Coming in here and looking at this team, a couple weaknesses would stand out. I'm not sure if SI considered these, and I'm also not sure DiPoto made big strides in addressing them either. It's a mixed bag anyway.
Lousy at home: 36-45 record. And DiPoto did put an emphasis on building the team to match the home environment. It's a big reason why he picked up Martin in CF, and maybe why he overpayed a bit - we needed a top notch defensive OF more than the average team perhaps?
vLHP: 22-32. I'm not clear where he helped the team here. Martin and Lind are better vs. right handers. But I don't recall DiPoto talking a lot about this being an area that needs addressing. Perhaps he felt tougher at bats and fewer black holes were more important.
Yeah, if I were a distant baseball fan, I'd probably be underwhelmed as well. I'd think and hope DiPoto sees breakout seasons from Martin and Montero. Something the average baseball guy doesn't see.
Overall, I agree with your assessment, Doc. DiPoto is turning the Good Ship Mariner in another direction, and it's probably going to take some time to see it. I'd like it to be sooner, but it was worth a season and a half or so of waiting for Pete Carroll's creation.
Hey, off topic but, but since you kinda mentioned it: That last line about chess. I'd been wondering when you'd bring up chess, because although I am not a chess player, I recently saw the movie Pawn Sacrifice and was mesmerized by Tobey McGuire's portrayal of Bobby Fischer. I spend the next day reading the entire Wiki page on Fischer, which definitely needed some serious editing, but I didn't want to miss an important fact in this guy's career. So...anytime you want to regale us with Bobby Fischer quotes, insights, etc. I am all ears.
I was especially intrigued by this idea that chess players get so wrapped up into the game that they become physically ill and even feel an actual sensation of being trapped and killed when being destroyed by an opponent. Such a thing never occured to me.