Upon sitting in the Mariners home dugout for the first time, Jarrod Dyson offered a comprehensive scouting report on Jarrod Dyson.
“I’m fearless, man,” Dyson said Saturday at Safeco Field, where the veteran outfielder was introduced during the Mariners’ annual FanFest event. “I’m not shaken up about anything. I go out there, no matter who’s on the bump, and get in that box. It’s me and you.”
Aside from the no-fear factor, Jarrod, anything else?
“I bring a lot of excitement and joy to the clubhouse and to the game,” he continued. “I get to go out there and have fun. When you’re having fun, it’s much easier to do your job. I’m a great clubhouse guy.”
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It would be an overstatement to equate Dyson as a breath of fresh air in the Mariners clubhouse. Unlike many previous summers, the clubhouse never turned stagnant in 2016. Remaining relevant until the 162nd game of a 162-game season has a way of keeping the mood upbeat.
But those who show up for work with a high-beam smile, determined to accentuate the positive, can there ever be too many of them? In any occupation?
Although Dyson’s sunny disposition wasn’t the Mariners’ primary motive for arranging the Jan. 6 trade that sent pitcher Nathan Karns to Kansas City, it was a consideration.
“He brings real personality,” manager Scott Servais told reporters Thursday. “You guys will enjoy interviewing him. There will be some quotes and things out of his mouth that you’ve never heard before. He enjoys that part of the game, and I enjoy it because he’ll bring some edge to our team.
“He’s a guy that will be chirping in the dugout — maybe at the ump, maybe at the other team, maybe at some of his own teammates. You need to have those guys.”
Aside from the edge his manager hopes to be infectious, the Mariners acquired Dyson because, at 32, he’s still regarded as an athlete ideally fit to chase down line drives in Safeco Field. His swing produces little power — he’s 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, a slap hitter — but the lineup has plenty of power.
What the Mariners need is the reliable leadoff man who’s been absent from their roster since the prime of Ichiro Suzuki.
When spring training convenes, the leadoff role will be Dyson’s to lose. Stuck in an outfield logjam in Kansas City, where the 50th-round choice of the 2006 draft competed 10 years for a full-time job, he’s not planning on losing it.
“I don’t mind going up there and taking pitches,” Dyson said. “I’m not afraid to strike out. I like putting myself in a count where the guys behind me get to see what the pitcher’s got. I’m not going up there hacking and making the first out. I’m there to set the tone.
“If I can go up there for the first at-bat and get six pitches, I think I’ll have done a great job.”
Dyson’s heart is big, and on Saturday it also was heavy. The Mississippi resident arrived in Seattle after attending the funeral service for his former Royals teammate Yordano Ventura, victim of a fatal auto accident last week.
“A brother from another mother,” Dyson called the starting pitcher, who during his brief career made many friends in Kansas City and many enemies outside Kansas City. “He kind of left a bad impression around baseball because he was a firecracker on the mound. But that was the same guy who, if we’d lose a game, he might have a few tears because he felt he’d let the team down.
“I’m kind of upset,” said Dyson, referring to Ventura’s reputation as an easily agitated sort prone to throw the occasional beanball, “he didn’t get a chance to straighten it out.”
Dyson looks back fondly at his years in Kansas City. He won a World Series ring with the 2015 Royals, a year after his steal of third base proved pivotal in the wildest of wild card victories.
The Royals were trailing Oakland, 7-6, in the bottom of the ninth when Dyson was called to pinch run after Josh Willingham led off the inning with a bloop single. Dyson advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, then took off for third, barely beating the catcher’s strong throw.
A memorable moment, and Dyson sealed it for all time by standing up from his head-first slide and performing a dance in the style of rapper Yung Joc.
“If I get caught stealing third,” Dyson recalled thinking before his mad dash, “I better just take off from right there, fly back to Mississippi, and never show up again. On the other hand, if I’m safe, there’s a good chance I can help the team tie it up.
“I can’t explain the feeling going through my body when the umpire called me safe.”
Dyson tied the game when he crossed the plate on Nori Aoki’s sacrifice fly, and the Royals went on to win, 9-8, in 12 innings.
“I came back to the dugout,” he said, “and told myself, ‘Wow, I want to do that again.’ ”
If Jarrod Dyson exercises that kind of gumption with the 2017 Mariners, the most commonly spoken word at Safeco Field will be a three-letter palindrome.
John McGrath: @TNTMcGrath