Blue Jays need to do their due diligence on Shohei Otani

TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 12: Shohei Ohtani
TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 12: Shohei Ohtani /

The modern day Japanese Babe Ruth will take the mound for only the second time this season under the watchful eye of representatives from over 15 MLB teams as Shohei Otani takes the bump for his Nippon Ham Fighters on Thursday.

Shohei Otani is rumoured to be interested in joining a major league team as early as this offseason, however, the 23-year old is bound by international amateur spending limits which would dramatically decrease his payday. If Otani can wait two years until he is 25 the jump to North America would be much more lucrative as he would not be hindered by the spending limits.

Otani is currently earning $2.385 million this season with the Ham Fighters but has missed much of the season due to ankle and thigh injuries. In 44 games this season Otani is slashing .345/.409/.556 with 5 home runs.

Although the Toronto Blue Jays are not favoured to sign Otani the brain trust must do their due diligence on the two-way star and make every effort possible to sign the generational talent. The Blue Jays would realistically have to obtain additional International spending cap after dipping into their $4.75 million to sign pitcher Eric Pardinho among others earlier this summer.

I still recall social media taking on a life of its own until the wee hours of the morning when the Blue Jays were the supposed favourite to land Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish from the Ham Fighters in 2012. Many Jays fans went to bed unhappy that night as we all know how that one unfolded.

In 2016 Otani batted .322/.416/.588 with 22 home runs in 104 games while also going 10-4 with a 1.86 earned run average fanning 174 batters in 140 innings of work on the mound. I don’t care what league he plays in, these numbers and his versatility cannot be ignored.

In 5 seasons in the Japan Pacific League, Otani owns a career line of .285/.356/.501 with 45 home runs in 382 games on the offensive side. On the bump, the hurler is 39-14 with a 2.55 earned run average while striking out 597 in 519 innings for the Ham Fighters.

In 2014 as a 20-year old Otani fanned 7 as Japan battled a squad of MLB All-Stars who traveled to Japan during the offseason for some exhibition games. As you can see in the video, Otani has major league stuff capable of making quality pitches versus proved MLB talent.

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No word if the Blue Jays will be one of the 15 teams in attendance this week but they undoubtedly have had internal discussions about the outfielder/pitcher and what it would take the lure the native of Japan north of the border.

Hopefully, due diligence and some number crunching leads to a Blue Jays signing, Stay tuned.

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