The Seattle Mariners made three transactions before Thanksgiving and I expect that they will be making more now before Christmas.
The primary transaction was picking up Ryon Healy first baseman from the Oakland A’s for reliever Emilio Pagan and a minor league infielder. This fulfills the first base position without spending a lot of money and getting a power hitter as well.
Now the Mariners are now putting a lot of effort into going after pitcher and hitter Shohei Ohtani. He posted himself to be available to all major league baseball clubs and according to general manager Jerry Dipoto they are going to put full effort to bring him to the Mariners. The thing about the posting of Ohtani is that he is a bargain for all clubs compared to what he would have been if he had waited a couple more years. At his age and experience the rate to sign him is a $3 million signing bonus. The Mariners and Dipoto are putting on a selling point on the history that they have with the Japanese players they have had over the years including Ichiro and Iwakuma who the Mariners have given him an offer to come back to them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mariners will have Iwakuma give him a talk on the organization of the Mariners. According to Dipoto they have put out a video showing the city of Seattle and how they have relations with Japan along with citizens who live in and around Seattle who are Japanese.
I am sure the Mariners have a backup plan when it comes to getting a picture of his stature if he signs elsewhere. Of course the cost of money will be more for the backup plan than for Ohtani. Dipoto says if Ohtani does sign with the Mariners that when he isn’t pitching he will likely be the designated hitter on some of the days he isn’t pitching. They would look at Nelson Cruz playing in the outfield on those days.
There is talk that the Mariners maybe signing free agent outfielder Jon Jay who recently played for the Chicago Cubs and had a batting average of .296 in 2017. Also he isn’t known for having power so he would be looked at providing veteran leadership at 32 years old and playing solid defense. He is left handed hitter so he and Guillermo Heredia could be platooning in center field however since Ben Gamel is left handed hitter as well playing in left field Heredia will likely play some in left field as well. At this point Heredia is looking to be the fourth outfielder for the Mariners. If Ohtani is signed than his playing time will be cut down.
It will be interesting to find out who the Mariners are targeting as a starting pitcher besides Ohtani. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mariners go after someone who can be in the top three starters or another one that would be slated as the fifth starter. One thing we know is that this could be the most interesting hot stove season we have seen in Seattle.