Photo credit:USA Today - Dan Hamilton
Well, that was disappointing
2 months ago
The 2024 Blue Jays are going to be so much fun!
Is what I’d say if Shohei Ohtani didn’t announce on Instagram that he has signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Per Jeff Passan, Ohtani agreed to a 10-year, $700m deal, which surpasses Cristiano Ronaldo for the largest sports contract in history.
It’s not hard to pinpoint what sucks about the Jays losing out on Ohtani. Last season, he slashed .304/.412/.654 with 44 home runs in 599 plate appearances for a league-high 180 wRC+. The 29-year-old also pitched, posting a 3.14 ERA and a 4 FIP in 132 innings pitched before needing surgery to repair his UCL.
But there are layers to this one. The Jays were seemingly legitimate finalists in the race, and I’m not quite sure they were being used for leverage. If I had to speculate, my assumption is that the Jays offered at least $600m, but the Dodgers just happened to outbid them. This Jon Heyman Tweet reads in a few different ways.
There’s no other player in baseball that would instantly be worth his contract off the field like Ohtani is. The two-way player gets butts in seats, makes the team a ton in merchandise sales, and the marketing possibilities are endless. This doesn’t even mention sponsorships.
The media circus on Friday was probably the most devastating aspect of the season. As you’ll be able to recall, J.P. Hoornstra from Dodger Nation (no relation) reported that Ohtani was going to sign with the Blue Jays, which whipped everyone into a frenzy.
Later that day, “PlaneGate” happened, where a private jet tracked by baseball fans was rumoured to be Ohtani heading to Toronto. Jon Morosi started a forest fire by confirming that it was Ohtani in the plane, just for other media members to put it out. The plane was flying Dragon Den’s star Robert Herjavec. Fuck sakes.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly happy that this front office is serious about winning by offering Ohtani hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars. With that being said, it feels like the air has been let out of the balloon. No matter what the Blue Jays do in free agency, like signing Cody Bellinger, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, or Matt Chapman (even all three), nothing will compare to signing the best player in history.
Had the Jays not been interested in Ohtani, there would likely be a lot more excitement heading into the 2024 season, but man, this really sucks.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.
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