Is Seattle loading up for the Ohtani sweepstakes?
While Bryan Reynolds would be a dramatic upgrade in left field for the Mariners, I believe Dipoto's biggest pursuit in free agency will wait until next offseason when Shohei Ohtani becomes available.
Signing Ohtani would absolutely change the trajectory of Seattle. You're talking about adding a top 10 hitter and a top 5 pitcher in the American League to the Mariners. Ohtani and Julio uniting could be a legitimate dynasty-level move by Seattle, as their overall roster is in a much better place than what Ohtani and Mike Trout have been asked to carry. We're talking about the best player in baseball right now, teaming up with the most prominent rising star in baseball. It's not inconceivable that Seattle will have the two best players in baseball by 2024.
We know Dipoto was close to signing Ohtani in 2018, as many had Seattle as the favorite before the Angels pulled the ultimate shocker. Some of those concerns reportedly had to do with the pressure of playing under Ichiro's shadow. Fast forward a few years, and I don't think that is something Ohtani would have to be concerned about anymore.
Dipoto and general manager Juston Hollander would be embarking on a second chance to bring Ohtani to the Mariners. The outlook in Seattle has changed dramatically, but the question from 2018 remains…can Mariners leadership lock up a premier free agent?
It is a dangerous game for them to play. If they are public about chasing Ohtani, and fail again, fans will have the right to question whether this regime is the right crew to lead the Mariners to glory in the prime years of Julio Rodriguez. It is a risky move to put all your eggs in the most valuable basket in baseball history. His starting asking price will likely be $50 million a year, and you know the Dodgers and Mets will be prepared to bid for his services.