Blue Jays: Shohei Otani won’t be coming to Toronto

TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 12: Shohei Ohtani
TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 12: Shohei Ohtani /

The Blue Jays are among a number of MLB team scouting Shohei Otani, but the dual threat is extremely unlikely to end up in Southern Ontario.

As per a report from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Blue Jays are one of a number of MLB teams in Japan, to scout Shohei Otani. In total, 15 teams were in attendance on Thursday, to watch the dual threat pitch for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.

When you consider half of the MLB decided to turn up to watch Otani, it gives you some idea of the hype surrounding the youngster. However, he didn’t quite live up to his reputation, lasting just 3.1 innings and allowing four runs, including a three-run homer on his last pitch.

In fairness to the 23-year-old, he was making just his second pitching appearance of the 2017 NPB season, as a result of dealing with thigh and ankle issues. On the positive side, as noted by Rosenthal, he managed to reach 100 MPH on his fastball.

Regardless of the pros and cons of Otani’s performance on Thursday, he is in huge demand and it is only a matter of time before he makes the move to the Majors. The question is, how likely is it for him to end up in Toronto?

The reality is, it’s extremely unlikely the Japanese sensation will come to Southern Ontario, for a number of reasons. The first comes down to the pure statistical odds, with at least 14 (as far as we know) other MLB teams wanting to sign him.

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The second factor centres around the Blue Jays playing in the AL. With Otani beginning described as the Japanese Babe Ruth, the likelihood is he would prefer to go to the NL, where he could also hit on a regular basis.

The final reason relates to the Blue Jays being based in Canada. Whether Blue Jays’ fans damit it or not, this will play a part in Otani’s decision, when he eventually comes to North America.

Talking of which, when is the three-time NPB All-Star likely to make his move to the Majors? Depending on how important money is to him, we may have to wait a while longer yet.

As reported by Sportsnet, if Otani comes to North America this offseason, he’ll only be eligible for a signing bonus the size of his chosen team’s international pool allotment. (As per the MLB CBA.) However, if he waits until he’s 25, he will be considered a regular free agent and able to sign for any amount.

As such, there is a very strong chance we will be waiting until 2020, before seeing Otani play regularly in North America. Regardless, this scenario is unlikely to take place in Toronto. (Not that we would have a problem with being proven wrong.)

Next: Will Bo Bichette be ready for the 2018 season?

What’s your take on Otani? How likely is he to end up on Toronto? Further, how much would you be prepared to pay, in order to secure his services? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.