On Friday afternoon, the baseball world got the news they had been waiting for, a decision from Japanese Superstar Shohei Ohtani. Unfortunately, he decide to pick the Los Angeles Angels.
The decision came a massive surprise to most. A vast majority speculated that the Mariners, San Diego Padres, and San Francisco Giants as the presumed favorites. But now, while Mariners fans will still have the opportunity to see Ohtani play, it will be as a member of the opposing team.
The deal is a gut punch to Mariners fans. Of this there is no doubt. But it is also important to clarify a few things:
First of all, the season is not already over. It is December 8th. The Winter Meetings haven’t even begun, and most of the big name free agents are still available. Signing Ohtani would have made the rest of this off-season so much easier. It doesn’t mean they can’t still be better.
Second, Jerry Dipoto did not destroy the farm system. In his pursuit for Ohtani, he has added Mike Leake and Dee Gordon. Judging any trade involving slot money is incomplete, as we do not know what the money will now be spent on.
While trading many prospects, Dipoto has also added Kyle Lewis, Sam Carlson, Evan White, and Julio Rodriguez. He has also added Mitch Haniger, Jean Segura, Ryon Healy,Ben Gamel, Guillermo Heredia, and now Dee Gordon, all of whom are under 30 with at least 4 years of club control.
Third, the Mariners roster is still, 1-40, better than the Angels. This deal does not make the Angels an unbeatable foe. It undoubtedly makes them better, but the Mariners are not all of a sudden a bad team.
Look, I was really hoping that Ohtani would be calling Seattle home. I am as disappointed as the next guy. But I will not let his decision deter what I have believed the entire off-season.The Mariners can still be successful without Ohtani, even if they are a bit less fun.