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Blue Jays Are Out Of the Shohei Ohtani Sweepstakes (But Thankfully So Are the Yankees and Red Sox)

MLB’s next great Japanese superstar will not be playing for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2018, according to a tweet from Shi Davidi:

That’s the bad news. It’s also pretty thoroughly unsurprising news. The good news? Ohtani’s strong preference toward playing on the west coast, and in a smaller market, means that the fucking Yankees and Red Sox are out, too.

So there you have it. Or… not it. But enough of it that Jays fans can comfortably move on, and the front office can continue on with the business of their offseason. It’s a disappointing moment, because I can’t lie, I could never quite shake the idea that there was a small glimmer of hope that he might end up here — and the way it’s playing out suggests that Ohtani was definitely being genuine about looking for the right fit — but obviously the fact that he’s not going to be playing with the fucking Yankees or fucking Red Sox or fucking Orioles or fucking Rays is a pretty goddamned tasty consolation prize. As is the fact that this isn’t anything that can get spun into something to be outraged about. Geography was clearly just too important to Ohtani, and working too hard against the Jays.

I dunno. I wish Ohtani well and hope he finds what he’s looking for. Now let’s finally let the damn offseason begin!

    • Nice Guy Eddie

      I doubt the Red Sox were in it. If he wanted a team in the east he’d be a Yankee. The Red Sox have money and draw with Americans. For Japanese players, they are well behind the Yankees.

        • Nice Guy Eddie

          Entirely different system Andrew. That was more than 10 years ago, when the highest sealed bid won. The Red Sox outbid everyone. As I said, the Red Sox have money. If it was only another sealed bid, they may have won again. But it wasn’t.

          • Nice Guy Eddie

            What the change in system shows is that your comparison with Daisuke Matsuzaka is ‘ridiculous’. as you put it. Daisuke Matsusaka proves nothing at all about whether Boston is an attractive destination for Japanese players. You may disagree with my assessment that Ohtani would be disinterested in Boston if New York was in play, but your Matsusaka example proved nothing.

          • GrumblePup

            The Matsusaka example may have proved nothing, but you’re spouting off opinion based on precisely nothing. Your claim is completely unfounded (unless you work in the Boston office. If that’s the case, I withdrawn my comment). Also, you’re being ridiculous.

  • Nice Guy Eddie

    It looks like the competitors could be: 1. (As predicted here) west coast teams. 2. Rangers (no doubt that Texas tax structure is appealing) 3. The Cubs. Large market team in great city with great young players.

  • Tom Flawless

    Sure seems like the Giants would make a great fit for him. At least I’m telling myself that because I hope he plays in the NL, rather than prop up a middling team like the Mariners into the Wild Card race.

  • AD

    This was a fucking waste of time. What was the point of sending that questionnaire to all 30 MLBteams then? His reps should have made it clear from the beginning he only wants west coast teams, then the jays could have focused on other things. This looks bad on ohtani and his agents.

      • AD

        Are you kidding me? This guy basically said no to a bunch of wealthy, well run teams all due to geography. Nothing they said or have done could have changed his mind. It was just poorly handled by his agents. It seems primitive mind you that he said no to these teams just due to an extra 5 hours of flight time but thats his choice. Just cant believe things went this far and geography was the determining factor.

        • Jays of Thunder

          You are mad online that a prospective MLB player sent a questionnaire to a couple dozen team while being unlikely to sign with them.

          Flight time is not the only consideration, he’s definitely not going to be making the trip too often. we probably don’t know many considerations. How does the time difference on east vs west coast affect media exposure for games in Japan? How does it affect his ability to connect with friends and family back home?

          • AD

            Wouldnt say mad but think its stupid that be kept a bunch non west coast teams hostage thinking they had a chance to sign him. He always wanted the west coast and should have been upfront about that, just my opinion. Also, think its silly for dismissing a bunch of really well run teams due to geography but its his choice. Dont see how a 3 hour time difference makes a big difference for friends/family but who knows.

          • Jays of Thunder

            Eh, I get that it seems like it *could* be a useless exercise teams were forced into, but it also seems totally possible that Ohtani wasn’t completely sure what he wanted, or he was thinking he wanted to go to the west coast but chose to solicit extra proposals just in case he was blown away by one. I can’t blame the guy for being thorough for a decision of this magnitude.

