Instead, with Connor Phillips signing for slot value, the Mariners have officially saved just $261,000 out of their afforded bonus pool. Outside of Phillips, three of Seattle’s other five selections – Emerson Hancock, Zach DeLoach, and Taylor Dollard – signed for slot. The Mariners were able to shave off $43,000 off of Tyler Keenan‘s deal and $218,000 off of Kaden Polcovich‘s.
Generally speaking, $261,000 is a solid chunk of change, but it’s a bit off from the amount of savings I initially expected to see following the selection of DeLoach. Because DeLoach was generally regarded more as a third round talent, the obvious assumption to make was that he would come in under slot in order for the Mariners to go big with their next pick.
But my entire draft experience this year was spent waiting for the Mariners to make a big splash that never came. This led me to the conclusion that, with the countless negative effects the COVID-19 pandemic and MLB owners’ greed have had on the game, Seattle had sacrificed an opportunity to bolster one of baseball’s best farm systems with more high-end talent.
That doesn’t seem to be the case now, either; quite the opposite, in fact. In signing most of their picks at – or near – slot, they appear content with their valuation of the talent they’ve brought in and where they selected them. The guys they picked were, seemingly, at the top of their board at the time of their respective selections.
This, of course, doesn’t mean they got their top target every time, if at all. We know that Dillon Dingler was Seattle’s ideal choice with the 43rd pick, albeit a pipe dream for a player that was already well past where many expected him to go by the time the Tigers swooped him up at 38. With Seattle telling DeLoach they’d go his way if Dingler didn’t fall to them, it seems that DeLoach was simply the next best player on their board, presumably aside from the players they deemed ‘unsignable’ for them.
With DeLoach going for slot and the Mariners more than likely knowing that at the time, the rest of their picks from that point forward pretty much make sense. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that, with all amateur seasons coming to an abrupt end earlier this year, each team’s board would differ from another, especially as the draft went on. And this appears to be an example of that.
As silly as it may seem to say, the Mariners like these guys, plain and simple. And, for how well their player development department has shown out over the last couple years, they’ve earned some trust in their ability to identify prospects that fit their strengths. This ain’t your same ol’ Mariners.