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Did The Blue Jays Ever Have A Chance at Shohei Ohtani?

Shohei Ohtani

(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

Shohei Ohtani
(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

Did The Blue Jays Ever Have A Chance at Shohei Ohtani?

Now that the Shohei Ohtani saga is over and he’s a Dodger, what happened to the Toronto Blue Jays? Not even 24 hours ago it seemed like Ohtani was on his way to Toronto.

But did the Blue Jays even have a shot? The Dodgers just gave the two-way player $700 million over 10 years. Teams such as the Dodgers, Yankees, Mets and maybe Red Sox make those caliber of deals.

If you look at the payroll, the Blue Jays could’ve had a shot. Their 2023 payroll was around $218 million, according to Spotrac. For perspective, the Dodgers’ payroll was around $241 million, and both teams had an idea of going after Ohtani this offseason.

Both teams’ projected 2024 payroll took a dip (Dodgers’ projected amount currently doesn’t factor in Ohtani’s contract.) The Blue Jays dropped to a projected $190 million, while the Dodgers sat at $158 million before the Ohtani signing.

The Dodgers possess something that the Blue Jays didn’t, which is experience in handing out big contracts. They gave Mookie Betts big money after he was traded to L.A. in 2020. Just last year, Freddie Freeman joined the Dodgers for a hefty contract.

Want to know what the biggest contract the Blue Jays have ever given out? George Springer in 2021, when they gave him $150 million for six years. Before that? It was Vernon Wells in 2007, when the Jays extended him seven years for $126 million.

Maybe the Blue Jays didn’t think they would be able to keep other talent. But part of Ohtani’s contract with the Dodgers is having deferrals for a majority of it so the Dodgers have the flexibility to move cash around to still build a team over just paying Ohtani.

Players such as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette are due for contracts soon. Even though players like Vladdy have said they’re a Jay for life, it might not happen that way.

Now that they missed out on Ohtani, it might be more likely the Blue Jays give up and start a rebuilding process. They haven’t gotten close to a championship in a while, and this would’ve be their best chance to do it.

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