The Seattle Mariners appear to have taken a step back in their pursuit of Shohei Ohtani, one of the “biggest names” in free agency.
Ohtani was unable to play a full season this year due to a torn right elbow ligament and a side injury. But he still managed to become the first “unanimous choice” for the second MVP award in major league history after hitting .304 with 44 homers, 95 RBIs, 102 runs scored and 20 doubles in 135 games as a hitter and a 1.066 OPS in 23 starts as a pitcher, going 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA.굿모닝토토 도메인
After undergoing Tommy John surgery, we won’t see Ohtani on the mound until the 2023 season. However, after rejecting the Angels’ qualifying offer (QO), Ohtani will be evaluated by major league clubs in free agency and will likely sign the biggest contract of his career, making him the most sought-after player despite his high price tag.
However, unlike this year’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game at T-Mobile Park, where Seattle fans chanted Ohtani’s name and sent him a “love letter,” the Mariners will not be in the running for his services. MLB.com reported in an article titled “Why Seattle won’t be in the mix for Ohtani” on Aug. 18 (KST) that the Mariners will not be entering the bidding for Ohtani.
For now, the Los Angeles Angels appear to be the most likely destination for Ohtani. According to MLB.com, “The industry believes the Dodgers remain in the lead, the New York Mets could make the most aggressive offer, along with the San Francisco Giants, and the Texas Rangers could clinch a World Series title. The Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, and New York Yankees are also reportedly in the mix as they look to rebound.”
While all teams with some level of capital are interested in signing Ohtani, Seattle is an exception. “While it was believed that there was an intention to make an aggressive push once the long-awaited moment arrived, it’s been quiet, at least in Seattle,” MLB.com reported, “Sources told MLB.com that signing Ohtani doesn’t appear to be on Seattle’s realistic agenda this offseason.”
“The first reason Seattle is unlikely to get into the bidding war for Ohtani is his price tag, which is expected to be $500 million. “Beyond the inherent risk of signing him, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that signing him could be financially devastating in the long run,” MLB.com noted.
Realistically, if the team has $500 million in cap space to spend on free agents, it could use it to sign two “A-list” players on the free agent market. Seattle, in particular, is looking to bolster other positions. The second reason why I don’t think Seattle will jump in the fray for Ohtani is that he’s likely to prefer another club.
MLB.com also noted that “things can certainly change,” but added, “Seattle is standing right here.” For now, it seems more likely that the Mariners will focus on filling the position’s gaps with a number of other players rather than jumping into the fray for Ohtani. With the free agency market open, but not quite heating up yet, it will be interesting to see which team Ohtani ends up with.