Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins expressed regret that Ohtani spurned his team and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
TORONTO – Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins expressed regret that Shohei Ohtani spurned his team after meeting with him and deciding to sign a record 10-year, $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Atkins confirmed for the first time that Ohtani visited Toronto’s spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida, but did not say if the meeting took place on Dec. 4, when Atkins spoke to reporters at the winter meetings via Zoom instead of in person in Nashville. Tennessee. Ohtani announced his contract with the Dodgers five days later.
“We were obviously very disappointed with the outcome and it was a very difficult phone call to receive, one of the most difficult in my career,” Atkins said Wednesday. “At the same time, (it was an) incredible process and a group effort and collaboration that I feel very good about, not only for the process but for the organization, for the city, for what it meant to be in that position. .
“I have no doubt that he was extraordinarily attracted to this country, this city, this team. We felt incredulous about the process, but we went ahead.”
Ohtani also met with the San Francisco Giants, who said they offered him more than he agreed to with the Dodgers.
Atkins denied using the Blue Jays to get a better offer from a rival bidder.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “I strongly believe the opposite. We felt very good about the process. It was an incredible effort with people coming together, from owners to businesses to baseball. It wasn’t the outcome we wanted, but we felt very good about the process and we felt like That seems to be the case.” Authentic and real.”
After Ohtani was gone, the Blue Jays brought back Gold Glove outfielder Kevin Kiermaier on a one-year, $10.5 million deal, and added Isiah Kiner-Falefa on a two-year, $15 million deal.
Atkins said the outfield and designated hitter positions are ones he will add before spring training.
“We have a very good team that we are exceptionally excited about,” Atkins said. “We may be open to a trade. We are not actively seeking a trade away from our major league team.”
Toronto went 89-73 last season and clinched a wild-card berth in the American League for the third playoff appearance in four seasons, but was swept for the third straight time by scoring two losing runs in Minnesota.