There's few things worse for professional sports fans, than getting their hopes about something, only to be ultimately disappointed. Case in point being the Blue Jays getting knocked out of the playoffs by the Twins, in the latest example of shattered dreams courtesy of Canada's team.
It's inescapable that the Blue Jays underachieved in 2023, and fans everywhere will only just now be beginning to recover from the pain of the two-game sweep by the Twins. However, those same fans must be warned, as more potential pain is just around the corner.
There is no doubt that Shohei Ohtani is the top free agent option available this offseason, even allowing for his recent elbow surgery. And apparently ... apparently ... he's interested in the possibility of playing for the Blue Jays.
What's in a rumor?
At least this is the case, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. Davidi writes that industry chatter in recent weeks, has Ohtani becoming more open to a move to the East coast.
This is an extremely interesting development if true. The thinking all along has been that the 2021 AL MVP (and favorite to win it again this year), would prefer to stay on the West coast, with the Dodgers, Padres and Mariners been named as the best candidates.
However, if Ohtani is indeed now open to the East coast, this is a massive game-changer. Further, what will really grab the attention of Toronto sports fans, is what Davidi writes about the Blue Jays specifically.
The three-time All-Star is allegedly taken notice of the Blue Jays’ player-development resources. In addition, he is said to be intrigued by adding Canada as a third country to expand his passionate fanbase.
Obviously this is extremely enticing for Blue Jays fans to contemplate. What team and fanbase wouldn't want to add a player who led the Majors in slugging percentage and OPS, while also being one of the top pitchers in the game?
How genuine is it Ohtani ends up in Toronto?
However, what are the chances of the Blue Jays actually coming out on top? For a start, we know their front office will not make the biggest financial offer, especially now the list of potential candidates has apparently expanded significantly.
Really though, this is where you have to be somewhat weary about Ohtani now apparently being interested in playing on the East coast. Why the change of heart now, after the story being for months that he wants to remain on the West coast?
A suspicious mind might think the 29-year-old and his agent are concerned about how his recent injury impacts his value. Even though it was advised he didn't need Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery in the end, there are still concerns about his long-term future as a pitcher. (He won't be able to return to pitching duties until 2025 at the earliest regardless.)
Of course this doesn't mean teams suddenly won't want to sign Ohtani. Just that he might now not be able to command the type of contract previously being quoted. (Around 10 years and $500 million.)
So what better way to ramp up the length and financial compensation again, than suddenly getting more teams involved. And if the interest to play on the East coast is genuine, how are the Blue Jays going to compete with the lure and money of teams such as the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets and Phillies?
By all means Blue Jays fans, get your hopes up about the possibility of Ohtani wearing a Blue Jays uniform next season. However, as with this year's playoff debacle, prepare to once again be left frustrated and disappointed.