At long last, the Shohei Ohtani free agent saga has officially come to a close. The two-way superstar is one of the best players of all-time and is certainly the most prolific to ever hit the free agent market. For around 10 minutes on Friday, Blue Jays fans were under the impression that their team had come away with Ohtani. One fake rumor that gains enough steam will do that to you.
While many clubs were in the running to acquire the otherworldly talent - including the Blue Jays - it is the Los Angeles Dodgers that have landed Ohtani, according to the player himself on Instagram.
ESPN's Jeff Passan immediately followed the announcement with the financial terms. The Dodgers are going to pay Ohtani $700M over a gigantic 10-year contract.
For the Blue Jays, this is the ultimate heartbreak. Up until the very end, it was rumored to be down to the Jays and Dodgers to acquire his services. This comes just a few days after the Jays also lost out on Juan Soto, who was instead acquired by the division rival Yankees. Now, Toronto has been left empty-handed in a tough turn of events.
Focusing again on the Blue Jays, the club's attention now needs to be turned to some of the remaining best-available sluggers on the market. The trade market is dried up after Soto's deal, so now it's time for the likes of Cody Bellinger, Jung Hoo Lee, Matt Chapman, Jorge Soler, J.D. Martinez or Mitch Garver.
Ross Atkins, Mark Shapiro and the rest of the top dogs in Blue Jays ownership have long promised that this offseason would be one consisting of change for the better. Once fans got wind of the fact that Soto, Ohtani and other top-shelf players like Aaron Nola and Yoshinobu Yamamoto were on the club's radar, it started to feel more and more real by the day.
Now that the Soto and Ohtani sagas have both come to a close and neither are the newest member of the Blue Jays, it suddenly feels like regardless of what moves are made from here on out, this offseason is a major letdown - or even a failure.
In 2023, the offense failed to come up when it mattered most. In clutch at-bats with runners on base, even players like Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. were largely unable to come through, and that's what led to the Blue Jays' ultimate downfall. The opportunity was right there to address these shortcomings in the best way possible, but instead there's just disappointment left behind.
Now, Ohtani will join a Dodgers lineup that already features multiple future Hall of Famers in Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts. The NL West juggernauts have gotten even better, and all the Blue Jays are left with are thoughts of what could have been.