Mariners Insider Blog

One bad week? Dyson looks around and declares: ‘I see the total package’

Jarrod Dyson flashed his speed Friday by running down this short looper by Albert Pujols and turning it into a double play.
Jarrod Dyson flashed his speed Friday by running down this short looper by Albert Pujols and turning it into a double play. AP

Outfielder Jarrod Dyson has the jewelry that proves he knows what it takes and, as he looks around the Mariners’ clubhouse — even after a 1-4 start — he likes what he sees as he settles in with a new club.

“Yeah, we got it,” said Dyson, whom the Mariners acquired from Kansas City in a Jan. 6 trade for pitcher Nathan Karns. “Shoot, I look around, and I see everything. I see the whole total package.

“We’ve got pitching. We’ve got guys who can play (defense), and we’ve got guys who are going to swing the bat. When you’ve got three proven veterans in the middle of your lineup, it makes everyone much tougher to pitch to.

“And we’ve got speed at the top and the bottom.”

That slow start?

“Nobody is hanging heads around here,” Dyson insisted. “We know we’re going to break out of it soon. Our pitchers have been doing a phenomenal job of keeping us in ballgames. I feel like our bullpen has been lights out.

“We’ve just got to tack on more runs. That’s all it is.”

Dyson, 32, embodies the Mariners’ heightened interest in speed and defense as their projected primary left fielder. He also brings the winning pedigree of two recent World Series appearances with the Royals.

“Jarrod has a reputation,” manager Scott Servais said, “for being a loud guy in the dugout and in the clubhouse, in a good way, in holding his teammates accountable.

“Even though he wasn’t always a regular everyday player (in Kansas City), he was not afraid to speak his mind and hold guys accountable.”

Dyson never had 300 at-bats in any of his seven seasons with the Royals, but he has the opportunity now to be more than a platoon player. He has started all six of the Mariners’ games.

“I’d liked what I saw him do against left-handed pitchers in spring training,” Servais said. “Again, it is the spring. Keep that in context. But I’m curious to see what he looks like (in the regular season).”

One Kansas City club official said: “I think he can do it. He hit lefties pretty well for us last year. He hangs in there and his swing has gotten better. We’re going to miss him, but we had other needs that we had to address.”

True enough. Dyson batted .379 with a .438 on-base percentage last season for the Royals in limited action against left-handed pitchers.

But like everyone else in the lineup, he is battling through a tough first week. Dyson entered Saturday’s game against the Angels at 3-for-20, although one of his hits was a tie-breaking single Thursday in the Mariners’ only victory.

“It’s a long season, but at the same time,” Dyson admitted, “you want to get off to a good start. All of these games matter. You don’t want to be trying to make up these games late in the season when you had them on the ropes in the first half.”

On the plus side, Dyson has already flashed his speed on the bases and in the outfield. He ran down Albert Pujols’ soft looper Friday and turned it into a double play by throwing to first before Mike Trout could get back.

“We’re a different team when he’s out there,” Servais said. “ He can outrun the ball. There aren’t many guys you can say that about.”

Dyson set career highs last season by batting .278 with a .340 on-base percentage. His career numbers are .260 and .325 with 30 or more steals in four of the last five seasons.

That sort of production is exactly what the Mariners are looking for. That and, well, something more — as one late spring moment underscored.

Dyson had missed a series of games because of a sore hamstring when he approached general manager Jerry Dipoto to offer reassurance as the two stood behind the Mariners’ complex in Peoria, Ariz.

“He came walking over and he put his hand on my shoulder,” Dipoto recalled, “and he said, ‘Jerry, man, I’ll be ready to go, trust me. I know you acquired me for my lower half.’

“And I said, ‘No, no, no. I acquired you for your lower half and your mouth. I like when you talk. We’ve got to get you out there just so you can talk.’ 

Dyson’s quick lip is still in low gear in his new surroundings, but that won’t last. His comfort level is growing and can be measured in growing decibels. While he’ll be a free agent after the season, he sees the possibility of a longer-term fit.

“I’m enjoying it, man,” he said. “I feel good over here. We’ve got some similarities to those Kansas City teams. The only difference is the fact the guys over there in KC, we all were closer because we all came up together.

“Here, there are a lot of people who came from all over. A lot of trades have been made over here in the last couple of years. So it’s a lot of new faces, but everybody’s got the same goal.”

One bad week, he insisted, is just that: One bad week.

“We’re going to keep rolling, man, until the wheels fall off,” Dyson said. “That’s all we can do, man. Hey, it’s baseball, man. It’s a game of failure. We signed up for it. We know what it is. We’ve just got to deal with it.”

Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners