The Los Angeles Dodgers' secret is out! Manager Dave Roberts spilled the beans, the fans and media reacted with shock, GM Brandon Gomes kind of called him out, Andrew Friedman then "spoke" with him, and the details leaked anyway when reporters got more information.
Ohtani's camp, per reports, wanted his free agency tour to be extremely private. It was believed any team that leaked information would have it held against them. Well, can we even call Roberts' outright saying the Dodgers met with Ohtani a "leak"? That's more of an admission. A leak is when some weasel delivers information to a reporter to stir the pot.
Either way, the Dodgers' leak that came through focused on how the team courted the two-way star. They reportedly shut down Dodger Stadium tours as well as the team store to maintain Ohtani's desired privacy and to avoid any "accidental sightings" that would've led to further rumors.
Time will tell if that strategy worked ... but who will have done it better? The Dodgers or the Seattle Mariners, who apparently stole LA's approach, if we're to believe an official tweet from the M's Team Store.
The Dodgers were said to have met with Ohtani last Friday, while the Mariners' buzz has heated up a bit after rumors surfaced suggesting the investment was too steep for them.
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Then again, much like the Dodgers have done over the last few years, the Mariners have been working to shed payroll this offseason in what's believed to be setting the stage for a larger acquisition. Some thought it was going to be Juan Soto, but the Yankees jumped the line there.
After trading Eugenio Suarez, Jarred Kelenic, Evan White and Marco Gonzales this offseason, M's general manager Jerry Dipoto now has the team's payroll topping out at $108 million for the 2024 season (that includes guaranteed money, contract options and arbitration salaries) and very much puts them in a position to add a possible $50 million AAV contract. There's an absolute wild rumor circulating that the M's offered a one-year, $65 million deal. And who doesn't like wild rumors?!
The Dodgers aren't in that good of shape, but they've maintained short- and long-term flexibility with their financial decisions over the last few years, and are of course a far bigger market than Seattle.
Though the M's have seemingly remained at the back of the line in the Ohtani sweepstakes, that hardly counts them out. Ohtani chose the Angels last time around, a team that never really felt like a true suitor. He eliminated the "favorite" Yankees first. Then he met with the Dodgers, who felt it was a giant waste of time.
Even though some details have leaked, Ohtani's intentions very much remain unclear. All we're hoping is that the Mariners' apparent theft of the Dodgers' strategy to make Ohtani comfortable doesn't give them an edge they may have never had.