Where Passan thinks Mariners stand in Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes

Sep 9, 2023, 11:35 AM | Updated: 11:37 am

Seattle Mariners All-Star Game Shohei Ohtani...

Shohei Ohtani during the 2023 MLB All-Star Game at the Seattle Mariners' T-Mobile Park. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

We’re still quite a bit away from the MLB offseason, but it’s always fun to look ahead and what the Seattle Mariners may or may not do. And any conversation about the upcoming offseason has to start with Shohei Ohtani.

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Ohtani, 29, is a two-way sensation that has starred for the Los Angeles Angels, and he’s set to hit free agency and likely become the highest-paid player in MLB history when he signs his next contract.

Ohtani’s next deal may have taken a hit of late, though, as he’s suffered a ligament tear in his right throwing elbow and is done pitching for the year. He’s set to have surgery on that elbow, his agent Nez Balelo said this week, but he wouldn’t go as far to say Ohtani would need Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career.

“Was all of that intel and information shared good news or bad news for the odds of Ohtani as a Mariner?” Brock Huard asked ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan during his weekly visit with Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Tuesday.

“The odds of Ohtani as a Mariner. What a really interesting topic,” Passan said.

The Mariners were all-in on Ohtani when he came to MLB ahead of the 2018 season, but he opted to sign with the Angels. Mariners fans have let Ohtani know they want him in an M’s uniform, chanting “Come To Seattle” at the superstar during this year’s All-Star Game at T-Mobile Park.

“I don’t know that the odds are great,” Passan said. “I think they should be. And that, to me, is the existential question of this winter for the Seattle Mariners.”

Passan described Ohtani getting injured as “an absolute gift” in some ways for the Mariners.

“This price that was going to be beyond exorbitant before the injury – and is still going to be enormous after the injury – is within the price range that the Mariners could conceivably, reasonably, theoretically and should be spending,” Passan said. “And yet there’s no indication that they are going to pursue him with the extreme nature that I think they should.

“I think he should be not just their top priority, but they should do everything they possibly could to bring him to town and stretch the budget beyond what they were expecting it to be because this is a once in a lifetime player and you don’t get opportunities like this very often. Go out and be the team that you want to be. Go ahead and convince Shohei Otani that he should win championships in Seattle and not somewhere else.”

Listen to the full conversation with Passan at this link or in the player near the top of this story. 

More on the Seattle Mariners

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• Dipoto talks Mariners’ ‘pooped’ bullpen, lessons Woo is learning
• Why Passan ‘will bet on Kelenic’ over Marlowe and Canzone for Mariners
• Drayer’s Mariners Notebook: Tough September, Muñoz and more
• Mariners lucked out, but they can’t miss on huge opportunity now
• Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez, Andrés Muñoz win AL awards for August
• Mariners Check-In: How Seattle’s trade deadline looks a month later
• What should Mariners do with Teoscar Hernández? Morosi weighs in

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Where Passan thinks Mariners stand in Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes