Fans of the Toronto Blue Jays, the team’s front office members, and folks betting on their futures odds at Ontario sportsbooks had great reason to be in a jubilant mood in early December. A day later, they were all in scrambling mode.
News broke Dec. 8 that superstar pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani, the reigning American League Most Valuable Player with the Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim, was headed to Toronto and was on the verge of signing with the Jays. But that turned out to be a false dawn for Canada’s lone MLB franchise. On Dec. 9, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced they had signed Ohtani to a 10-year, $700 million deal, the largest contract in the history of North American sports.
So OntarioBets.com, where you can find information about the newest Ontario sportsbooks, assembled a list of players the Blue Jays might pursue — or redouble their efforts to retain — after missing out on the Japanese superstar. Here are our odds:
Odds of Blue Jays Acquiring Offseason Targets
You won’t find these odds with Ontario sports betting apps, only at OntarioBets, which created these odds exclusively. The way we see it, the offseason splash the Jays are most likely to make involves keeping a guy who’s already in Toronto.
Our favorite — at +150 odds or an implied probability of 40% — is Jays third baseman Matt Chapman.
Chapman, 30, has spent the past two seasons north of the border after playing his first five seasons with the Oakland A’s. In 2023, Chapman hit .240 for the Jays with a .330 on-base percentage and .424 slugging average for an OPS of .755; he also hit 17 home runs. We wrote in November about the Matt Chapman next team odds, so we’ll see how the likelihood of Toronto retaining his services has changed after Ohtani decided to stay in Southern California.
Who Else Might Blue Jays Pursue?
Topping the list of free agents from elsewhere we think Toronto will pursue is Cody Bellinger of the Cubs. The 28-year-old outfielder/first baseman won the NL MVP in 2019 when he was with the Dodgers. In 2023, Bellinger hit .307 with 26 homers and triple slash numbers of .356/.525/.881 in his first season in Chicago. We give the Jays a 33.3% chance, or +200 odds, of signing Bellinger. For something you can bet on now, NorthStar Bets Ontario Sportsbook lists Toronto at +1500 odds to win the 2024 World Series. The Dodgers are +600 favorites after signing Ohtani.
As for the rest of our list, outfielder/designated hitter Joc Pederson (a 22.2% chance, or +350 odds) is a free agent after spending the past four seasons bouncing from the Dodgers to the Cubs to the Braves and then the Giants. He hit .235 last season in San Francisco and, at 31, should command a lower salary than the first two names on our list.
Up next is Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, 25, who plays for the Orix Buffaloes in Japan’s Pacific League. The past three years running he has been both league MVP and won Japan’s equivalent of the Cy Young Award (the Sawamura Award). He has +450 odds on our board, or an 18.2% chance, as does OF Teoscar Hernandez, who spent five-plus seasons in Toronto before playing for the Seattle Mariners in 2023.
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