Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto, debuting a new weekly podcast with club broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith, made no effort to hide his team's eagerness to recruit Shohei Ohtani now that there's a posting process in place to allow the Japanese two-way star to pursue a Major League career.

Dipoto said the Mariners have been preparing their pitch for the 23-year-old Ohtani for more than a year now, and the GM believes the franchise's history with Japanese players could be a significant factor.

In the wide-ranging podcast, Dipoto said the club would be willing to play designated hitter Nelson Cruz in the outfield several times a week to open a spot for Ohtani to hit next season if he signed with Seattle. Dipoto acknowledged last week's trade of hard-throwing relief prospect Thyago Vieira to the White Sox for international bonus money was made largely with the goal of accumulating more money to compete for the Japanese star.

The Mariners have $1.55 million in international bonus money now available, which is below the $3.5 million of the Yankees and Rangers, but more than the majority of Major League teams. Dipoto noted Ohtani seems motivated by more than just cash, but he said he'll continue pursuing every avenue possible, including further trades for slot money.