Shohei Ohtani

Roberts confirms Ohtani Dodgers visit despite reported secrecy request

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Well, the cat's out of the bag ... for the Los Angeles Dodgers, at least.

Amid whispers and rumors concerning Shohei Ohtani's free-agency tour, Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts on Tuesday confirmed his team recently met with the Japanese superstar at Dodger Stadium.

While Giants fans naturally should be concerned Ohtani's meeting with their NL West rival went well, Roberts' admission also could be a good sign for fans in the Bay hoping the two-way talent signs with San Francisco.

There has been much secrecy surrounding Ohtani's negotiations with teams, and for good reason. Last month, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that if a meeting between Ohtani and any team becomes public, the two-way superstar would hold it against the interested club.

"If there is one thing to know about Shohei Ohtani's free agency, it's that you are unlikely to know much about it until he signs somewhere," Passan wrote (h/t SI Now). "If visits between Ohtani and a team are reported publicly, it will be held against the team, so the circles will be tiny and tight."

If Ohtani's meeting with the Dodgers did in fact go well, perhaps things could take a turn following Roberts' media session at the MLB Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn. The Dodgers manager is the league's first to go on the record about meeting with Ohtani. Giants manager Bob Melvin on Tuesday told reporters he neither could deny nor confirm San Francisco has had a meeting of its own with him.

And, per USA Today's Bob Nightengale, Roberts' words might have had ramifications. The manager spoke "freely and relaxed" about the meeting before reading a text with a serious face, then gathered with Dodgers public relations officials, Nightengale reported in his latest from the winter meetings.

“I would like to be honest, and so we met with Shohei," Roberts told reporters afterward. “I don’t feel like lying is something that I do. I was asked a question, and to be forthright in this situation, we kept it quiet. But I think that it’s going to come out at some point that we met.

“So, I don't think myself or anyone in our organization would want to lie about it."

And just because the Giants haven't said anything about a meeting doesn't necessarily mean one hasn't occurred. The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reported this week there are "multiple indications" Ohtani met with the Giants on Saturday after the team's top brass was photographed at Oracle Park.

And Ohtani reportedly has met with the Toronto Blue Jays, too. The team is believed to have courted Ohtani on Monday at their spring training complex in Dunedin, Fla., The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported.

Multiple reports suggest the 29-year-old's decision should come soon. While the Giants have done their part in keeping tight-lipped about their own negotiations with Ohtani, fans in San Francisco can only hope the Dodgers' failure to do the same helps the Bay in the long run.

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