Jerry Dipoto Suspected of Amphetamine Use, Harassing Erik Neander
By Stevil, May 26th, 2018
|Federal Investigators asking Jerry Dipoto to empty his pockets at team facilities following the May 25th deal with Tampa. Photo by Alan Chitlik.|
Fangraphs has the Mariners' bullpen ranked #1 in baseball in the month of May. Ben Gamel has a batting line of .302/.403/.415 and a wRC+ of 135 for the month to date. The Mariners were sitting semi-comfortably in 2nd place in the AL West and in control of the second Wild Card, and the trade market typically doesn't get started until mid-June at the earliest.
Yet on May 25th, Jerry Dipoto struck a deal with Tampa Bay to acquire Alex Colomé and Denard Span after allegedly harassing Erik Neander with texts and phone calls throughout the night of the 24th and into the early hours of the 25th, until Erik finally caved in and conceded to Jerry's demands.
This is nothing new for Dipoto. In fact, it's become somewhat habitual--which is what you might expect from someone with a habit.
Normal people sleep at night. Normal people conduct their jobs during business hours. Normal people don't harass other people behaving normally. So, what explanation could there be for the timing of this latest transaction, as well as a slew of transactions he's made in the recent past and the manner in which they were made?
I'll just say it: amphetamines.
Sure, Jerry will tell you the Mariners have a difficult schedule in June, zigzagging between the East Coast and home to face the Red Sox (twice), Yankees, Astros, and Angels. He'll tell you that Alex Colomé has a FIP of 1.35 and K/BB of 10.00 in May, suggesting he's been one of the most dominant relief pitchers this month, while reminding you that he was the closer for Tampa and that their dependency on Díaz may need to be eased back.
But this only supports the notion of amphetamine use. A normal person wouldn't have time for so much research. But Jerry has 24 hours a day--every day. Or most days, anyway.
The return for Tampa was Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero. Moore was pitching well for AA Arkansas, while Romero was dominating single-A Clinton. Moore projects as a back-end starter, whereas Romero may have the stuff to become a mid-rotation starter. Time will tell, and it will be a while, so the immediate dividends pay in Seattle's favor, though a case could be made over the value of salary relief for Tampa.
Denard Span probably insn't better than Ben Gamel right now. He was a salary dump, but he still addresses a need for Seattle as a LHH in the outfield. Though his better days as a player are behind him, he gets on base consistently and brings plenty of experience, which could prove invaluable for Seattle's otherwise young outfield with limited experience. Scott Servais has suggested that Span will start in Left Field. I'd like to see Gamel given the chance to continue what he's been doing of late, but either way, Seattle has tightened up their bench. When Dee Gordon returns from the DL, they'll have a solid team on the field despite the loss of Canó.
Back to the timing.
Apart from how and when Jerry made this happen (we'll ignore the fact that Seattle's the caffine capital of the United States--and world), it allots him time as well. Should the Mariners find themselves in a spiral following a brutal June and out of contention come July, Jerry could feasibly reverse course and flip Colomé for a return much better than what he coughed up to acquire him. That shouldn't be hard to understand without Span attached. Jerry could also feasibly pull a stunt like Brian Cashman pulled in 2016 and ship off Edwin Díaz and James Paxton for considerable hauls, then focus on 2019 with Colomé and part of the return to fill the vacancies.
Jerry Dipoto has established some flexibility for Seattle and he still has some financial flexibility to boot. All things considered, the Mariners got better before the storm hits and they're now more likely to weather it out. Amphetamines or not, he's been paying attention and he has Seattle looking like a legitimate threat apart from the midnight texts and phone calls.
Stay tuned for anything--anytime, preferably with the assistance of Irish coffee (and share). Oh, and Happy Belated 50th Birthday, Jerry.