Blue Jays’ Atkins- “A Two-way player could work”

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 24: Brett Gardner
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 24: Brett Gardner /

With Shohei Otani set to be posted to play in the MLB, the Blue Jays are among the many interested teams who believe in his two-way talent.

As Blue Jays’ GM Ross Atkins stepped out to answer questions, I’m sure it came as no surprise to be asked about Shohei Otani, the most talked about baseball player who has never played an inning in the MLB.

It makes sense that reporters and fans are curious as well, as Otani has the potential to do things in the big leagues the likes we haven’t seen since Babe Ruth. The Japanese sensation can light up the radar gun at 100 MPH, and serve as a dynamic offensive threat at the same time. He’s the type of talent that can help shift a franchise, and all 30 teams will have some level of interest this winter.

When asked about Otani, Atkins made no bones about expressing his interest, and even mentioned that the club would have a strong pitch ready, if the opportunity presents itself. He mentioned that the club would be extremely prepared, and perhaps most importantly, that he thinks a two-way player could work in today’s game, perhaps especially in the American League.

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The knee-jerk thought when it comes to Otani is that he’ll want to play for a National League team so that he can bat on the days he’s pitching. What if, though, that an American League team was willing to use him at the DH on his days off from pitching? Strength and conditioning coaches could be screaming right now, but this is the type of thought that could make the difference between being a contender for Otani, and being left in the dark.

Of course, the Blue Jays’ front office will have plenty of company when it comes to interest in Otani, and will have an uphill climb when it comes to bonus money they can offer, with just $50,000 remaining available at the moment.

However, as Atkins put it, Otani would be a “perfect fit” for Toronto, and they feel they would be a great fit for him as well. It’s a well-cultured city, a massive fan base, and a tremendous marketing opportunity throughout the country of Canada. Some players might be quick to dismiss Canada’s only professional as a realistic option, but that reputation seems to  be fading more and more all the time.

For now the Blue Jays are left pursuing their other offseason goals for the time being, and likely won’t wait around for an Otani conclusion before making their big moves. They certainly didn’t waste any time last year, having already signed Kendrys Morales by now, so it’ll be interesting to see how serious the Blue Jays are about getting into the sweepstakes.

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It costs nothing to throw your hat into the ring, and it sounds like the Blue Jays are prepared to at least that, with a pretty solid pitch plan in place as well.