In news that almost took a step away from the chase for Shohei Ohtani – almost – Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto picked up a leadoff-hitting, NL stolen base-leading second baseman to play center field Thursday afternoon. For good measure he grabbed an additional $1 million in pool money the Mariners can spend on Shohei Ohtani.

Mariners Hot Stove Podcast: Latest on Shohei Ohtani

We will get how this relates to Ohtani out of the way first. The Mariners now have the most international bonus pool money available to spend on Shohei Ohtani of the seven teams still vying to sign him.

• Mariners, $3.557M
• Rangers, $3.535M
• Angels, $2.315M
• Cubs, $300,000
• Giants, $300,000
• Dodgers, $300,000
• Padres, $300,000

These figures could change as there is still bonus money out there to be traded for, but under the CBA teams are limited to accumulating no more than 75 percent of their initial pool. This trade was about more than just about additional dollars, however.

In a conference call with the media Wednesday, Dipoto hinted that he could get creative in filling the Mariners’ need in the outfield. A day later he traded for Dee Gordon, sending prospects Nick Neidert, Chris Torres and Robert Dugger to the Marlins in exchange for the Gold Glove middle infielder. While some suspected as the news was coming down that this was just a precursor to another deal because the Mariners have All-Stars at shortstop and second base, it quickly became apparent that Dipoto intended to keep Gordon and move him to center field.

Gordon checks off the boxes for the speed and athleticism the Mariners desire. Dipoto does not believe the transition to the outfield will be a problem.

“He’s a terrific athlete,” he said. “I don’t think the transition to center field will be a difficult one. He’s up for …read more

Source:: – Sports


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