The Seattle Mariners announced Friday they have signed General Manager Jerry Dipoto to a multi-year contract extension.
"We're obviously happy with the work he's done so far and look forward to the next several years as well," Seattle president and CEO Kevin Mather said. "We are having some success on the field, but when I said the work he has done so far, I'm referring to day one. We hired him Sept. 28, 2015 and he hasn't stopped since the day he got here."
The Mariners have the fourth-best record in baseball at 56-32 through 88 games and appear destined to snap a 17-year run of seasons ending without a playoff berth. Seattle is 7.5 games up on the Oakland Athletics for the second Wild Card spot and at least 12 games clear of every other team in the American League.
Dipoto's trades have helped turned the Mariners into a contender in his third season with the club. The acquisitions of Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger, Dee Gordon, Mike Leake and Marco Gonzales have helped thrust the roster toward ended the longest playoff drought in North American sports. Even losing Robinson Cano for 80 games to suspension hasn't stopped the team from rolling to 24 games over .500 before the All-Star break.
"This is a no-brainer for me," Dipoto said. I told you all when I got here that this was a dream job for me. It's a great market in a city that is starved to win, with an opportunity to be creative."
Dipoto made countless roster transactions in his first year with Seattle, starting the roster churn that made the Mariners younger. Seattle won 86 games in 2016 before backsliding to 78-84 last year amid numerous injuries to the pitching staff. Seattle was thought to be a fringe playoff contender this year but is in the thick of the playoff hunt nearing the All-Star break. All five members of the team's starting rotation are under contract through 2019.
"My time here — the 2 1/2 years — has, I think, gone just as well as I hoped it could go, provided we finish strong,” Dipoto said. "... It takes a village to build a baseball organization, and we’ve got a pretty good village. This is a new day to move forward. The Mariners are playing very well. I’m thrilled for this group, but I’m more thrilled that this group has an opportunity to continue to do what they’re doing.”
While it has yet to come to fruition, Dipoto said definitively that he wants to get a deal done with Scott Servais to remain as the team's manager moving forward as well. Servais is also in the final year of his contract with the club.
"Scott has been my partner for far longer than we’ve been here," Dipoto said. "Whether it be dreaming about what we wanted to create as a franchise, whether it be in player development and what we are doing in scouting, or now culminating with how to build a major league roster and how to guide it, I don’t envision a time where I’m doing my job without him doing his job."
Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: GM Jerry Dipoto of the Seattle Mariners looks on from the dugout prior to the game against the Houston Astros at Safeco Field on September 30, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)