DAN CEARNS The Standard It’s not often baseball rumours distract and even excite me. But this past week and weekend, I’ve been heavily refreshing sports news sites and X, formerly known as Twitter, for any information on the Toronto Blue Jays’ chase of free agent Shohei Ohtani.
While in the recent past, the Jays have been successful at bringing free agents such as George Springer and Hyun-Jin Ryu, I can’t remember the last time the Jays were linked to a superstar like Ohtani. While, of course, a superstar of his calibre will have other potential suitors, like the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs, the fact the Jays have made it to within the final few teams, according to reports, is a fascinating development.
For those who don’t know, Ohtani, who played last season for the Los Angeles Angels, is a two-way player. This means he can play as both a designated hitter and a pitcher. He was recently named the American League’s MVP this past season and hit 44 home runs as well as 95 runs batted in (RBI). He also had a pitching record of 10 wins and five losses, with an Earned Run Average (ERA) of 3.14.
If the Jays are able to successfully woo him to sign with the franchise, it will have massive positive effects on the franchise. While baseball is not the primary sport in this country, imagine the number of spectators the team could get for every game because they want to see this generational player in person. Not to mention, the potential for merchandise sales will be massive as well.
The Japanese star would also help give the Jays a much better chance to have playoff success. Adding Ohtani to a roster with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette would be game-changing for the team. Especially given how tight their division always seems to be. After being swept in the Wildcard series this past season against the Minnesota Twins and having been swept in three straight playoff series, this team could use the help of another star.
After not making a splash at the trade deadline this past season, it sounds like Jays management has heard it loud and clear that fans expect big things for this team. And I personally have not been this excited about a potential free agent signing since the Toronto Maple Leafs were reported to be interested in, and then later signed John Tavares. It’s exciting times, and I hope the Jays are able to bring another star to the Toronto sports scene.