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Blue Jays Emerge in Shohei Ohtani Sweepstakes, Unlikely Surprise Candidates Amidst Intense $500 Million Race

Published 11/16/2023, 2:32 PM EST

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Hardly any player in MLB history competes with Shohei Ohtani in the free agency hype. Scroll through any social handle and the Japanese superstar dominates headlines. While most major franchises are assumed to be in the run to land him, the Toronto Blue Jays have not been part of the mainstream discussion. But a recent report reveals that the Blue Birds are an underdog in the race. Recent reports consider them similar to “sleeper” agents in the Ohtani chase.

Predictably, the entire MLB fanbase is looking toward Shohei Ohtani’s free agency and the deal he will get. While the team he lands comes first, his signing amount is another part of the same story. When top clubs have been leaving others behind in the chase, the Blue Jays’ rise brings a fresh set of eyes to the sweepstakes.

Toronto Blue Jays Join the Shohei Ohtani Race

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The Toronto-based team’s 2023 MLB season was more impressive than most, even though their postseason dreams ended early. However, they did not seem to riding the Shohei Ohtani pursuit wave at first. At least not until ESPN’s Jeff Passan announced their intentions. Per him, a source of authentic news confirmed that the Jays “want to do something big.” While this can be anything, the source assured that it relates to the Ohtani free agency.

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Recently, another report from The Athletic reiterated the same point where Ken Rosenthal claims, “At least one rival executive views the Blue Jays as a sleeper for Shohei Ohtani.

The Blue Jays’ contract with George Springer will end in 2026 but the team is still looking for a talented left-handed player. “Any plans the Jays had to sign Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette to massive extensions might now be on hold,” Rosenthal reports.

However, the process won’t be easy. As Ohtani will apparently prefer winning over everything, the Blue Jays may lose the chance as Shotime will probably join a club outside the highly competitive AL East. The modern stadium features or suitable atmosphere may not work for him, and the same could go for geography.

However, the Blue Jays are reportedly chasing another renowned free agent this season.

Toronto Blue Jays Are Potent Suitors for Cody Bellinger

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This offseason’s free agency has multiple top players in the open market to choose from. While Japanese players are getting the most attention, Cody Bellinger can’t be ignored. Breaking the Chicago Cubs contract, the 28-year-old slugger has opted not to re-sign with the Chicago Cubs as of now.

Read More: As Shohei Ohtani Dominates 2023-24 Free Agency, Surprising Revelation Appears To Alter Two-way Phenom’s Offseason Predictions

While several potent contenders are already on the list to land Bellinger, the Blue Jays can be one of them. The team requires hitters to improve their lineup in 2024. Besides Shohei Ohtani, they probably want Bellinger to join their lineup and strengthen their offense.

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These are all assumptions, anyway. The team hasn’t taken any steps that confirm their intention toward these players.

Watch the Story: MLB Free Agent Frenzy: Ohtani, Martinez, And More To Watch In 2023-2024 Offseason

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Written by:

Antara Bhattacharyya

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One take at a time

Growing up in a family where sports was a topic of daily discussion, baseball drew my interest the most. I admired the post-retirement journey of Alex Rodriguez and the rise of Shohei Ohtani and Elly De La Cruz to stardom in the current baseball generation. Forever enamored by Bryce Harper and the way his career is progressing, I love covering most East Coast teams.
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Edited by:

Arunima Bhanot