The Los Angeles Angels had a chance to match the $700 million offer the Los Angeles Dodgers made for Shohei Ohtani before agreeing to the deal last weekend. However, team owner Arte Moreno has refused to do so, a source familiar with the situation said Thursday.
Ohtani announced Saturday morning that he would sign with the Dodgers, and the deal became official on Monday.
The Los Angeles Times first reported the Angels’ decision not to match the Dodgers’ offer.
“The Angels are special for Shohe,” his agent, Nez Balillo, told reporters Thursday. “He’s been there for the last six years. Everyone has to understand. We felt like they earned the right to at least have a discussion at the end. And that’s what we did. Because, again, it’s a place that I really loved playing. He loved the people there, everything.
“The Angels had every chance.”
The Angels did not respond to a request for comment.
Ohtani spent the first six years of his career in Anaheim, where he won two of the last three American League Most Valuable Player Awards.
It’s unclear whether the two-way star would accept the Angels’ offer if they were a matchup with the Dodgers. It’s also not clear what the Angels’ final offer to Ohtani was.
The Angels had the opportunity to trade Ohtani during the last two trade deadlines and the last offseason, but declined to do so. Instead, they surrendered their minor league chances in August, still finishing the season 73-89 for the second year in a row.
While the Angels were hoping Ohtani would resign, it’s possible Moreno didn’t think highly of Ohtani. During a media appearance in mid-March, Moreno appeared to downplay Ohtani’s abilities.
“He is without a doubt the most outstanding player,” Moreno said. “He’s probably one of the top five or 10 players.”
When asked in that interview if he thought the Angels would make a big, competitive offer for Ohtani, Moreno said: “I think so.” He added that he would be willing to cross the luxury tax threshold to do so.
The Dodgers are paying him the best player in the game – not the top 10. He got the most expensive contract ever. The Angels did not want to make that commitment.
(Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
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