      • Steve-O

        I’ve really enjoyed watching a player grab all MLB teams by the short hairs and twist. It’s a nice bit of role-reversal, and good on him for making them work for the right to enjoy his services.

        That he spurned the annoyingly-entitled Red Sox and Yankees makes it even more delightful.

        (Now, don’t sign with the Rangers and ruin all that goodwill you’ve built up, Ohtani, my man.)

  • Oakville Jays

    I think it is interesting that Atkins was proud of his presentation to Ohtani. I don’t understand why Atkins & Shapiro want to pretend to be interested in every flashy free agent . They would be better off shooting down these rumours & keep expectations as low as possible for 2018.

    • Nice Guy Eddie

      I think the explanation Oakville, is that they made a presentation to be proud of, and they don’t shoot down rumours while they are still making an effort. Which all sounds reasonable. What doesn’t sound reasonable, is the diaper filling by opponents of the front office who have nothing of value to add but load up their diapers nevertheless

    • Norm Kelly

      Jays brain trust in a bit of damned if they do, damned if they don’t situation. Had to make a presentation so fans would see they at least gave it a shot but must have been aware they had no realistic shot.

      • Cecilrosa

        It’s funny, yesterday everyone had a shot with the Yankees being the favourite. No one knew what Ohtani’s preferences were until today that he would prefer a smaller market and prefer the west coast. Atkins and Shapiro felt they were a great fit but did not know he was looking for, no one did. As far as they knew they had as good a shot as anyone.


    This is all worth it just to see the NY shit rags having a melt-down, and pissing their pants over not being the favorite destination of a star player for once. That Daily News cover is glorious schadenfreude.

  • The Original Mark

    I post this knowing that I’ll get attacked for recency bias, but hopefully some will hear me out: I’m starting to wonder if there’s a point in the Jays wasting time scouting Japan until such time as the current system changes. I can’t think of a single player that they’ve signed out of Japan in their near 40 year history. Whether it’s not being the highest bidder, not being on the west coast, or not being in an American market, there always seems to be a reason why Japanese players just aren’t interested in playing in Canada. I think the Jays would do well to can the expensive Japanese scouting efforts and double down in Latin America where they have had huge success for decades.

    • Kris

      But how much of a waste is it? Correct me if I am wrong but Evans is the only guy in the Asian market for the Jays and he does that part time. (He is also a major league scout). The Latin American branch has 15-17 guys. The Asian market is growing and it is important that the Jays have access to it. The stars may have to align for a superstar like Ohtani but you still have non-stars coming over or guys like Eric Thames coming back. You need scouts checking them out. And you also need scouts for scouting reports on how to pitch or hit Vs these guys.

    • Barry

      What are the costs, though? I ask because I have no idea. How active is our Japanese scouting? Do we have one scout there? Multiple scouts? Any scouts at all?

      I’m not sure it’s that expensive having scouts in another country; I don’t think we hire North Americans and then fly them to DR, Japan, etc. and put them up in houses. They are likely people who already live in those countries and know the leagues inside out, and we just pay for their services.

      • Cecilrosa

        Until the Jays hired Dan Evans they had zero presence in Asia and two years ago only 4 teams had full time scouts in Asia. It’s not just a Blue Jays issue, but an issue with most teams. Part of the issue is that it’s very hard to convince a Japanese or Korean player to sign out of high school. In addition to jumping to a different culture and language at 18; the players would get very little money (subject to international spending limits) just to spend years playing minor league baseball when they can start their professional careers right away in their homelands getting paid better (compared to minor leaguers).

        If more players were willing to come over out of high school then I imagine more teams would have a stronger scouting presence over there; however since they aren’t, Japanese and Korean players are coming over via the posting system which the Japanese teams and not the players have all the leverage and control (Japanese players are under a minimum of 7 years of team control).

  • El Cabeza

    Since I never expected the Jays to be a contender, not the Yanquis/Sox means this is a win from my perspective.

    I am surprised he seems to care more about playing in the West than taking advantage of the DH. According to the list of contenders left, most are NL squads.

    • Norm Kelly

      The DH is why I’m pretty sure he ends up playing for Seattle..plus the large Japanese fan base plus their history of Japanese players plus they are probably an Ohtani away from being a legit contender.

  • Flash McLennan

    Washington State has no income tax, which becomes an even bigger selling point vs California with the state and local deduction going away in the new tax bill.

    That said, if he cared about money, he’d be coming over two years from now.