Is Seattle still a tough free-agent sell? Ravech, Sciambi weigh in on Mariners

Jul 12, 2023, 3:06 PM

Seattle Mariners...

Fans cheer as Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners at the MLB All-Star Game on July 11, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

With all eyes in the baseball world focused on the Pacific Northwest and T-Mobile Park, home of the Seattle Mariners, the topic of free agency naturally came up.

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That was especially true during and after the festivities as Mariners fans shouted “Come To Seattle!” chants at Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani during his two All-Star Game plate appearances. Ohtani himself acknowledged the chants after the game and praised the fanbase and the city of Seattle.

Something that’s been discussed for years is that Seattle is a tough sell for MLB free agents in large part because of its location, travel and, for batters, a tough hitting climate.

So, is that the case? Two of ESPN’s most prominent baseball voices – play-by-play man Jon “Boog” Sciambi and Baseball Tonight host Karl Ravech – were asked about that during conversations with Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob ahead of Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

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“I think that most of the time, the players come here and they like coming here,” Sciambi said. “Again, geographically, there’s always going to be advantages and disadvantages. But in terms of a market that likes baseball, that has a great city, then I would have to think the players would enjoy coming to Seattle.”

Ultimately, it comes down to dollars, as Sciambi and Ravech would go on to explain.

“I mean, look, ultimately it’s about writing a check, right? I mean, I think that’s the thing that usually ends up getting it done,” Sciambi said. “But I think this is a magnificent baseball city.”

Ravech said that finances in baseball has changed the way cities are often perceived.

“If a player is motivated by money, I don’t think that a city is going to be a deterrent,” he said. “I also would say that because there’s so much money in this game – we’re sort of seeing some of these super teams that we’re seeing and other sports trying to be built in baseball and obviously (what) the Padres and their owner (are doing) – but you do have relationships, and a lot of players will try to recruit other players to their city. But I don’t think that Seattle and the challenges of their timezone and in particular their travel would get in the way of a superstar signing (with the Mariners) if the money is enough that they’re going to be satisfied to take it. I think that’s a little bit outdated.”

“I don’t buy that thinking anymore that Seattle’s a tough sell,” he later added. “I don’t because I think there have been other cities that have been tough sells that aren’t so much anymore. I mean, teams are gonna pay, players are gonna go. That’s always been the adage in our culture. Follow the money. If there’s money, they’ll go.”

Ravech also thinks something could happen in the near future that could ultimately make the Mariners and Seattle even more attractive.

“I also think, guys, at some point in the near future, we’re gonna see some type of realignment,” he said. “And whether that means we have instead of six divisions, maybe two leagues and that may reduce some of those challenges when it comes to travel.”

Listen to all Wyman and Bob podcasts at this link.

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