Blue Jays ‘very disappointed’ Ohtani chose Dodgers, manager says

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins expressed regret that Ohtani abandoned his team and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

TORONTO — Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins expressed regret that Shohei Ohtani abandoned his team after meeting with them and decided 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 specify whether the meeting occurred on Dec. 4, when Atkins spoke to reporters at winter meetings via Zoom rather than in person in Nashville. Tennessee. Ohtani announced his agreement with the Dodgers five days later.

“Obviously we were very disappointed with the outcome and it was a very difficult phone call for me to take, one of the toughest of my career,” Atkins said Wednesday. “At the same time, (it was) an incredible process, a group effort and collaboration that I really enjoy, not only because of the process, but what it means to be in this place for the organization, for the city, for Canada . .

“I have no doubt that he was exclusively attracted to this country, this city, this team. We felt incredible about the process, but we moved forward.”

Ohtani also met with the San Francisco Giants, who said they made him an offer comparable to the one he accepted with the Dodgers.

Atkins ruled out the possibility of the Blue Jays getting a better offer from a rival bidder.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “I firmly believe the opposite. We really enjoyed this process. It was an incredible effort, from the owners to the business to baseball, people came together. This is not the result we wanted, but we were very happy with the process and we are absolutely confident that this was the case.” authentic and real.”

After Ohtani’s absence, the Blue Jays brought back Gold Glove outfielder Kevin Kiermaier on a one-year, $10.5 million deal and added Isaiah Kiner-Falefa on a two-year, $15 million deal.

Atkins said the outfield and designated hitter positions are ones he would likely add before spring training.

“We have a very good team that we’re very excited about,” Atkins said. “We could be open to an exchange. We are not actively seeking a trade with our major league team.”

Toronto went 89-73 last season and earned a berth in the American League for the third time in four seasons, but lost for the third time in a row, snapping a two-game losing streak at Minnesota.

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