There isn't any chance that Ross Atkins and the Toronto Blue Jays find a way to pull off the impossible and acquire Shohei Ohtani.
What was considered one of the most insane possibilities around just 24 hours ago is now all of a sudden taking the Toronto baseball world by storm. Per a report from Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Blue Jays are one of the more popular answers amongst executives around the game when asked who could ultimately swing a deal for Ohtani.
Here's the full quote from Passan on what he's hearing about the winner of the Ohtani sweepstakes:
"Despite currently holding the final wild-card spot, Toronto hasn’t done enough to convince ownership to open up the coffers, leaving the Blue Jays precisely where they’ve been all season: the muddled middle. That said, when asked where Ohtani could wind up if he’s moved, three of the most popular answers from executives are Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Toronto (the Blue Jays are a longer shot due to a thinner farm system)."
Oh boy, that is an extremely loaded quote. First off, it's rather surprising to hear that the on-field Blue Jays have not done enough to convince ownership to aggressively wheel and deal at the trade deadline. Sure, third place in the division is not exactly where the club should be, but perhaps they are one key acquisition away from catapulting up the standings? We all know that this club is packed with talent, which is what has made this season so frustrating for many. The talent is there, the follow-through is not.
Passan says that the Blue Jays swinging a trade for Ohtani is the longest shot between them, the Orioles and the Rays. This is much less of a surprise, because both of the other AL East clubs are filled to the brim with prospect talent and could very easily package a bunch of prospects together and at least get the attention of the Angels in trade talks. That's not to say that the Blue Jays don't have attractive trade chips, because they do, but any Ohtani trade would wipe out a farm system that's already pretty weak.
Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith provided his two cents in a pair of tweets as well, doing his part to quiet down the rumors before they get out of hand. He seems to have the right idea, as such a move could be crippling the Blue Jays' future, especially if they are unable to re-sign Ohtani before he hits free agency at the end of the season. That's what's most important to remember here, is that the Jays would be destroying the farm system for a few months of the two-way superstar.
One would have to think that any deal would start with the inclusion of uber-prospect Ricky Tiedemann. Could the handful of injuries he's dealt with this year be enough for the Blue Jays to comfortably move on from him? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Trading away such a young talent is always risky for both parties, but it's also worth noting that Tiedemann would be just one of the pieces going from Toronto to Los Angeles. Just remember, it all starts with Ricky. So if you really want the Jays to do this thing, are you okay with one of the best pitching prospects in baseball being the starting point?