Blue Jays: Shohei Otani offers interesting quote about future

TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 19: Starting pitcher Shohei Otani
TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 19: Starting pitcher Shohei Otani /

Shohei Otani will be one of the most sought-after talents this offseason as the 23-year old attempts to make the transition from the Pacific Rim to North America however after his quote yesterday at a media scrum, the Toronto Blue Jays may not be on the superstar’s radar.

The Nippon Ham Fighters confirmed on Friday that they would respect Shohei Otani‘s request and he will be posted to afford him the luxury of playing major league baseball. Otani met with the media to discuss his aspirations and provided a comment that he hopes to do his best in AMERICA.

"“The other day I met with team officials and stated my intentions, my request was met with warm words of support, so I hope to do my best in America from next year on. I am not a complete player yet, and I want to go to an environment where I can continue to get better.”"

Perhaps the native of Japan is not up to speed on North American geography or it was possibly lost in translation, however, does the “America” Freudian slip suggest or translate that the Toronto Blue Jays will not be in the running for Otani’s services?

The general consensus around the majors of late is that the Texas Rangers seem to be the odds-on favourite to land Otani due to their spending flexibility ($3.535 million). The New York Yankees (3.25 million) and Minnesota Twins (3.245 million) are not far from the Rangers in International funds available that they could throw at Otani.

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The Blue Jays have scouted Otani ad nauseam and it has been said that Jays scout Dan Evans has a very good relationship with Otani’s camp however even knowing that the Blue Jays have been considered a longshot to bring the Babe Ruth’esque player north of the border next season and beyond.

Last season Otani only made 5 starts due to injury gong 3-2 with a 3.20 earned run average while fanning 29 batters in 25.1 innings on the bump. Offensively Otani hit .332/.403/.540 with 8 home runs in 231 plate appearances. Otani just had surgery on his right ankle to rectify a lingering injury but is expected to be ready for the start of the 2018 campaign.

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Who knows where he will land but hopefully the Blue Jays are not out of the race before it even starts and the next time we are discussing Otani it is specifically referring to Toronto. The kid would be a game-changer and well worth the risk even though he falls under the International spending parameters because he is under 25.