The Los Angeles Angels were given a chance to match the Los Angeles Dodgers’ $700 million offer to Shohei Ohtani last weekend before agreeing. However, team owner Arte Moreno refused to do so, a source briefed on the situation said on Thursday.
Ohtani announced his signing with the Dodgers on Saturday morning, and the deal became official on Monday.
The Los Angeles Times first reported the Angels’ decision did not match the Dodgers’ offer.
“The Angels are special to Shohei,” his agent, Ness Paleo, told reporters Thursday. “He has been there for the last six years. Everyone should understand. In the end we felt they at least earned the right to debate. That’s what we did. Because, again, that’s where he wanted to play. He loved the people there, everything.
“The angels had every opportunity.”
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 MVP awards.
It’s unclear if the two-way superstar would accept the Angels’ offer if he suited up with the Dodgers. It’s also unclear what the Angels’ final offer to Ohtani will be.
The Angels had the opportunity to trade Ohtani during the past two trade deadlines and last offseason, but declined to do so. Instead, they traded minor-league prospects in August and finished 73-89 for the second year in a row.
Even though the Angels wanted to resign Ohtani, Moreno didn’t hold Ohtani in high esteem. When available to the media in mid-March, Moreno downplayed Ohtani’s abilities.
“He is a very unique player,” Moreno said. “Maybe one of the top five or 10 players.”
“I think so,” Moreno said in that interview when asked if he believed the Angels would give Ohtani a significant and competitive edge. He added that he was willing to go beyond the luxury tax threshold to do so.
The Dodgers are paying him as the best player in the game — not the top 10. He received the most expensive contract of all time. Angels don’t want to make that commitment.
(Photo: Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images)