Free agent Shohei Ohtani has not made a decision on his next club, per reports from Ben Nicholson-Smith and Shi Davidi of Sportsnet and Alden Gonzalez of ESPN and others. Earlier today, a report from J.P. Hoornstra of Dodgers Nation relayed that the two-way superstar would be signing with the Blue Jays, though nothing has been made official as of yet. Ohtani was reported to be en route to Toronto by Jon Morosi of MLB.com, though Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that Ohtani is at home in Southern California.
Ohtani’s free agency has been shrouded in secrecy by design, with the player and his reps preferring to keep the proceedings as private as possible. Recent reports have pegged the Jays, Dodgers, Giants, Angels and Cubs the finalists, though most of those clubs were hesitant to even admit they were involved, given Ohtani’s wishes. Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins spoke with reporters via Zoom during the Winter Meetings and would not divulge where he was. Later reporting from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic indicated that it was “believed” that Ohtani met with the Jays at their facilities in Dunedin, Florida at that time. There were also “rumblings” that Ohtani met with the Giants at Oracle Park, per Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts broke through this cone of silence earlier this week, frankly admitting that his club had recently met with Ohtani and identified him as a “top priority.” Many wondered if this plain-spoken approach would harm the Dodgers’ chances of signing Ohtani, given his clear desire for privacy. But Hoornstra reports it’s not believed that had any role in Ohtani’s choice, even a choice has even been made.
All of this has made it very difficult to secure concrete information about Ohtani’s market and what sort of discussions he was having with his suitors, though Morosi reported this morning that a decision was “imminent” and could be announced as soon as today.