What could have been if Shohei Ohtani signed with the Blue Jays


Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese baseball superstar, has just made history by signing the largest contract in baseball history. The Los Angeles Dodgers have secured Ohtani’s services for the next 10 years, for an astonishing $700 million. While there were several teams in the running, the Toronto Blue Jays came closest to landing the highly sought-after player. This article explores what could have transpired if Ohtani had chosen the Blue Jays instead.

Firstly, let’s consider the logistics of the contract. Initially, it was estimated that whichever team signed Ohtani would need to pay between $500 and $600 million. The Blue Jays, with an active total payroll of $128,964,255 for 2024, had the financial capability to afford the $700 million contract secured by the Dodgers. Therefore, from a financial standpoint, signing Ohtani would not have been an issue for the Blue Jays. However, it seems that staying in California was a more enticing prospect for the Japanese superstar.

So, what would Ohtani have brought to the Blue Jays? Adding Ohtani to any lineup instantly improves it, as he is a dual threat both as a hitter and a pitcher. Although he may not have pitched much or at all in 2024 due to elbow surgery, he could have filled the designated hitter role and potentially worked his way into the rotation alongside Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the Blue Jays’ current DH. Ohtani’s presence would have strengthened the team’s mound presence and provided a boost to the catchers as well.

In the previous season, Ohtani showcased his skills with 151 hits in 497 at-bats, maintaining an impressive average of .304. He hit 44 home runs, ranking fourth-best in the league, and recorded 95 RBIs. On the pitching front, he played 23 games, accumulating 163 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.14. While these may not have been his best pitching statistics for a season, his batting average alone would have placed him as the fifth-best batter for the Blue Jays, and his ERA would have made him the ninth-best pitcher. Ohtani’s presence would have not only added a formidable talent to the roster but also alleviated the Blue Jays’ struggles with leaving players stranded on base.

However, despite the potential benefits, Ohtani ultimately decided against joining the Blue Jays. The exact reasons for his decision remain unknown, and fans will have to wait for his press conference to gain further insight. There are several possibilities, though. One reason could be that staying in California allows Ohtani to remain geographically close to his home country of Japan. Another factor could be concerns about his longevity following his recent elbow surgery. Investing $700 million in any player carries significant risks, and the Blue Jays may have chosen to avoid any doubts by not pursuing the contract. Confidence in Ohtani’s ability to perform at his previous level may have played a significant role in their decision.

In conclusion, while the Toronto Blue Jays were in the running to sign Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese superstar ultimately chose to join the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Blue Jays had the financial means to secure the contract, and Ohtani’s addition would have undoubtedly strengthened the team. However, factors such as geographical proximity and concerns about his post-surgery performance may have influenced his decision. Despite missing out on Ohtani, the Blue Jays will continue to search for opportunities to enhance their roster and compete at the highest level.

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