The Mariners Should Not Trade for Shohei Ohtani

Minnesota Twins v Seattle Mariners
Minnesota Twins v Seattle Mariners / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

For the Mariners to give up key players or prospects for Shohei Ohtani would be a mistake.

Ohtani has not saved the Los Angeles Angels nor would he save the Mariners

Shohei Ohtani is a remarkable ball player, but the Los Angeles Angels have had under .500 seasons while he has been on their team. He may seem to be a guarantee to the Mariners of a successful future, but he only gets up to bat a few times each game and then pitches in a several-day rotation.

The Mariners have a strong rotation right now. To trade for Ohtani, they may have to offer one of their current or prospective pitchers. At first glance, this appears to be an even trade, pitching-wise. Both Luis Castillo and George Kirby, however, rate ahead of Ohtani according to ERA.  Logan Gilbert is only a few places behind Ohtani in ERA according to MLB statistics.

The trade then would really be for Ohtani’s hitting only which is remarkable. He is ninth in MLB for batting average, so he is clearly excellent. He ranks first in home runs, having already hit 35. He is third in RBIs in MLB which is attractive. If the rest of the team does not hit well, however, Ohtani cannot make up for that by himself.

Ohtani Can Pitch and Bat Well: Pros and Cons

The ability to have Shohei Ohtani on the Mariners seems like a dream: a strong pitcher and amazing batter in one player.

This also means that if Ohtani is injured, he not only leaves a hole in the pitching rotation, but he also leaves a gap in the lineup. He is 29 years old and something like the need for Tommy John surgery could take him away from the team for a year-and-a-half. This is a big risk for the Mariners to take. While a healthy Ohtani could bat well for the Mariners, an unhealthy Ohtani would be disastrous.

The Mariners Have Excellent Pitching and Batting Prospects Already

Instead of exchanging young players such as Logan Gilbert or George Kirby for Ohtani in the pitching category or a prospect like Harry Ford in the batting category, why not keep them for the Mariners? Young pitchers are farther away from catastrophic injuries and most players fill only one spot in the lineup. An injury to one of the Mariners’ batters would not affect the rotation, nor would an injury to a pitcher mean a replacement was needed in the lineup.


I like Shohei Ohtani and wonder if the most important contribution he could make to the team, aside from the obvious, would be to share some of his enthusiasm for the game with the Mariners’ players who appear to be under almost debilitating stress at times. I think that the team would be better off trading or "buying" a strong bat who cannot pitch.