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Mariners add international slot money for potential Ohtani signing in trade with Twins

Jerry Dipoto has found extra dollars for a dream purchase under the couch cushions. The Mariners now have $2.557 million in their international bonus pool after trading minor league catcher David Banuelos to the Twins in exchange for $1 million in international slot money.

It is the second trade this offseason that Dipoto has made for bonus pool money, the first coming in mid-November when he sent Thyago Vieira to the White Sox for $500,000.

Mariners Hot Stove Podcast: The latest on Ohtani

The Twins come away with the Mariners’ 10th-ranked prospect, according to Banuelos, 21, was drafted out of Long Beach State in the fifth round of the 2017 draft. He hit .236/.331/.394 with four home runs and 26 RBIs in 36 games with short-season Class-A Everett this year and was named to the Northwest League’s All-Star team.

The extra million lessens the gap between the Mariners and Rangers, who have the most international bonus money to offer Shohei Ohtani with $3.535 million. While the Mariners upped their bonus pool, the Angels stayed right on their heels by adding another million dollars to their pool, trading minor league outfielder Jacob Pearson to the Twins. The Angels’ bonus pool, now at $2.315 million, is the third-largest of the seven teams in the running for Ohtani. The Cubs, Giants, Padres and Dodgers are limited to spending just $300,000 after exceeding their limits in past years.

Ohtani wrapped up meetings with his final seven teams Tuesday night in Los Angeles. Very little information about those meetings has come out, none in fact from the Mariners with Dipoto declining to say a word about them in a conference call with reporters Wednesday to discuss the upcoming Winter Meetings. Ohtani has until Dec. 22 to make his decision.

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