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Shohei Ohtani’s impact extends past the baseball field

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Photo credit:© John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Brennan Delaney
2 months ago
Shohei Ohtani is the best player on the planet.
That much is a given. In 2023, he slashed .304/.412/.654 with 44 home runs in 599 plate appearances, along with a 15.2 BB% and a 23.9 K%. His 180 wRC+ earned him a 6.6 fWAR as a designated hitter. But of course, Ohtani isn’t just great with the bat, as he earned an additional 2.4 fWAR on the mound, owning a 3.14 ERA and 4 FIP with a 31.5 K% and a 10.4 BB% in 132 innings before ending his season due to a UCL injury.
While the most recent season was his best with the bat, his best pitching season came in 2022 when he pitched to the tune of a 2.33 ERA and 2.40 FIP in 166 innings pitched, along with a 33.2 K% and a 6.7 BB% .
There’s never been a player like Ohtani, and there probably will never be another like him either. If the Blue Jays are able to sign him, not only will they get a tremendous bat they desperately need in 2024 and beyond, as well as a front-of-the-rotation starter in 2025, but they’ll also get an incredibly marketable superstar.
According to this Keith Law article from The Athletic on August 25, 2023, Ohtani himself earned the Angels $70,000,000 a season. This is because of the copious amounts of sponsorships the team got, as well as Ohtani-related merchandise that was sold at Angels Stadium.
While Los Angeles is a significantly bigger city than Toronto, the Angels will always live in the shadow of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Not just that, but the Angels actually play in the city of Anaheim, with the stadium being nearly 50 kilometers away from downtown LA. Ohtani played in a big market that’s divided (and for the smaller team).
Toronto and its metropolitan area may not be as big as LA’s, but there is only one team in the entirety of Canada, with several weirdos in certain parts of the country cheering for Seattle (Vancouver) and Minnesota (airport-less Winnipeg) based on geography. Imagine the entirety of Canada’s nearly 40,000,000 population buying a Shohei Ohtani jersey for Christmas?
Not to mention the fact that the Rogers Centre is located in the heart of downtown and accessible by the GO Train from Hamilton in the south, Kitchener in the west, to Barrie in the north, and Oshawanti (Oshawa) in the east. The Toronto Blue Jays actually play in Toronto, unlike the Los Angeles Angels. Speaking of the Rogers Centre, it has been undergoing a renovation worth upwards of $300,000,000 the past two off-seasons. This includes an upgrade to the 100-level which has very, very expensive premium seating. The Blue Jays need to make a big acquisition to continue to sell those seats. There’s more on this in a Ken Rosenthal The Athletic article.
The Blue Jays also happen to be owned by Rogers Communication, one of the largest businesses in Canada. This is to say owner Edward Rogers III has a lot of money to spend ($11,500,000,000 worth per a 2021 assessment from MLB Trade Rumors). Hell, our phone bill or internet bill could probably pay for half of Ohtani’s contract!
On top of being able to afford it, Ohtani is incredibly marketable with his personality. The superstar is loved around the world, as he recently donated youth baseball gloves to over 20,000 schools in Japan. And there’s also that. Ohtani is already an established superstar in Japan and in the United States. It only seems fitting that the Toronto Blue Jays would look to add a third country to the list, and it may even make sense for Ohtani.
All of this is to say that Ohtani’s record breaking contract will easily be returned through numerous avenues without even stepping on the field. The latter is just an additional benefit, and my oh my, is it ever a great one.
So Ross Atkins, Mark Shapiro, the Toronto Blue Jays, and Rogers Communications… get it done.

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

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