Take a breath, Mariners fans. General manager Jerry Dipoto says all the heavy lifting in a busy off-season roster overhaul is now complete.
"You may not hear from us again," Dipoto said Wednesday after executing a pair of trades that added lefty Drew Smyly to the rotation and right-hander Shae Simmons to the bullpen.
"I am 100 percent certain that we will now look at minor-league deals, bringing guys in to compete in camp for bench roles or depth roles. I think what you see is what you get. This is our team."
If so, it comes after Dipoto and his lieutenants added 18 newcomers to their 40-man roster since closing out last season. That makeover resulted from 11 trades involving 30 players, two free-agent signings and two waiver claims.
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"Our five starters are (set)," he said, "and we like the depth we’ve created in back of them. We feel like the combination of veterans with experience and young upside in the bullpen is particularly intriguing with a lot of hard-throwers and a lot of bat-missers.
"As I said last week (regarding) the position-player club (after a trade to add outfielder Jarrod Dyson), we like the mix of veteran core players who are still having incredibly good years and a group of athletic young players who complement each other really well."
The restructuring, if it is complete, sets up a spring training in which the Mariners face only a few questions regarding their 25-man roster. Let’s break it down:
Rotation: The recent trades to add Smyly and veteran right-hander Yovani Gallardo, acquired last Friday from Baltimore, solidifies the five-man unit with an enviable right/left balance.
Look for right-handers Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Gallardo to man the one-three-five spots with lefties James Paxton and Smyly slotted second and fourth (or perhaps fourth and second).
Smyly was the final piece. Dipoto spent much of the winter trying to pry him away from Tampa Bay but admitted: "On multiple occasions, I basically assumed we weren’t going to be able to get there."
The Mariners were preparing to set up a spring competition for the fifth spot between Ariel Miranda, Chris Heston, Rob Whalen, Max Povse, Andrew Moore and Ryan Yarbrough.
Now, Miranda is likely headed to the bullpen as a second lefty, in tandem with free-agent signee Mark Rzepczynski, while the others (minus Yarbrough) probably end up at Triple-A Tacoma. Yarbrough was part of the package that netted Smyly.
Bullpen: There are four or five locks in the seven-man unit, depending on whether veteran Steve Cishek is fully recovered from hip surgery prior to the April 3 season opener at Houston.
Edwin Diaz returns as the closer, while Nick Vincent and Evan Scribner are out of options. Rzepczynski will also make the club. If Cishek is healthy, that leaves just two openings.
Dipoto said Miranda "would hold a pretty considerable advantage" for duty as the unit’s second lefty, but Miranda has options remaining. The Mariners will also look at newcomers James Pazos and Zac Curtis among others.
The Mariners need another power right-hander, in addition to Diaz, to balance Vincent, Scribner and Cishek. That points to Simmons, who can touch 100 mph, and Dan Altavilla with Tony Zych as a long shot.
If Cishek isn’t ready for opening day or an injury sidelines Vincent or Scribner, that brings free-agent signee Casey Fien into the mix.
Catcher: Mike Zunino and veteran Carlos Ruiz, a trade acquisition from the Dodgers, are set. The only question is whether the Mariners can slip veteran Jesus Sucre through waivers in order to stash him at Tacoma as an insurance policy.
Infield: The club is committed to first baseman Dan Vogelbach, a left-handed hitter acquired last July from the Cubs, as part of its youthful transition. He’s going to play.
Even so, the Mariners hedged their bet by obtaining veteran Danny Valencia, a right-handed hitter, from Oakland. Valencia can also play the outfield and spell third baseman Kyle Seager on occasion.
Perennial All-Star Robinson Cano remains a fixture at second base, and newcomer Jean Segura, coming off a breakout season at Arizona, will be the shortstop.
The only spring question is whether Shawn O’Malley can hold onto his job as the utility infielder in competition against newcomer Taylor Motter and Mike Freeman, who had some fine moments as a late-season promotion.
Outfield: There are five spots here if you count Nelson Cruz, who again is likely to spend most of his time as the designated hitter. Center fielder Leonys Martin and Dyson are also locks — in part because they are out of options.
That leaves Mitch Haniger, Ben Gamel and Guillermo Heredia in competition for for the final two spots. Like Vogelbach, all three have less than 50 days of major-league service but are viewed as keys to the club’s transition.
Haniger appears to rate an edge entering camp and could emerge as the regular right fielder. That could position Gamel, a left-handed hitter, and Heredia, a right-handed hitter, in competition for the final spot with the loser going to Tacoma.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners