According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, we're barrelling towards the finishing line with the pursuit of Shohei Ohtani. And wouldn't you know it, the Blue Jays are apparently in with a genuine chance of landing him.
While it's tough to verify what's true, when you have some of the more well-connected members of the baseball media mentioning the Blue Jays, it has to mean something? The latest speculation is that they are among the final few teams left standing to acquire Ohtani, along with the Cubs, his former team the Angels and the Dodgers, who are still considered favourites.
There is no denying that if the Blue Jays did somehow land the two-time AL MVP, it would represent a seismic shift in the baseball world. To land arguably the biggest free agent in Major League history, would move them up a level from pretenders to genuine World Series contenders.
That the Blue Jays are even in with a chance at this stage of the proceedings, is amazing in it's own right. In fairness to the organization though, they are just making good on previous reports that they would make a strong push for Ohtani during the offseason.
The Blue Jays would do what?!?!
However, assuming the Blue Jays do end up signing the three-time All-Star, it apparently will come with a strange proviso. At least according to MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman.
Heyman claims rivals suspect landing Ohtani may result Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hitting the trade block. He made the comments in the Thursday edition of his regular New York Post column.
As much as Heyman does add that trades for either are not likely, even mentioning them being shopped around as a possibility makes no sense whatsoever. Especially when you consider one of Ohtani's criteria for deciding who he will sign with.
Contender not pretender
More specifically, that the two-time Silver Slugger wants to play with a contender. As such, no matter how good he is, surely getting rid of Bichette and/or Guerrero would weaken the Blue Jays' status in this respect?
We appreciate there has been talk recently, about the Blue Jays fielding calls for the All-Star duo. However, this is more about the organization performing its due diligence in taking calls, rather than actively looking to trade them. Every team should at least listen on all of their players, as you never really know when an offer you just can't turn down will come up.
In the interest of playing devil's advocate, you imagine the Blue Jays would be more likely to move Guerrero rather than Bichette. The former has yet to fulfil his potential, while the latter is firmly established as the best hitter in the lineup.
Ultimately though, it's ridiculous to think the Blue Jays would immediately look to weaken their team if and when they manage to sign Ohtani. Instead, the trio would combine to help make one of the most feared lineups in all of baseball.