4 moves the Blue Jays should make with Shohei Ohtani’s money

The Toronto Blue Jays failed to land Shohei Ohtani at his eventual $700 million price point. Let's allocate that money elsewhere.

Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs
Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs / David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
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1. Blue Jays can sure up rotation with $300 million Yoshinobu Yamamoto contract

And that's $700 million.

The Blue Jays whiffed on the biggest international free agent of all time, but Yoshinobu Yamamoto is trending toward a historic contract both in terms of dollar amount and length for a pitcher. The 25-year-old, who tied Ichiro's record with three straight MVP awards in Japan's NPB, could command a contract in excess of $300 million — not to mention the posting fee owed to his NPB team, the Orix Buffaloes.

Toronto should jump right to the front of the line in terms of bidding now that Ohtani is off the table. The Blue Jays are the only non-American team, which serves as a rather unique selling point for a star courting a global fanbase. Yamamoto would join a rotation that already includes two-time All-Star Kevin Guasman, who finished third in AL Cy Young voting last season (his third straight top-10 finish).

The Blue Jays won 89 games in 2023 and, with the aforementioned additions, would be well-positioned for another leap forward in 2024. Yamamoto has several eager suitors, many of whom can claim more star power and marketing oomph than Toronto. But, the Blue Jays were clearly able to break through to Ohtani — at least a little bit — on the strength of their organizational culture and their commitment to winning. If Toronto competes financially, there's reason to hold out hope on the Yamamoto front.

Yamamoto is the best pitching prospect to enter the MLB in a while. He finished last season with a 1.21 ERA and 0.884 WHIP for the Buffaloes, posting 169 strikeouts in 164.0 innings pitched. With heat in the mid-to-high 90s and a vaunted collection of off-speed pitches, Yamamoto should carve out a long, successful career in the States — or just north of the border.

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