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If the Blue Jays push for Shohei Ohtani, would the cost be worth it?

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Brennan Delaney
3 months ago
While the season may currently be ongoing (Go Phillies!), that doesn’t mean that the rumour mill stops churning.
Per Pete Simonetti of New York Yankees News TV, the Blue Jays “are going to go hard after an Ohtani trade”.
 
Now, you may be questioning his sources, which isn’t totally unfair, but back at the trade deadline, he was on the Jordan Montgomery trade with St. Louis. Well, at least they were discussing the trade.
 
Whether this is true or not, it does raise an interesting question. Is Ohtani even worth it? Say the Angels want a big league player with term and your top prospect, do you do it? I personally don’t.
While Ohtani is literally a one-of-a-kind player, he is set to make $31 million in 2023 with only a season left in his contract. Essentially, Ohtani is a full-season rental, albeit, a very valuable one. 
The issue is that every team and their mother would love to have Ohtani, well, at least contenders. If a team is willing to make the push for the expanded playoffs, you better believe that adding Ohtani at $31 million makes a ton of sense.
If say, ten MLB teams are going to push for him, that’ll automatically raise his price more than a mid-season rental and could easily cost a team like the Jays a guy like Kirk and a prospect. It may be less, but as more teams are in on Ohtani, the higher price he’ll cost.
Now, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t trade for Ohtani, especially if a long-term deal is already in place. I’m a big fan of sustainable contending (think the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros), and how often do you see them unload the farm for one player? Maybe once or twice in five seasons. 
If there was no contract in place, and Ohtani walks, you’re cutting your contention window short for one season of being the best team in contention. 
However, as we’ve seen in the past few seasons, the best team in the MLB doesn’t always make it very far. Hell, the Phillies (who had a worse record than the Jays in the regular season) are playing in the World Series. Or the team from Atlanta in 2021… Or the Washington Nationals in 2019. 
Even looking at the Astros and the Phillies, they barely added anyone at the deadline. The most substantial add for the Phillies were Noah Syndergaard and 37-year-old David Robertson. The Astros traded for Trey Mancini and Christian Vasquez.
Teams like the Yankees, the Padres, and the Mariners made big adds, but only the Padres really did anything of significance in the playoffs. The Mariners have already locked up Luis Castillo, but they gave up a ton, while the Yankees got the second-best pitcher (who struggled) and the Padres got Juan Soto. What did they get from it in the crapshoot that’s the playoffs? Nothing. At least not yet.
A sustainable contender can’t empty their farm every season, and depending on the valuation of Ohtani from the Angels, it may be better for the Jays to look elsewhere. Especially if they can’t get a long-term deal in place for him.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.

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