’ But it’s pretty clear John Stanton and the rest of  First Avenue Entertainment are committed to building a winner. Fans will be more convinced every additional dollar spent this winter once the lockout is lifted.

Whether they spent consistently remain to be seen, but I don’t anticipate winning, rebuilding, winning, rebuilding, etc.


Which position player would you like to see the team acquire this offseason?

The options: Carlos Correa, Kris Bryant, Seiya Suzuki, Trevor Story, Michael Conforto.

Of course, the answer is all of them, but if you have to pick one we’re picking Correa, right? I would vote that way. If we start considering contract terms, among other factors, I lean Story, Bryant, and Conforto, in that order.


Which Mariners pitching prospect do you believe in the most?

The options: George Kirby, Emerson Hancock, Matt Brash, Brandon Williamson, None of these

I’m assuming ‘None of these’ actually represents ‘other’ more than just none, but I’d go Kirby here, without other qualifications in the question.

I believe in Brash and Williamson as much as Kirby in terms of 2021 alone, but overall, Kirby’s the guy with the best combo of stuff, upside, floor, and ETA.


Who do you predict will lead the team in saves?

The options: Diego Castillo, Drew Steckenrider, Andrés Muñoz, Paul Sewald, Ken Giles

I’d lean Steckenrider here, until we learn more about Giles’ health situation when spring camp opens. Sewald would be a very close second, partially because I’m not 100% convinced Steckenrider is on the roster in April.


In three years, what kind of player do you predict Julio Rodríguez will be?

The options: Just a guy, Average, borderline All-Star, One of the best in the game

You’ll have to click on the link to see what fans think, but I’m somewhere between average and borderline all-star. If the question was changed to five years, I’d be more firmly on the all-star choice, and closer to whatever ‘one of the best in the game’ means in this context. Three years just isn’t very long, and for all we know Rodriguez may not debut in the bigs until June.


How many games do you predict the Mariners will win in 2022?

The options: 70-75, 75-80, 80-85, 85-90, 90+.

In this case, 90+ actually means 91 or more since 90 wins is included in 85-90.

As we sit here on January 19, I’m in the 85-90 camp, based on the current roster and the worst-case scenario the rest of the way. But 91 or more is well within reach. If the season started tomorrow, I’d vote 80-85.


What’s your go-to food (and why) at T-Mobile Park? (Top five food responses)

I very rarely eat at games, but the fans had a wide variety of replies to this, including the second most disgusting thing sold at the ballpark, garlic fries.


What’s the best thing about being a Mariners fan?

This was an open question on the survey and there are numerous answers, including 1.8% who said the broadcasting, 1.6% who said Edgar Martinez, 1.6% who said I love baseball, and 9.6% who said the ballpark.

My favorite answer, however, is hope, chosen by 9.1% of the respondents.

Remember, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.

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Jason A. Churchill

Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 and spent several years covering prep, college and pro sports for various newspapers, including The News Tribune and Seattle PI. Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio. He now serves as the Executive Copy Editor at Data Skrive, a tech company that manipulates data to provide automated content to clients including the AP, BetMGM, USA Today, and ESPN. Find Jason's baseball podcast, Baseball Things, right here.

6 Comments

  1. Author

    “So to clarify, you think that we’ll have at least one more international signing period after the we signed Lazaro Montes, Maicol Arroyo and Martin Gonzalez?”

    Yes.

    “I’m guessing because many teams probably are already heavily invested in the 2022/2023 international prospects they have made verbal agreements with so far, right?”

    I think plenty of teams (which includes owners) will want this.

    “Do you think an international draft is even good for baseball?”

    I do not. It increases risk for player and club.

  2. So to clarify, you think that we’ll have at least one more international signing period after the we signed Lazaro Montes, Maicol Arroyo and Martin Gonzalez?

    I’m guessing because many teams probably are already heavily invested in the 2022/2023 international prospects they have made verbal agreements with so far, right?

    Do you think an international draft is even good for baseball?

    I say this only because it feels like they are just trying to find the fair thing for American kids, but the teams that get the most out of those players are already investing their money in those kids and their infrastructure in the D.R. for instance and other places internationally.

    It feels like Dipoto and company as an example do a great job of earmarking “lesser” prospects who end up developing further than other more highly-rated prospects. For instance, Julio Rodriguez was clearly not “the best” prospect in his signing class, but it could be argued that he now is “the best” prospect who signed in his class. While I’m willing to go on the record that Jasson Dominguez ends up being the next Austin Jackson.

    I’m sure there is room for debate on nature vs. nurture and maybe it’s the system that the Mariners use vs. what other teams are doing, but doesn’t that mean players are going to be forced into organizations that will fail to nurture the top international players and in turn it will hurt the quality of the major league game?

    Because there is culture shock and the adjustment to the American way of life and the American game… if a guy like Julio Rodriguez was drafted by a team with a bad track record of developing foreign born prospects, doesn’t it hurt baseball to have him fizzle out in the minors because said team never was invested in international players?

    I know it’s a lot to unpack, but as you are someone who has scouted for a long time and sees what goes into developing players, I’m curious also to hear of any other concerns or potential benefits that come from an international draft. And thanks for the explanation on prospect evaluations.

  3. Author

    Hey Kurt,

    This is just a difference in the outlets and how they out together their lists. We have to remember the folks that curate these Top 100s are not scouts, and they don’t even pretend to evaluate the players themselves. They take information they glean from scouts and sort of toss it into a spreadsheet and see what comes out.

    And 100 is an arbitrary limit anyway. If they went to 125 or 130, Seattle would probably have 7 or 8, 150, as many as 10.

    And a lot of non-top 100 prospects end up very good players. It’s barely more than anecdotal as a whole, not that some of the rankings and reports aren’t correct.

    I’ve reviewed the international signings on Baseball Things, but they will be included in my prospect rankings next month right here at Prospect Insider.

    If there is an international draft implemented, I imagine the two sides will agree it will not start until the NEXT class, not the one that is now in front of us.

  4. Thanks for all your good work Jason and Luke.
    Although I have zero interest in what most mariner fans think (they just want guys you gotta love) , I do value your opinions. Personally, I am super high on the farm and really optimistic on the big league team, with a few more move. Keep up the great work.

  5. Your question is not “the real question.”

  6. The real question is why do the Mariners have more volatile top 100 prospects than ever other team. Some have Ford and Hancock on their top 100 list, others like BA have Brash as a top 50 and Williamson in the top 100, but somehow leave Hancock and Ford off. The real takeaway being we have 7-10 great prospects. But why so much disagreement amongst their values. I personally think we have 6 or 7 top 100 prospects and a couple TBD in 2022 guys. Is it Pacific NW proximity to the east coast. A history of crappy prospects or what? Oh and are you going to review our 2021 international al signings? What do you think will happen with the commits if they do an international draft. Can we hope one more year before the draft, so we can sign Celesten?

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