The Mariners are gonna go all in to sign Japanese star Shohei Ohtani and they are gonna pull "all the stops" to get the Big Leagues new Babe Ruth.
According to MLB.com, Mariners General Manager, Jerry Dipoto, on a new team podcast spoke about the team's approach to the signing of the 23-year-old Ohtani from Japan.
Dipoto indicated that the team has been preparing for this moment for a year and will go beyond the $1.55 million dollar bonus they can give Ohtani by using the team's history and all the celebrated Japanese stars the team has signed in the past.
"We have spent most of the past year preparing for this moment. Whether it's written presentations, something aesthetic for him to touch and feel ... we've put together a film on the merits of Seattle and the Mariners. And we're hopeful at some point we get to sit down in the same room."
The Mariners have had at least one Japanese player on their roster every year since 1998, including standouts Ichiro Suzuki, Hisashi Iwakuma, Kenji Johjima and Kazuhiro Sasaki, as well as Japanese ownership.
Dipoto also acknowledged that the trading of Brazilian fireballer Thyago Vieira to the White Sox was made so the team could get more money for Ohtani, getting to $1.55 million.
"We're not going to leave a stone unturned in the efforts to do it again if the opportunity arises. We'll be responsible in how we do it, but we understand this is a one-time buying opportunity and you have to be prepared. To me, the worst thing we can be is sitting on the sideline being too conservative, sitting on our hands when an opportunity to change the history of the organization comes along. Because this is what this might be."
Maybe the most important thing Dipoto said in the podcast, and surely what will attract Shohei Ohtani more to Seattle, was that the team was willing to play their designated hitter Nelson Cruz in right field a few times a week so that the Japanese star can take over the DH spot.
That is something most teams will not be able to offer or just won't want to and it seems it is very important for Ohtani, who didn't come to the US six years ago because only the Nippon-Ham Fighters would give him a chance to hit and pitch.
The Yankees who are the favorites to sign the Japanese star have the money to do it with a $3.5 signing bonus but they haven't completely committed to using Ohtani as a two-way player, which might have to be a promise they make.
And is he worth it, according to Dipoto yes:
"He's gifted. He's going to make some team a lot better."
Just how good is Ohtani?
"I've seen players hit a ball 500 feet and players throw a ball 100 mph. I've just never seen one player do both of those."