The Major League Baseball Winter Meetings are happening as we speak, and although it’s relatively early in the MLB offseason… It’s already been a tough one for the Blue Jays – and not because of anything anyone associated with the team has done.
Among Jays fans, there had been much speculation in recent months that the Jays had a chance at landing premiere Japanese star Shoehei Ohtani, who is known for his prowess both on the pitcher’s mound AND at the plate. Pitchers are generally not known for their ability with a bat. Sure, there are exceptions to that rule (Madison Bumgarner comes to mind among a few other pitchers who rake), but I don’t think that anyone currently in Major League Baseball is nearly as adept at filling both roles. On days where he’s not pitching, he plays the outfield too. With a career batting average in Nippon Professional Baseball of .286, he certainly knows how to hit (and with power, too), and with a record of 42-15 with a 2.52 ERA and 624 strikeouts over 5 seasons, he’s also an elite pitcher. Fun fact: he also holds the record for fastest pitch ever thrown by a Japanese pitcher (and in NPB history) at 165 km/h (102.5 mph).
Here, have a look some pitching highlights from his career in Japan:
And how about the dingers he socked last year?
Not too shabby right? So obviously the Jays (and all other 29 teams) would love to get their hands on this guy. Unfortunately, as Austin Powers would say, that train has sailed. Ohtani has now agreed to sign with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (I still think that’s the silliest name in baseball), which pretty much turns them into an instant contender. With franchise player Mike Trout already there, Ohtani will add offensive prowess, and I would imagine will likely also serve as the team’s elite starting pitcher. Bad for the other AL West teams (I’m looking at you, Seattle), and bad for the Jays…
… But not nearly as bad as the other deal that just went through.
This morning, one of the first things I spotted on Twitter was a joke about how Derek Jeter, who is now the CEO and part-owner of the Miami Marlins, is still playing for the Yankees. I wondered what that was about until I did a little digging and found out that the damn Yankees managed to land reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton. Not only did they get Stanton, they got some money in the deal too, in exchange for second baseman Starlin Castro and a couple of prospects. And of course, since the Yankees are in the same divison as the Blue Jays (AL East), that means the Jays are going to have to face this guy pretty regularly all season long… And I won’t be surprised if he torches us.
To get an idea of this guy’s power, watch each of the 59 home runs he hit to lead all of Major League Baseball last year:
Yep. It’s gonna be a loooooong season.
And of course, let’s not forget he joins a lineup that already contains Aaron Judge…
… And Gary Sanchez, who you may remember tied an 86-year-old MLB record back in 2016 when he hit 20 home runs in his first 51 Major League games…
Not to mention all the other dynamic players in the Yankees lineup.
But, I can’t say I’m surprised. In fact, this is kind of what I thought:
Eh, it’s been a while since they bought a World Series.
— Ken Elrick II (@DrPatchbeard) December 9, 2017
Well, there goes the division.