Could a devious third-party team have leaked Shohei Ohtani's Blue Jays meeting?

Shohei Ohtani's unique personality makes his free agency one of the most curious to assess until ink is on paper.

Sep 16, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA;  Los Angeles Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani (17) in the
Sep 16, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani (17) in the / Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
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Shohei Ohtani is soon going to sign an MLB contract that in all likelihood will come in around or above $500 million. And whatever team signs him will be confident that his record-setting contract will be worth every penny. Yet, for an uber-rich and uber-talented athlete, he does not have the uber personality or ego one might expect.

That personality and uniqueness has everyone walking on eggshells as they try to court him. It's been reported by Jeff Passan and others that Ohtani's agent has given veiled threats to teams that if information leaks about his wishes, it may be taken into consideration (subscription required) in Ohtani's decision. The desire is for the negotiations to be as private as possible. Given his pursuit for privacy, he does not want his free agency to be a public display with leaks abound.

Yet, crucial information came out very early Tuesday, with Ken Rosenthal reporting that Ohtani traveled to Florida to meet with the Blue Jays. Considering previously it was believed all teams were traveling to California to meet Ohtani, this was big news, and the existence of the report drastically changes the landscape in one way or another, though it's hard to gauge exactly in what way.

Is it possible another team is leaking information to try to hurt Blue Jays chances?

One would assume that the information Rosenthal reported came from Ohtani's camp or the Blue Jays' camp. It's hard to believe it would come from Ohtani's side. So that leaves the Blue Jays as the originator of the information, right?

But even that is hard to see. The Jays want to sign Ohtani, and they know that any leaks could sour him on coming to Toronto. Why would they leak that information and jeopardize their chances of landing him?

A third possibility that I'm tossing out entirely speculatively: Another team leaked the info, knowing it might hurt Toronto's chances of getting a deal done.

If you're another team that was hoping to sign Ohtani, what better way to sour him as things are getting serious with another team than to leak some info about his trip to Florida, hopeful it will be interpreted as being leaked by the Jays?

If this were the case, such a devious move would come with tremendous risk. If Ohtani's camp found out a third party leaked info about the trip, it would probably sour him even more on that team, and completely pull them out of the running.

It's not hard to see how a false flag situation could happen, though, given the unique circumstances around Ohtani's free agency. The playing field has been shifted with the leak, but in what way remains to be seen.

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