Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers were able to land two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani on a record-breaking contract in free agency this offseason, overcoming multiple interested teams for his services.
Ohtani’s 10-year, $700 million contract is structured in a way that the Dodgers are able to continue spending each year as the majority of his money is deferred.
Ohtani offered the same deal to all his finalists, so it came down to preference and which clubs would accept the proposed terms. At various points, the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays were all in the mix.
While the New York Mets and owner Steve Cohen have the most money of any team, they were never seriously involved. Cohen also revealed that he and Ohtani’s agent, Nez Balelo, were never in communication, per Will Sammon of The Athletic:
“The agent never reached out to me personally,” Cohen told The Athletic, “and I think that’s pretty telling.”
Cohen’s prominence in spending power is noteworthy around Major League Baseball in his ability to hand out huge contracts, but Ohtani had more in mind than going to the highest bidder.
The Giants, Blue Jays and Dodgers all agreed to Ohtani’s proposed contract structure, while the Angels reportedly declined to defer any money.
The Mets of course didn’t get the chance to receive that offer from Ohtani, but it’s pretty safe to say Cohen would have been willing to meet the demands had the two-time MVP wanted to play in New York.
Mets cited Shohei Ohtani as a negative in pursuit of Yoshinobu Yamamoto
After Ohtani signed on with the Dodgers, the focus turned to Yoshinobu Yamamoto for many teams, with the Mets and Dodgers battling it out for his services.
Cohen and Yamamoto, including his representation, were said to have had multiple meetings with the belief that they wouldn’t be outbid for the 25-year-old. However, in their recruiting pitch, the Mets attempted to use Ohtani’s new status with the Dodgers as a possible deterrent.
Cohen and the Mets were rumored to cite Yamamoto’s ability to create his own spotlight on the East Coast without having to play second-fiddle.
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