Shohei Ohtani ‘flies to Toronto’ amid reports MLB’s top free agent is leaning towards signing with the Blue Jays… but the ex-Los Angeles Angels star hasn’t signed anything just yet
- Ohtani reportedly flew from Anaheim to Toronto on Friday afternoon
- Sources previously told Mail Sport that Toronto is the favorite to get his signature
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
Shohei Ohtani has reportedly flown from Anaheim to Toronto, although he has not yet signed with the Blue Jays or any other team for that matter.
Baseball's hottest free agent was on his way to southern Ontario MLB on Friday afternoon Network's Jon Morosi reports. Morosi added that Ohtani's agent has not yet confirmed any travel plans and that the former Los Angeles Angels star has not yet signed anything.
News of Ohtani's travel plans has captivated the baseball-loving world as thousands boarded flights from Southern California to Toronto this week.
Sources told DailyMail.com that the Toronto Blue Jays are the current favorites to sign the Japanese superstar over other teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels.
While there are many different variables at play when it comes to signing with a Canadian team – money being one of them – sources say Ohtani's desire to win is one of the main driving forces behind his decision.
The Toronto Blue Jays are the frontrunners to sign Shohei Ohtani, sources tell DailyMail.com
The flight believed to have Ohtani on board arrived in Toronto on Friday afternoon
“He feels Toronto will be able to compete in the coming years and he would be a beacon for other free agents to join him in creating a winning team,” sources told Mail Sport. “And he would also be able to live outside of the constant spotlight of LA.”
Sources say that while there is some familiarity with the state of California after playing for the Angels since moving to North America, playing for the Dodgers could prove daunting – as the player values his privacy.
While Ohtani understands that the Dodgers will remain in the mix for a World Series title, he also knows that “there's going to be a lot of baggage that comes with being part of that team and always having to be the star off the field while making sure his star on the field continues to rise.'
Sources added, “He'll need a little more convincing for what many think is an inevitability of him joining the Dodgers, it's definitely not a guarantee.”
Ohtani is attracted to the lack of pressure in Toronto, like in LA, and their ability to win now
Ohtani hopes to make his decision before Christmas and sources reiterate: “It really looks like Toronto will be the choice. It's going to take a great offer and a great situation from another team to not choose Toronto.”
Since joining the Angels in 2018, Ohtani has been a star in Major League Baseball and has been compared to Babe Ruth for his two-way skills.
He won AL Rookie of the Year in 2018 and the AL MVP award in 2021.
In 2023, Ohtani led the league in home runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS and total bases.
Toronto was widely considered a dark horse to try and land Ohtani, but now it seems like only a matter of time before he packs up and moves to the Great White North.
He would work alongside superstars like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. help build a powerful new Jays team
Last season, the Blue Jays made it to the AL Wild Card round before being swept by the Minnesota Twins.
If he does indeed come to Toronto, he will join a team that boasts other superstars such as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette – both sons of retired All-Stars.
The Jays made the playoffs in three of the past four seasons and never won a game in the three Wild Card series they participated in.
Toronto last made a deep playoff run in 2016, when they went to the ALCS before falling to the Cleveland Indians in five games.