2. AL West GM rankings: Jerry DiPoto, Seattle Mariners president of baseball operations
In the standings, DiPoto’s Mariners were one of the surprises of the season. They way over-performed both expectations and their Pythagorean projections, and at 90-72 took their post-season hopes down to the final day before coming up two games short.
Perhaps in part for that reason, DiPoto in September was promoted from general manager to president.
So it pains me to note that DiPoto’s moves collectively harmed the Mariners by more than 10 games in 2021. Translation: If DiPoto had merely napped all year, the roster he ended 2020 with would have played post-season ball, and probably won the AL West, in 2021.
DiPoto made 44 personnel moves impacting the team’s 2021 roster, of which only 11 – that’s 25 percent – helped the team. Notably, he acquired 16 players in straight deals with other teams, and those 16 handicapped the Mariners by 4.9 games in 2021. Only Chris Young in Texas and Ben Cherington in Pittsburgh had worse records in that category.
Jared Kelenic may – probably will – become a star. But his early season callup may have doomed the Mariners before their serious pennant rush got started. Kelenic debuted in mid-May, and by Aug. 1 was batting just .124. Kelenic picked it up in August and September, but his season still worked out to -3.0 WAA.
Like Click, DiPoto’s departures hurt. He bade farewell to a half dozen players who produced value for their new teams, all but one of whom helped their new teams. Notably, DiPoto’s October release of pitcher Nestor Cortes backfired when Cortes went to the Bronx and stood out as a starter-reliever, generating a +2.1 WAA.