Arte Moreno and Angels declined to match $700-million offer for Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani bumps fists with Angels owner Arte Moreno
Shohei Ohtani, left, bumps fists with Angels owner Arte Moreno in 2021. Moreno declined to match the Dodgers’ offer to Ohtani, and the two-way star ultimately agreed to sign with the Dodgers.
(John McCoy / Getty Images)

Before Shohei Ohtani made his decision last week to sign with the Dodgers, he and his agent, Nez Balelo of CAA Sports, approached the Angels near the end of his free-agent process, giving Ohtani’s old team a chance to convince him to stay in Anaheim.

However, Angels owner Arte Moreno wouldn’t budge. According to multiple people with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly, Moreno wouldn’t match the 10-year, $700-million deal Ohtani eventually signed with the Dodgers.

Not even the late effort from Ohtani’s camp to continue negotiations changed his mind.

The two-way superstar speaks to the media for the first time since signing with the Dodgers.

Dec. 14, 2023

In a Zoom call with reporters Friday morning, Angels general manager Perry Minasian declined to say if a formal offer was made or offer specifics about any negotiations with Ohtani and his camp, adding: “We congratulate him on his deal and we wish him nothing but the best.”


When asked why the team did not trade Ohtani if the price was going to be too high for ownership, Minasian said: “We made a decision at the trade deadline. We were playing really good baseball. ... It didn’t work out. There’s zero regrets.”

During Ohtani’s introductory news conference at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, the two-time most valuable player spoke highly of his tenure in Anaheim and said he was sad to leave the club.

At the same time, Ohtani has stated repeatedly throughout his career that he wants to make playoff appearances and contend for World Series championships. The Dodgers offered a near-guarantee of October baseball. Even with Ohtani and Mike Trout the last six years, the Angels had proven incapable of anything close.

Shohei Ohtani’s dog stole the show during his American League MVP announcement last month. The new Dodgers star revealed the dog’s name on Thursday.

Dec. 14, 2023

Still, in the latter stages of his free agency this month, it doesn’t appear Ohtani eliminated the Angels from contention. Balelo said he “made sure that I kept in touch with them” throughout the process, and that “we felt that they earned the right to at least have a discussion at the end.”

Balelo declined to disclose any specifics about Ohtani’s talks with the Angels, including whether money was the difference in his decision to leave Anaheim.


“I won’t go there,” he said. “But just know that we had really healthy discussions. The Angels had every opportunity.”

The hold-up was Moreno, who failed to meet what Ohtani’s camp was requesting, according to sources with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly. The details of the Angels’ final offer remain unclear.

Ultimately, Ohtani decided on Friday night he would sign with the Dodgers. On Saturday afternoon, he made the announcement.

And five days later, as Ohtani was paraded around his new home ballpark covered in blue and white, Balelo offered only consolatory remarks about his client’s old club.

“It’s a place that he really loved to play. He loved the people there, everything. So we didn’t want to miss the idea of giving them an opportunity,” Balelo said, adding: “But at the end, it just wasn’t going to work.”

Shohei Ohtani, who earned two-time MVP honors with the Angels, is staying in Southern California and will join the star-studded Dodgers lineup.

Dec. 9, 2023