Two stars from the Los Angeles Dodgers were less than enthused to see their team in the offseason sweepstakes to sign Japanese free agent Shohei Ohtani.
Justin Turner and Clayton Kershaw were both part of the Dodgers' official meeting with Ohtani, who eventually signed with the Los Angeles Angels. Turner called his involvement "a waste of time," while Kershaw labeled it "a gigantic waste of time," per the Los Angeles Times' Andy McCullough.
Turner discussed his frustration with what he thought was a lack of engagement from Ohtani.
"He might as well have not been sitting there," the 2017 All-Star said, per McCullough. "We might as well have been speaking to a window."
Kershaw added how he thought Ohtani, who starred as both a pitcher and hitter in Japan, had largely made up his mind prior to meeting with the Dodgers:
"It really just seemed like it was pre-determined that he wanted to DH. I'm kind of mad at his agent for making us waste all that time and effort. Fifteen teams should have been out of it, from the beginning. I know it's probably frustrating for everybody in the National League. A lot of guys spent a lot of time trying to figure out what makes him tick, and try to get him over here."
Kershaw may be right about Ohtani, but that wasn't reflected by his seven finalists. According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, four National League teams were still in the hunt to sign the 23-year-old: the Dodgers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs.
Even if the Dodgers' chances of convincing Ohtani to sign were slim, they would've been foolish to turn down the opportunity to meet with him. He batted .332 and slugged .540 last season in Japan. He also has a 2.52 ERA in 85 career appearances.
Kershaw got some measure of revenge in Wednesday's 4-2 spring training win over the Angels. The three-time Cy Young Award winner struck out Ohtani with a wicked curveball in the third inning. MLB Pipeline shared a replay of the strikeout:
The Dodgers will travel to Anaheim for a three-game series against the Angels beginning July 6. The Angels will also head to Los Angeles for another interleague series starting July 13.