Dipoto met with the media on the first day of the Major League Baseball winter meetings and discussed the player he coveted so much, but couldn’t sign.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Jerry Dipoto didn’t look like someone who had spent 24 hours in an unresponsive fetal position too distressed and disappointed to move. His words didn’t come through gritted teeth or obvious forced sentiment. There was no jilted scorn or melancholy regret in his voice.
Nope, the Mariners’ general manager was the same energetic guy who had been filled with optimism and hope in the days and weeks before hitting-and-pitching sensation Shohei Ohtani signed with Los Angeles Angels — Dipoto’s former employer — on Friday.
With the majority of the baseball world descending on the Swan & Dolphin Resort in Walt Disney World for the Major League Baseball winter meetings, the bulk of the conversations in the lobby, and of course the lobby bar, centered on two topics — Ohtani’s somewhat surprising decision to sign with the Angels and the Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton.
It started early Sunday evening and carried over into Monday.
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“Is Dipoto okay?” was a common question asked — sometimes in sarcasm and sometimes in feigning concern — based on the Mariners’ very public interest in Ohtani.
After choosing not to comment in the immediate days after Ohtani’s announcement, Dipoto provided an answer Monday evening.
“Clearly, disappointed,” he said. “I’ve read where we were dejected and had our head in the sand. Just like 29 other clubs, we worked hard, and put together what we thought were presentations that best represented the Mariners, and he made his choice. And I’m happy for him. It’s a big thing for any player to be able to select where they want to go play. I’m sure it’s going to work out great for him. He’s a fantastic player, and I’m sure it’s…