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Toronto Blue Jays, Shohei Ohtani reportedly meet at club’s training complex in Dunedin
By Zach Laing2 months ago
The Toronto Blue Jays and superstar free agent Shohei Ohtani reportedly met at the club’s Dundein complex on Monday, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported early Tuesday morning.
The meeting, which Rosenthal said is an indication Ohtani’s negotiations with teams are entering final stages, reportedly occurred Monday, explaining GM Ross Atkins’ absence from what was a previously scheduled media availability in Nashville.
The availability was held on Zoom, where Atikins sat before a white wall, not explaining his whereabouts or why his plans had changed. Atkins wasn’t the only one who had an availability change, either, as Jays skipper John Schneider was originally scheduled to meet with media Monday, too, but those plans changed last Friday, with his availability being moved to Tuesday.
Ohtani’s agent, who Rosenthal writes has “warned (teams) that leaking any details of the process would be held against them,” was also not in Nashville Monday. Rosenthal’s report didn’t indicate how he received information of the meeting.
“For Ohtani, whose trademarks include an intense focus on preparation and relentless attention to detail, a visit to the Jays’ spring-training home likely would be a prerequisite to him further advancing negotiations,” Rosenthal reported. “As a member of the Angels, Ohtani played at the Jays’ home park, Rogers Centre. He has not previously seen the team’s $100 training complex, which opened in 2021.”
The reported meeting is a clear sign, and potentially the largest signal, of just how serious the Toronto Blue Jays are in their pursuit of who might be the greatest baseball player of all-time.
Toronto’s $100m complex in Dunedin, opened in 2021, was built as a state-of-the-art, top-of-the-line facility intended to assist the club in not only assisting in developing prospects, but in attracting international free agents, too. The facility hosted Jays pitcher Alek Manoah for a stretch earlier in the 2023 season, when the beleaguered former Cy Young candidate lost his game early in the campaign.
Their Dunedin complex is also where the Jays host Spring Training, and where the club will play 10 games ahead of the regular season.
While it initially seemed like the Blue Jays had been nibbling on the edges, and a long shot to land Ohtani, oddsmakers have increasingly improved Toronto’s odds. Those include that of Betano, who sponsors content on BlueJaysNation, who currently have the Jays at +250 to land Ohtani, trailing behind only the LA Dodgers (-200).
The Dodgers have long been considered front runners for Ohtani, given the proximity to where he’s been most comfortable, their flexible payroll, and a previous success. But the Jays’ emergence as a serious suitor for his services have continued to ramp up.
Earlier Monday, it was reported that Ohtani was not expected to sign before the Winter Meetings conclude, which sees the annual four-day hotstove finish Thursday.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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