While the Toronto Blue Jays actually landing Japanese superstar, Shohei Otani seems unlikely, we’ve been given a reason to think it isn’t
The Toronto Blue Jays would shock the world if they were able to somehow come through on signing Japanese superstar Shohei Otani once he’s posted. For the longest time, we’ve been hearing about this 23 year old who can not only hit, but pitch as well. He is someone that could help Toronto on both sides of the ball and would fit so well with what they need this offseason. They’ve spent a great deal of time and effort scouting him recently, which would indicate real interest.
And, why not? Check this stuff out:
If the remote possibility doesn’t get you excited, you will be interested in seeing the following from those covering the Blue Jays as they prepare for this year’s GM Meetings:
GM Ross Atkins says #BlueJays are “extremely prepared” when it comes to Shohei Ohtani and he believes a two-way player could work, especially in the American League.
— Scott Mitchell (@ScottyMitchTSN) November 13, 2017
I know, that’s not exactly something to get excited about. They are extremely prepared for just about everything you can imagine, and some you can’t. So, hearing that they are prepared for Otani isn’t that much of a surprise. But, it gets better:
#BlueJays GM Ross Atkins said his team is certainly in the mix in going after Japanese baseball sensation Shohei Otani. Doing everything they can to make it happen, though still a long shot
— steve buffery (@Beezersun) November 13, 2017
"He fits about as well as anybody could fit for our team right now and he’s an incredible talent.” #BlueJays GM Atkins on Otani
— steve buffery (@Beezersun) November 13, 2017
There are a few take aways from this. Firstly, the fact that the Blue Jays are open to considering using a player on both sides of the ball is interesting. Yes, that is a great big part of the draw of Otani, but the fact that Atkins actually seems to want to follow through on that possibility is a tad surprising. One might think that using him in one way or the other would be the inevitable path.
As well, saying that he fits so well is rather interesting. Usually, a team doesn’t get that specific about one individual player. We’ve seen many an offseason come and go with the Blue Jays being linked this way and that and we had nothing but rumours and guesswork to show for it. Very rarely does a GM come out and say that Player X is perfect for us and that they’re going to ‘do everything they can to make it happen’. That kind of talk is so rare it makes the old ears perk up.
Now, the cynics out there would quickly squash this as nothing to get excited about. “I’ll believe it when I see it” is the familiar refrain from those who have had their hearts broken too many times. There are details like international bonus pool money to be worked out that would put the Blue Jays at a disadvantage, to be sure. As well, the draw to play in a place like New York or Los Angeles or Chicago might be too great for the Japanese star, even though Toronto offers a cosmopolitan environment in which to play. Depending upon how much spotlight Otani and his people want, they might
wrongly think that Toronto can’t provide that.
It is definitely a long shot for the Blue Jays to land such an intriguing impact player like Otani. There are many hoops left to jump through. As much work as this front office has done to prepare to offer Otani the chance to play in Toronto, it still might not be enough. The odds of it happening the way they (and we) would like remain very small. That didn’t stop Ross Atkins from planting the seed of hope. Again, cynics would say that this is all the GM’s way of blowing smoke in case of eventual disappointment. “Sorry folks, we did the best we could, it just didn’t work out”. That may be the eventual line, but the path to get there can be exciting, if you let it.
*Featured Image Credit: Arturo Pardavila III Under CC BY-SA 2.0
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.