The sweepstakes for Shohei Ohtani appear to be coming to a close with his decision expected to come by the end of the weekend.
Among the reported clubs still involved in the bidding, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays are seen as the two front-runners, while the Los Angeles Angels and San Francisco Giants have yet to be ruled out.
The Dodgers have been seen as the universal favorite throughout the process. However, over the past few days, momentum has built for the Blue Jays as they may be on the verge of signing him.
Now, that may be even closer as Ohtani was said to be traveling to Toronto on Friday, according to J.P. Morosi of MLB Network:
Sources: Shohei Ohtani is en route to Toronto today.
A representative of his agency, CAA, would not comment when asked about Ohtani’s travel plans.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 8, 2023
However, that was then refuted and Ohtani was said to still be in Southern California, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today:
Shohei Ohtani is NOT in Toronto.
Ohtani is NOT on a flight to Toronto.
Ohtani is at home in Southern California.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 8, 2023
Although it seemed to be the most likely scenario that Ohtani was traveling to finalize a contract based on recent reports regarding his timeline for signing and the Blue Jays making a strong push, there are other plausible scenarios as well.
While the Blue Jays met with Ohtani at their Spring Training complex in Florida, it’s unknown if Ohtani has been on a visit to their stadium for a tour throughout this process. He has already visited Dodger Stadium for a tour, which was confirmed by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, and it’s believed he went to Oracle Park in San Francisco.
A perhaps more unlikely scenario is Ohtani wishes to tell the Blue Jays of his decision to join the Dodgers in person, which may be far-fetched, but has been done by athletes previously.
Still, both scenarios seen more unlikely than going to finalize a deal, and the Blue Jays should be considered the favorites at this moment. Despite that, multiple reporters, including Alden González of ESPN, Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Robert Murray of Fansided and Jim Bowden of The Athletic, have reported Ohtani has yet to make his decision.
Shohei Ohtani signing anniversary
Friday, December 8, marks the six-year anniversary of Ohtani announcing his decision to sign with the Angels after being posted by Nippon Professional Baseball’s Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.
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