Photo credit:© Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Offer Blue Jays made to Shohei Ohtani was apparently “right there” with $700 million Dodgers contract
By Cam Lewis2 months ago
The Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes concluded in a fairly anticlimactic way.
The two-way superstar announced on his personal Instagram page over the weekend that he had signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers — the rich, successful, big-market team that had always been viewed as the favourites to land him.
The ride was made interesting by the involvement of the Toronto Blue Jays. They gave Ohtani a tour of their training complex in Dunedin on Monday, the team went from being viewed as a darkhorse with interest to a serious contender, and then there was a report on Friday that he was on his way to Toronto because he had chosen the Blue Jays.
Unfortunately, Ohtani wasn’t actually on his way to ink a franchise-altering deal with the Blue Jays. He was at his home in Los Angeles. Later that day, Ohtani met with the Dodgers, they offered him a 10-year, $700 million contract, and everything ultimately wrapped up as planned.
It was another rollercoaster ride for Blue Jays supporters, who have witnessed a unique wide array of letdowns over the past few years. From coming up short of the playoffs on the final day of the season to blowing an 8-1 lead in an elimination game to being swept by a team that had dropped 18 consecutive playoff games, this was yet another strikeout for Toronto.
But, as with those playoff letdowns, at least they’re at the party, which wasn’t the case for many years. This wasn’t the Yu Darvish situation where the Blue Jays made a pretend offer to make it seem like they were trying to do something. They were legitimately involved to sign the biggest and most impactful free agent to come along in generations.
According to Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, “The Blue Jays were ‘right there’ with an offer described as very competitive” to the $700 million that Ohtani ultimately signed with the Dodgers. The specifics of the offer aren’t known, but it was expected to be “well above” $600 million. The oft-critical Steve Simmons even praised their pursuit of Ohtani, saying “They didn’t mail this in. This wasn’t a plan to get people talking. They went hard at Ohtani. They made the process more interesting and more competitive.”
There’s a considerable amount of speculation that the Blue Jays were simply used as a bargaining chip by Ohtani’s camp to force the Dodgers into a bigger offer and he was going to stay in Los Angeles all along. But you’d think that an NL West Division rival or the defending World Series Champions would be the best teams to use to spook the Dodgers into thinking they don’t actually have this team in the bag. We’ll never know whether Ohtani actually considered the Blue Jays or not, but their case was compelling enough that they were talked about as the runner-up over the San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, and many others.
There’s solace to take in the fact we’re talking about signing Shohei Ohtani rather than the idea of everyone putting some cash into a hat to afford Ervin Santana. Still, nobody wants to see a Shohei Ohtani Sweepstakes 2023 Rummer-Ups banner flying at the Rogers Centre next year.
The Blue Jays need to pivot the money they’ve unlocked from Rogers and make a handful of improvements to their roster. No name is going to sell premium ticket packages like Ohtani would have, but winning will.
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