Nearly six years ago, the Seattle Mariners and 28 other Major League Baseball teams were unsuccessful in the lottery to compete for arguably the most enticing international free agent in baseball history.
Kirby strikes out 10 as Seattle Mariners beat Miami Marlins 9-3
Despite speculation about the two-way Japanese phenomenon Otani Shohei Coming to Seattle, he switched to the American League West rivals, signing with the Los Angeles Angels ahead of the 2018 season.
Ohtani is now in his sixth season in MLB, and the two-time All-Star and 2021 AL MVP is a pending free agent after this season, which could lead to the biggest free-agency sweepstakes in league history .
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) June 10, 2023
Can Daegu come to Sailor this time? Or will he at least leave the Angels, who haven’t had a winning season since Ohtani joined?
ESPN veteran MLB insider Jeff Passan told Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Tuesday that he thinks Ohtani will likely stay on the West Coast.
“It’s hard to see the Angels as a better fit than the Dodgers,” Passan said. “But then again, I think Shohei Ohtani is a very loyal guy, he likes to be comfortable. Guys, whether it’s the Dodgers, Mets, Mariners, Giants, Yankees, or a handful of teams that might be in Ohtani Sweepstakes team, they all have to do a really good sales job, I think, because it’s a hard thing to get him out of that place where he’s comfortable, where they give him everything he wants .”
On Wednesday, Brock and Salk further discussed the topic of Ohtani’s imminent free agency and the Mariners’ potential to poach him from Southern Cal.
“I read the article and thought yesterday, it’s really (about) L.A. and not the Angels,” Brockward explain. “…that Los Angeles has become very comfortable. Now, it is also convenient to fly back to Japan from Seattle.”
Listen to the full conversation on Wednesday’s mid-section of the Brock and Salk podcast:
Mike SalkLike Passan, thinks the Dodgers are the favorites to sign Ohtani this offseason.
“I think he’s going to be a Dodger. Why don’t you (if you are) stand in his shoes?” Salk said. “You look around and say, ‘This organization is doing it perfectly, and every other organization around is trying to keep up.’ Unless he’s got a Baker Mayfield agenda, Brock, which I’ve brought up before…’I could go to Seattle, or something like that. place, win for the first time, and become the greatest hero this city has ever seen?’”
Huard noted that there is a long history between the Mariners and Japanese players. In terms of pitching, Seattle has had great seasons from closer Kazuhiro Sazaki and starter Hisashi Iwakuma. But, of course, no Japanese player has become a more Seattle star than future Hall of Fame outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.
“I remember having this conversation (during Ohtani’s free agency in 2018) the sweepstakes and the number of times we mentioned Ichiro and Ichiro (the character he played),” Huard said. “I couldn’t help but think about Ichiro’s relationship and his love for this city and this organization that I think[will play]when I see him wearing his uniform every day to spring training[of the Mariners]. But I’m making a hypothesis… I’m assuming it’s a good thing. Maybe (Otani) will never, the way some cultures work, want to play in Ichiro’s shadow or ever want to do anything to Stripped of Ichiro’s legacy and history. I mean, we just don’t know some of those things. But he does feel very comfortable in that (Los Angeles) market.”
While the idea of Ohtani anchoring the Mariners’ roster and rotation was intriguing, Brock and Salk ultimately didn’t think it was going to happen.
“When it’s all said and done, doesn’t he feel like he’s going to the Dodgers? They’ve got money, they’ve got everything,” Salk said.
“If he can’t be a Mariner, go be a Dodger and get out of the division,” Huard added.
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