The Toronto Blue Jays have the second-shortest odds at +160 to sign free agent two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani.
Ohtani won the American League MVP Award despite suffering a torn UCL that required Tommy John surgery and prevented him from pitching for the final month of the season.
Below, we will break down what one of the best players in MLB would bring to the Toronto Blue Jays.
|TOR Blue Jays
Shohei Ohtani is one of the best players to ever play in MLB as his two MVP Awards, three All-Star appearances, and Rookie of the Year Award - all earned in his first six seasons - show.
He led the AL in home runs with 44 and on-base percentage at .412, and he led all MLB players in slugging percentage (.654) and on-base plus slugging percentage (1.066). He also batted .304, striking out 143 times while walking 91 times.
On the mound, Ohtani started all of his 23 appearances and posted a 10-5 record. He pitched 132.0 innings, the second-best tally of his career despite the injury, with 1.061 walks and hits allowed per inning pitched, 167 strikeouts, 55 walks, 18 home runs allowed, and one complete game shutout with a 3.14 ERA.
Ohtani also led the Majors in what might be the all-important stat that calculates a player's on-field production into a single metric, wins above replacement, with a 10.0 rating.
Even if he cannot pitch in 2024 and never again reaches the heights he did on the mound in 2022 when he finished second in AL Cy Young Award voting, the Blue Jays would still be signing arguably the best hitter in baseball.
Ohtani, now 29, is the type of generational talent who sees teams built around him, not vice versa. The Blue Jays have a young roster with only seven players beyond their entry-level or post-arbitration contracts, so the team could handle Ohtani's sky-high salary.
A designated hitter on the days he does not pitch, Ohtani would jump into the DH spot vacated by current free agent Brandon Belt. Ohtani likely will not pitch until 2025 so he would be the near-everyday DH in Toronto in 2024 if he stays healthy.
Ohtani usually batted second or third for the Los Angeles Angels in 2023, which is where Belt usually batted for Toronto this past season. All of this indicates that Ohtani would be a like-for-like replacement for Belt lineup-wise, but a giant upgrade in quality.
The addition of Ohtani would add a much-needed lefty bat to the top of Toronto's lineup. That's another similarity Ohtani and Belt share: they both bat lefty. Looking at the stats is where the similarities end.
Ohtani hit 44 homers with 95 RBI, a .304 batting average, and a .412 on-base percentage with a 143-91 strikeout-walk ratio in 135 games. Belt hit 19 homers with 44 RBI, a .254 batting average, a .369 on-base percentage, and a 141-64 strikeout-walk ratio in 103 games.
All of those numbers are distilled by their offensive wins above replacement values: Belt's was 2.2 in 2023, and Ohtani's was 6.0.
Ohtani has never played in the postseason. The Blue Jays made it in three of the past four years and reached two consecutive ALCS less than a decade ago.
This could be a perfect match between team and player if Ohtani likes the offer and the location.
Odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.
Returns exclude Bet Credits wager. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply