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Joel Sherman of the New York Post speculated the Blue Jays could have interest in Juan Soto this upcoming off-season

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Photo credit:© Darren Yamashita - USA Today
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
It’s a well-known fact that the Toronto Blue Jays were major players for Shohei Ohtani during this most recent off-season.
After signing the largest deal in sports’ history with the Dodgers, the Blue Jays pivoted to re-signing Kevin Kiermaier and Shohei Ohtani-lite, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, the only other player with a positive fWAR in both pitching and hitting since the start of 2023.
Both of those signings were fine, I’d even argue that the Kiner-Falefa signing was “good” in a vacuum (aka, without knowledge of the Blue Jays’ Ohtani pursuit.) However, the Blue Jays didn’t get a big bat in the off-season, and it has given them a 32-34 record 11 weeks into the season.
The Blue Jays were obviously willing to spend upwards of $650 million but lost out on their guy. Maybe, just maybe, that was for a reason.

For the third straight season, there’ll be a high-profile free agent

During the 2022-23 off-season, the big free agent was Aaron Judge. Coming off an American League record breaking 62 home runs, posting an incredible 11.2 fWAR and a 209 wRC+. With that being said, the Blue Jays were never in on him.
However, another soon-to-be New York Yankee outfielder is set to become a free agent, Juan Soto. In his latest article, Joel Sherman of the New York Post speculated that the Jays could be in on Soto due to their attempts to acquire Ohtani last off-season.
Now again, this is speculation, this isn’t a report saying “the Blue Jays will be in on Soto”. Here’s exactly what Sherman said:
“Shohei Ohtani offered unique opportunities both as a player and for his marketability. Thus, teams might not be willing to extend quite as far for Soto. Nevertheless, the Cubs and Blue Jays were in on Ohtani, and I would imagine they would try to be aggressive on Soto considering his age and impact.”
It makes a lot of sense. For starters, Soto is a generational talent and a type of bat the Blue Jays have never had in their long franchise history. This season, his first with the Yankees, Soto is slashing .318/.425/.599 with 17 home runs, along with 16 BB% and a 16.3 K% in 294 plate appearances. He’s already accumulated 4.1 fWAR, with his career-high being 6.8 in 2021.
Not only does he fit the Blue Jays’ annoying approach of “station to station small ball”, but Soto is also pacing to break a career-high in home runs, which is 35 that he set with the San Diego Padres last season.
It’s also worth mentioning that the renovations the Blue Jays made in the 2022 and 2023 off-seasons were expensive. They need to sell tickets, and the way they are trending, it looks as if they may compete for a Wild Card spot, but are closer to being sellers than they are buyers.
Even if the team doesn’t make the 2024 postseason, it likely won’t cause a full rebuild, rather than a quick re-tool where the Jays trade expiring free agents (and hopefully re-sign Danny Jansen).
One way to complete a re-tool is signing arguably the best hitter in baseball. Let’s make it happen, Blue Jays.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Ryley_L_D.

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