REPORT: AL Team Serious Contender for Ohtani


Jun 10, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) hits a 2-run home run during the third inning against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

(Toronto) – According to a published report, baseball’s biggest two-way star since Babe Ruth could go international during this free agency.

In other words, don’t assume that Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani will end up in California, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, or Texas.

In fact, Ohtani could end up “running through the six with his woes” – you know how that stuff goes – if The Athletic’s reporting is accurate. According to their findings, Ohtani could end up sharing Toronto with Drake, the Raptors, and Maple Leafs – by signing with the Toronto Blue Jays. On Monday night, Ohtani and his camp met with Blue Jays officials on Monday in Dunedin, Florida – where Toronto’s spring training complex is located. Meanwhile, most of the baseball world is focused on Nashville, Tennessee – where the Winter Meetings are underway.

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Athletic’s report says that in addition to the Blue Jays, Ohtani has met with one other club. The Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, and LA Angels – where Ohtani began his MLB career – are listed by The Athletic as the pitcher/slugger’s other top suitors.

For the most part, details have been scarce surrounding Ohtani’s free agency and what teams he may be meeting with. The Athletic describes the process as “shrouded in secrecy.” On X, New York Post MLB insider Jon Heyman responded to the report: “Assuming (this is) right, the Jays should be presumed to be not a long shot but a serious player for Ohtani.”

Industry buzz grew and chatter arose linking Ohtani and Toronto after the Blue Jays made changes to Monday’s media availability. The New York Post also reports that Toronto is one of the many teams looking into the possible acquisition of Juan Soto – with the Padres expected to trade the superstar outfielder.

Mandatory Credit: Ray Acevedo-USA TODAY Sports

As for Ohtani, last week Heyman reported that the market has significantly higher than $500 million, with the indication being $600 million or higher may be more accurate. Ohtani is expected to miss all of this coming year as a pitcher – given he needs to undergo a Tommy John-like procedure on his elbow and then rehab before getting back on the mound. But that’s not expected to keep him from swinging a bat and contributing as a DH.

Given Ohtani batted .304 with 44 HR last year while winning the MVP, just his offensive production is enough to attract a massive contract. Yet it’s Ohtani’s two-way production that’s most tantalizing – and valuable – with the hope being he can get back to the level he previously pitched at. Over 132 innings in 2023, prior to hurting his elbow, Ohtani struck out 167 batters and compiled a 10-5 record with a 3.14 ERA.

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