Shohei Ohtani smiles from the dugout.
Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

AL Team Emerges as Sleeper to Sign Shohei Ohtani

The Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes is the biggest topic in MLB's offseason, and one surprise American League team could be in on him.

Just when we thought we knew all of the major players involved in the ongoing Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes, one MLB team has appeared out of nowhere to assert itself as a serious suitor for the Japanese superstar.

On Thursday morning, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported that the Toronto Blue Jays have surfaced as a "sleeper" to sign Ohtani. Rosenthal gleaned this from an unnamed MLB front office executive who told Rosenthal that "any plans the Jays had to sign Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette to massive extensions might now be on hold. George Springer's six-year, $150 million contract expires after 2026. The team remains in need of left-handed power." 

There's no better left-handed bat to sign than Shohei Ohtani.

Shohei Ohtani signs autographs before the All-Star workout in Seattle.

Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

This isn't the only recent news we've heard about Toronto's interest in Ohtani. On Tuesday, ESPN's Jeff Passan released an MLB offseason preview and noted that a source with knowledge of Toronto's plans claimed, "The Toronto Blue Jays want to do something big this winter. Ohtani fits, especially with Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. due to hit free agency after the 2025 season."

So while the Blue Jays are now confirmed to be seeking Ohtani's services this offseason, that puts them in league with just about every other team in the MLB. However, if Ohtani is intent on joining a young, talented team that looks destined to be a World Series contender in the coming years (especially if it adds, say, perhaps the greatest talent in baseball history), the Toronto Blue Jays would make a lot of sense. 

Yet, the Blue Jays' blueprint for success seemingly hinges on them re-signing both Bichette and Guerrero, who have become the two faces of their franchise. Would they be willing to let one — or both — or those two young superstars leave in order to sign Ohtani? Perhaps.

However, the Blue Jays brass would surely want to have both players on their roster in order to appeal to Ohtani, if only because he wants to join a winner — and Bichette and Guerrero will continue to help the Blue Jays win. 

Regardless of what the Blue Jays want, Ohtani's eventual landing spot will only depend on one person: Ohtani. While it's certainly fun to speculate, it remains a guessing game as to which jersey we'll see him wearing come 2024. 

In other words, it's Shohei Ohtani's world. We're just lucky to be living in it. 

MORE: This MLB Team's Is 'Obsessed' With Trying to Sign Shohei Ohtani