Jerry Dipoto opens up about the Mariners’ pursuit of Shohei Ohtani
Nov 22, 2017, 8:55 PM | Updated: 11:57 pm
Last year on the night before Thanksgiving, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto made his biggest trade of the offseason sending Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte to the Diamondbacks for Mitch Haniger, Jean Segura and Zac Curtis. This year he made a splash of a different kind, going in depth on the Mariners’ pursuit of Shohei Ohtani in the debut of his new podcast with Aaron Goldsmith on Mariners.com.
Drayer: What we know about Shohei Ohtani
According to Dipoto, the Mariners are 100 percent in.
“This is a one-time buying opportunity,” he said. “To me the worst thing we could be is sitting on the sideline being too conservative. Sitting on our hands when an opportunity to change the history of the organization comes along, because that’s what this could be.”
In the podcast, Dipoto talked about the Mariners’ year-long preparation for what they hope will be a face-to-face meeting with Ohtani. Some details of the late summer trip by a contingent of Mariners were revealed, as was a look at the potential “sell” by the organization to the phenom.
Dipoto acknowledged that not much is known about what Ohtani is looking for in a new team and new home. There is the chance that he wants to carve his own path on a team that hasn’t had a prominent Japanese player. Then again, the Mariners history might be hard to overlook.
“Whether you look at Ichiro (Suzuki), (Kazahiro) Sasaki, (Kenji) Johjima, (Hisashi) Iwakuma, the history of the Japanese player in Seattle has been so celebrated,” Dipoto pointed out. “Some of the greatest players in our franchise’s history have been from Japan. There is an attraction there. There has to be for a player who is as respectful of those who came before him as Shohei Ohtani appears to be. That I think is a positive in our favor, especially because all of those players so far have been more than happy or willing to assist us in the recruiting process among others.”
A note here, while so much has been made of the Yu Darvish/Shohei Ohtani connection, it appears there is a connection with Iwakuma as well. The two are said to have worked out in the past together at the training facility Iwakuma owns in Japan. Regardless of who has the most pull, if any, Dipoto says the Mariners will not leave any stone unturned in the recruitment of Ohtani.
“We are not joking. We are bringing the big guns, we are bringing our A-game,” he said. “When we sit down we will be sitting down with very notable faces. And that is a part of what we want to sell. We want to see the Seattle experience, what it means to the Japanese American. Our culture, and how this organization has trended so positively when we have the star Japanese player – and make no mistake, this is a star Japanese player. He’s gifted. He’s going to make some team a lot better.”
The full podcast can be found at this link.