OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 02: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels looks on during the game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum on Saturday, September 2, 2023 in Oakland, California.
Photo by Loren Elliott/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Shohei Ohtani Sweepstakes Adds Sleeper Team

It hasn't taken long for two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani to put himself in a league of his own. On Thursday, he officially became the first player in MLB history to win an MVP Award unanimously on two different occasions. Now that this announcement is in the rearview mirror, the focus turns to where the current free agent will sign this winter.

Ohtani's market has already begun to take shape, and it sounds like the sweepstakes for his services won't last long. There's an expectation the two-time MVP will make his decision by the Winter Meetings, which kick off on December 3rd in Nashville.

Earlier this week, a report from ESPN's Jeff Passan revealed Ohtani has "expressed an affinity for" three teams: the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Texas Rangers, and the Boston Red Sox. So, one can imagine those clubs are the current frontrunners for Ohtani's services. But that doesn't mean other teams aren't in the mix. Who could be viewed as a sleeper now that the Hot Stove is starting to sincerely heat up?

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, that'd be the Toronto Blue Jays. This isn't the only major free-agent hitter the Jays have been connected to this week, either. USA Today's Bob Nightengale also linked Toronto to Cody Bellinger. The Blue Jays are in need of some more thump from the left side of the plate. Shohei Ohtani would certainly help solve that problem while also potentially aiding in getting the club over the hump they're currently stuck on.

The Jays have been to the playoffs in three of the last four seasons. They've also produced a winning record four years in a row. However, Toronto hasn't won a single postseason game during this span and they've been swept out of the Wild Card Round on each occasion. Things won't be getting any easier in a super-competitive American League East, so making a push for Ohtani and other top free agents makes a lot of sense.

We'll find out soon enough how legitimate of a sleeper team the Blue Jays could be for Ohtani's services.

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