Sources say Shohei Ohtani will sign in the Toronto Blue Jays instead of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Sources say Shohei Ohtani will sign in the Toronto Blue Jays instead of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Several people who spoke alongside Dodgers Nation on Friday said that the two-way superstar ended the wait for the most lucrative free agent in baseball history. Sources say that an official statement will be made tonight.

While no one knows for sure, Ohtani’s deal is likely to be worth a lot more than Mike Trout’s record-setting 12-year, $426.5 million deal with the Angels.

During the negotiations with the two-way superstar, Blue Jays executives were upbeat and secretly thought their chances were as good as any team’s until there were only three teams left: the Blue Jays, the Dodgers, and the Angels.

The Dodgers were very upset by the news because Ohtani was big part of their plans for the off-season. Last Friday, in Los Angeles, they met with Ohtani in person, before Ohtani had his last meeting with the Blue Jays.

This is not thought to have had anything to do with Ohtani choosing Toronto, even though manager Dave Roberts confirmed the meeting in public. The Jays are owned by Rogers Communications, a $24 billion entertainment company.

They own radio and television stations across the nation, as well as the Toronto Blue Jays and the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. They are one of the biggest providers of cable and internet services north of the border.

A source says that a $500 million (or more) investment in the best players in the game is pretty small for Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri, and she has been very involved in the process.

Team leaders Mark Shapiro as well as Ross Atkins led Toronto’s pitch to Ohtani in 2017. Ohtani signed with the Angels in the end.

It is said that the Dodgers have also been talking about trading for starting pitchers, such as Dylan Cease.

Rogers’ main selling point was that his team had something that no other team did: the power to get the attention of the whole country. Ever since the Montreal Expos moved to Washington, D.C., prior to the 2005 season, the Blue Jays have been Canada’s only big league team.

Still, most people in the baseball business thought the Dodgers would be the best team to sign Ohtani. He played his first six seasons with the Angels and thought about signing with them again.

The Dodgers as well as Angels have in the past given big deals to players who weren’t stars. The last big deal the Blue Jays made was via outfielder George Springer in 2021 for six years and $150 million.

One source says that Rogers sees Ohtani’s signing as an investment in the company that goes beyond his performance on the field. Staffieri is happy to pay for the extra international exposure Ohtani gives his assets.

Forbes says that from 2021 to 2022, Ohtani’s off-field marketing deals tripled in value. This made him baseball’s most marketable player. Even though they were pushed back, news could have gotten out in Los Angeles.

The Dodgers will have to switch to Plan B because of Ohtani’s choice. The Dodgers were already thought to be interested in starting pitchers, and Japanese star Yoshinobu Yamamoto was one of their top free agent targets.

Let’s say Ohtani wants to sign for the Blue Jays. Then the Dodgers wouldn’t have to listen to Ohtani’s team when they ask for privacy about possible news leaks.

They had nothing to lose by telling everyone about the superstar’s plan to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Hoornstra wrote in his report that the Blue Jays’ pitch depended on the fact that the squad and Ohtani were able to attract the attention of everyone in the country.

He also said, citing a source, which Rogers sees Ohtani as an investment for the company “whose value goes beyond his impact on the field.”

Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun said Thursday that Rogers’ “wildly expensive pursuit of Shohei Ohtani was corporately planned by Rogers to coincide in the end of its 12-year, money-losing deal with the National Hockey League.”