MLB.com listed their 8 bold predictions for this offseason and in that, they predict, arguably the biggest free agent to ever hit the free agent market, to head to the Pacific Northwest. In what will be one of the most important offseasons in Mariners history, they have a chance to add the best player in baseball while really showing the Mariners fanbase that they are ready to compete. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Shohei Ohtani will end up in Los Angeles with the Dodgers, but I want to go over 3 reasons why I think that this prediction won't be so bold after all.
Let's look at the Julio Contract
I think when it comes to signing Ohtani, the team that does is going to have to put together one of the most creative contracts ever assembled. Do you know who currently has the most complicated and creative contracts put together right now? That's right, the Mariners. They put together one of the most comprehensive and detailed contracts for Julio Rodriguez, with options, incentives, and all sorts of in between.
I think Ohtani is going to want a lot of control in his contract situation. Yes, it might take a 12-year deal north of $500 million, but I think that there are going to be opt-outs all over the contract at that length. If I am the Mariners and you are willing to do a contract term that long, you have to be willing to give him opt-outs, pretty much wherever he wants them.
The other part of this is the fact that Ohtani won't pitch in 2024, so how do you value that, knowing one of those years you won't be getting the front of the rotation starter? Well, for Seattle, I don't really think that should matter. Still give him his guaranteed money but throw in all sorts of pitching incentives in the contract. If you get the bat that Ohtani was in 2023, that is a $30-$40-million-dollar bat, even as a DH. If you get the pitcher that Ohtani has been, obviously after 2024, then that is another $30 million dollar pitcher. You might have to give him a base of $45-$50 million with incentives that could kick it up to $50-$60 million, but in my opinion, it would be worth it.