Angels declined to match Dodgers' offer to Ohtani

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Angels declined to match Dodgers' offer to Ohtani

The Los Angeles Angels were given a chance to match the Los Angeles Dodgers’ $700 million offer to Shohei Ohtani before the deal was agreed to last weekend. However, team owner Arte Moreno declined to do so, a source briefed on the situation said Thursday.

Ohtani announced Saturday morning that he’d sign with the Dodgers, and the deal became official Monday.

The Los Angeles Times first reported the Angels’ decision to not match the Dodgers’ offer.

“The Angels are special to Shohei,” his agent, Nez Balelo, told reporters Thursday. “He was there for the last six years. Everybody has to understand. We felt that 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 he really loved 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 isn’t clear if the two-way superstar would have accepted the Angels’ offer if they’d matched the Dodgers. It also isn’t clear what the Angels’ final offer to Ohtani was.

The Angels had the opportunity to trade Ohtani during the last two trade deadlines and last offseason, but declined to do so. Instead, they traded away minor-league prospects in August, and still finished 73-89 for the second consecutive year.

While the Angels had hoped to resign Ohtani, it’s possible Moreno didn’t value Ohtani that highly. During his mid-March media availability, Moreno seemingly downplayed Ohtani’s abilities.

“He’s arguably the most unique player,” Moreno said. “Probably one of the top five or 10 players.”

When asked in that interview if he believed the Angels would make a significant and competitive offer to Ohtani, Moreno said, “I think so.” He added that he’d be willing to go over the luxury tax threshold to do so.

The Dodgers are paying him as the top player in the game — not the top 10. He received the most expensive contract of all time. The Angels didn’t want to make that commitment.

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(Photo: Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images)