So what do the Blue Jays do now? Where do they go from here? An offseason which has only really just got going, feels like it's already over, despite there still being more than three months until the 2024 regular season begins.
An offseason which promised so much, now must almost feel like a complete waste of time for Blue Jays fans. No matter what moves the team makes now, it won't fill the void which has been created by failing to land either Shohei Ohtani or Juan Soto.
As the saying goes, it's always better to try and fail, than never try at all. And while there's a lot of truth and wisdom in this, it doesn't really lessen the disappointment.
In some ways this is a surreal moment for Blue Jays fans, with a feeling of loss for something they never even had in the first place. Sports may well just be the toy department of human life, but it still means something to millions of people out there; it creates tremendous feelings of joy, anger, frustration and sadness, just like the rest of life.
A fan frenzy caused by sports media
Those same feelings were at an all-time high for a lot of Blue Jays fans these past few days, specifically on Friday. Jon Morosi's ill-fated tweet about Ohtani being en route to Toronto had people going thought the whole gamut of emotions.
It provided us with flashbacks to the Kawhi Leonard saga, when he was deciding where to sign after winning the NBA Championship. There were similarly posts on social media tracking flights to Toronto, which worked people up into a frenzy of believing he was going to sign a contract to remain with the Raptors.
In the end however, Leonard signed for the Los Angeles Clippers. And in a cruel twist of irony, Ohtani is also now going to Los Angeles, signing with the Dodgers after Blue Jays fans convinced themselves he was coming to Toronto.
Should the Jays have been more invested in Soto?
In hindsight, the Yankees were arguably the smartest team, turning to Soto while everyone else was focused on Ohtani. As a result, they were able to agree terms and trade for one hell of a consolation prize.
However, this is not to say Ross Atkins made the wrong play, because there's no denying what signing Ohtani would have meant for the Blue Jays, Toronto and even Canada as a whole. It would have been a game-changer of epic proportions and we say this with no sense of hyperbole.
As per Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, Rogers were all-in on Ohtani, with it planned to coincide with the end of their 12-year deal with the NHL. That would be the 12-year deal which cost $5.2B and has been haunting Rogers ever since.
By comparison, paying Ohtani what the Dodgers ended up getting him for, i.e. $700 million over 10 years, would have just been a drop in the bucket. However, it would have meant so much for the Blue Jays as a brand nationally, in North America, Japan and potentially globally.
The signing would have also done wonders for the reputation of Atkins, as well as Mark Shapiro. They would have gone from two of the most disliked people in Toronto sports, to two of the most beloved.
Instead, as with Blue Jays fans everywhere, they are left with shattered dreams, wondering about what could have been. Sports may just the toy department of human life, but it still bloody hurts at times.