Over the past couple weeks the Toronto Blue Jays emerged as a serious contender to sign Shohei Ohtani, who is believed to still be considering the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels as well.
The Chicago Cubs were also reported to be among the group of finalists for Ohtani, but the general sense is they’ve fallen behind in the sweepstakes after being a popular dark-horse pick.
In the days leading up to the start of the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Ohtani reportedly visited Dodger Stadium, Oracle Park and the Blue Jays’ Spring Training facility in Dunedin, Florida.
Amid a continued belief the two-way star is nearing his free agency decision, the Blue Jays are thought to be making progress toward signing Ohtani, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network:
“What I can say for certain is that the decision is imminent. As I reported this morning, it could happen as early as today. Now, we still do not know where. That part is still unconfirmed. As of the middle of this week, there were still five teams involved, we believed. I do know this, that in the last week since his visit to Dunedin, Florida, on Monday, momentum has built for the Blue Jays. I will stress and say we don’t have this confirmed as where he’s going to go. Just that in the last several days, the Jays have certainly improved their standing.
“For a long time the Dodgers have been regarded as the favorites, and that was still the case as of the middle of this week. But again, this is now happening in real time today. I do believe the final group of teams does involve the Blue Jays and the Dodgers. I’m not sure how many other teams are in that final group. We should be hearing (an Ohtani decision), we believe, sometime in the next 24 hours.”
Much of Ohtani’s free agency process has been shrouded in secrecy at the request of his representatives.
As speculation ran rampant that Ohtani visited with the Blue Jays for an in-person meeting, general manager Ross Atkins and manager John Schneider both remained mum on the topic.
That was in contrast to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who revealed his team’s meeting with Ohtani when asked about the 29-year-old.
Shohei Ohtani decision date
Friday, December 8, is 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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