In the first episode of a new Mariners podcast, The Wheelhouse, general manager Jerry Dipoto joined host Aaron Goldsmith to discuss a plethora of topics regarding his team. The 41-minute, must-listen interview is packed with candid assessments of the Mariners’ roster, trade anecdotes and, perhaps most appealing to the general MLBTR audience, more than 15 minutes of talk on Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani. Dipoto doesn’t shy away from expressing his excitement to finally be able to talk about Ohtani now that the 23-year-old is going to be posted for big league clubs, and he’s frank in explaining his desire to make a serious run at signing the right-hander/slugger. “We want to sell the Seattle experience,” says Dipoto. “What it means to the Japanese-American, our culture and how this organization has trended — and trended so positively — when we have a star Japanese player. And make no mistake — this is a star Japanese player. He’s talented. He’s gifted. He’s going to make some team a lot better.” The GM goes on to acknowledge, of course, that Ohtani’s specific preferences when selecting a team remain unclear. It’s possible that Ohtani, for instance, would rather head to an organization that doesn’t have a storied history of Japanese stars so that he can form his own legacy, Dipoto suggests. For the time being, there’s not yet a great way to gauge his top priorities. There are countless variables that’ll determine where Ohtani lands, and while money doesn’t appear to be the primary factor, the Mariners will be on the lookout for means by which to acquire additional international funds to pad their offer to Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto concedes that his trade of hard-throwing righty Thyago Vieira to the White Sox in exchange for international funds was “pretty much” done as a means of increasing his maximum offer to Ohtani. The Mariners also had a glut of pitchers on the roster, he notes (26 of the 39 players on the 40-man) and were in need of some maintenance before this week’s deadline to set the roster for the Rule 5 Draft, though that didn’t seem to be the primary motivation.