Blue Jays: Please don’t make a trade for Shohei Ohtani
The Toronto Blue Jays have been named numerous times recently in rumours surrounding Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani.
While these reports must be exciting for Jays fans, it’s also fair to wonder if that’s really the move this team needs to make in order to fulfill its potential.
Of course, Ohtani is, perhaps, the most intriguing player in the sport, a dominating right-handed power pitcher, and a slugging left-handed powerhouse at the plate. However, the price to obtain him, not to mention his lack of team success so far in his big-league career should steer Ross Atkins and company in another direction in their efforts to improve the team.
Blue Jays: Say no to Sho
On the surface, a trade for Shohei Ohtani would be a great idea. As mentioned, he’s a two-way star, who would give Toronto the much-needed lefty power bat they’ve coveted for years and would combine with Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman to form the best pitching trio in baseball.
However, throughout his MLB career, Ohtani has yet to affect winning, at least enough to help carry the Angels anywhere near the playoffs. There’s also his recent comments about his team, conveniently made after the season had ended and while he was in Japan, that suggest that he doesn’t think he’s part of the problem.
Ohtani’s “negative impression” of the season seemed to absolve him from the team’s failures. While it’s hard to imagine him doing much more on the field, his words showed that he has a ways to go as far as being a good teammate is concerned.
That’s why trading a huge package that would likely include at least two key roster players plus a couple of top prospects is so risky. He has a track record of blaming his teammates and pointing fingers when things go wrong. That’s not the type of attitude that will endear him to the city or his team.
Blue Jays: It’s not Sho-Time
Enticing the Angels to move Ohtani would require an offer that would have to knock their socks off. That would mean the Jays would be getting rid of members of the team that has become part of their core. It’s a core that has fallen short of expectations, sure, but it’s a face that requires some botox, not major reconstructive surgery.
The other thing that complicates any trade for Ohtani is the fact that he’s only under contract for next season. Trading for him would almost necessitate having an agreement in place for some sort of extension given the massive price tag. If you’re Ohtani, there’s no reason to do that. He’s set to hit the open market in 2024 and will command the largest contract in the sport’s history. It’s hard to see him passing on that opportunity,
Shohei’s supporters will always remove him from the Angels’ miserable record but it’s not like he hasn’t also contributed to it. He hit .229 post-All-Star break in 2021 and just .192 during the team’s 14-game losing streak that virtually sank their season last year.
There’s considerable pressure on the Blue Jays and their current regime to make a big splash this winter. It’s pretty clear some kind of big move is in the pipeline, I’m just not convinced trading for Shohei Ohtani is the right move right now.