Step 5: Sign the Unicorn (12yr/$564mil/$47AAV)
With the stage set, and the pieces in place, we're ready to not just have a seat at the table with Shohei Ohtani, but we're prepared to not leave without him. In this scenario where we get a meeting, I'm pulling out all the stops. We're bringing Ichiro, Nootbaar, Julio Rodriguez, Luis Castillo, Jeff Bezos and Eddie Vedder! We'll even have John Stanton pull the Pat Riley move and drop a bag full of championship rings on the table. Shohei will ask, "Where are the rings?" And Stanton will reply, "Exactly! Please come to Seattle!"
In all seriousness, this is going to be about comfortability, environment, winning potential, and cash. We know that Seattle is a place where Ohtani feels comfortable, so that's already a nice head start. The environment and culture around the Mariners? That's a pretty divisive question depending on who you ask. Getting out in front of free agency and bringing in a guy like Nootbaar to help create a positive culture, one that Ohtani has experienced, could be helpful. I would expect this to be one of the bigger concerns for Ohtani.
When it comes to winning potential, despite being in the AL West, you make a strong argument that the Mariners have one of the 5-6 brightest futures in baseball. A young, talented stable of pitchers that allow Ohtani to come back and pitch on his time, with a 6 man rotation becoming the norm (common in Japan). They have a young budding star in Julio Rodriguez and young talented top tier players at their positions in JP Crawford and Cal Raleigh. This would unquestionably be the best team Ohtani has ever been on.