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Shohei Ohtani and the L.A. Dodgers will face the Blue Jays in Toronto in late April

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Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Brennan Delaney
2 months ago
Two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani will be flying to Toronto… with his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates for a series against the Blue Jays between April 26 and 28. 
What a brutal turn of events, as it seemed for quite a while that the Blue Jays would land the biggest free agent on the market. However, on Saturday afternoon, the 29-year-old announced via Instagram that he was taking his talents to the Dodgers, pretty much exactly what the entire baseball world expected when the off-season started. 
Now, fans will unfortunately have to watch Sho Time with Ohtani as a visitor. What will the reception be like for the man who was a Blue Jay for a few hours during a plane flight he wasn’t actually on? Maybe some boos from those who believe Ohtani used the Blue Jays for nothing more than leverage, but it’ll surely be drowned out by cheers from those who appreciate the game’s best.
Would it have been nice if the Blue Jays were able to sign the 2023 American League MVP who slashed .304/.412/.654 with 44 home runs in 599 plate appearances for a league-high 180 wRC+? Sure! Would it have been nice for Ohtani to return to pitching in 2025 after posting a 3.14 ERA and a 4 FIP in 132 innings pitched in 2023? Absolutely!
Realistically, Ohtani’s on-field value will decrease as time goes on. The Dodgers are paying him $70 million in 2024 just to designate a hit, which, yeah, I mean, he was the best hitter last season, but that’s a lot of coin for just one element of the game. 
How long it takes to become a “bad” contract (at least in terms of what he brings on the field) will depend on how he recovers from his injury. As you likely know, Ohtani suffered a UCL injury which required surgery. While it may not have been Tommy John, it’s the second time his UCL has undergone a significant procedure. Who knows how this deal will age if he doesn’t return to form pitching?
However, at this point, the Blue Jays will need to pivot away from Ohtani even if we’re all still hurt and I’m just coping. The entire fanbase’s hopes are up right now. The Jays will need to do something big, especially if they want to sell the expensive premium seating, 
Cody Bellinger remains available, and he’d fill the need for a left-handed batting outfielder (as he posted a 4.1 fWAR in 2023). Alternatively, they could go big and sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto, then trade one of their numerous starters for an outfielder that way.
It won’t make up for the loss of Ohtani, but those would still be considered big moves in any other season.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.

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