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Inbox: Will Blue Jays make a run at Ohtani?

Beat reporter Gregor Chisholm fields fans' questions
MLB.com @gregorMLB

Are the Blue Jays going after Shohei Ohtani? Since he's young, athletic, a powerful batter, a pitcher and possible right fielder, wouldn't he be the perfect fit?
-- Caleb H., Anaheim, Calif.

The Blue Jays are definitely going after Ohtani, but the same could be said about almost every team in the Majors. The most Ohtani can receive as a signing bonus is approximately $3.5 million -- plus the team would have to pay the $20 million posting fee -- so this is one of the rare situations when money will not be the determining factor. Ohtani's agent reportedly asked teams to submit their case in writing, but he wasn't interested in financial details. Instead, Ohtani wanted to hear about things like culture, integration into the city, Spring Training facilities and how he would fit into the organization.

Are the Blue Jays going after Shohei Ohtani? Since he's young, athletic, a powerful batter, a pitcher and possible right fielder, wouldn't he be the perfect fit?
-- Caleb H., Anaheim, Calif.

The Blue Jays are definitely going after Ohtani, but the same could be said about almost every team in the Majors. The most Ohtani can receive as a signing bonus is approximately $3.5 million -- plus the team would have to pay the $20 million posting fee -- so this is one of the rare situations when money will not be the determining factor. Ohtani's agent reportedly asked teams to submit their case in writing, but he wasn't interested in financial details. Instead, Ohtani wanted to hear about things like culture, integration into the city, Spring Training facilities and how he would fit into the organization.

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Toronto is a clear underdog here, but the club does have quite a few things working in its favor. The Blue Jays can offer Ohtani a spot in the rotation, playing time in right field and the ability to occasionally start at designated hitter. That's the type of flexibility Ohtani is looking for, and the club will then attempt to sell him on its high-performance training department, the city's diversity and previous success with Munenori Kawasaki. The Blue Jays have just about everything Ohtani could want, but it might be tough to beat the allure of a major market like New York or Los Angeles.

If the offseason moves on without management filling all the holes, would the Jays consider re-signing Bautista?
-- John C., Austin, Texas

Nobody thought Jose Bautista would be back this year and he returned, so technically anything is possible. But there's no reason to believe history will repeat itself. Toronto rolled out the red carpet for Bautista at the end of the season and made sure he received a proper goodbye from the fanbase that followed his career for the past 10 years. There was an emotional connection between the player, the city and even the country, and pretty much everyone knew at the time this was goodbye.

Video: Atkins talks about parting ways with Bautista

There's a lack of fit on the field because Toronto wants to be younger and more athletic in the corner-outfield spots. It remains to be seen whether that means bringing in a free agent or instead handing the reins to a younger prospect like Teoscar Hernandez and Anthony Alford, but change is on the way. Bautista might market himself as a super-utility player, which is something the Blue Jays could use, but it must be someone who can start up the middle. There's no doubt Bautista wants to play next year, but it likely would be for a rebuilding team like Oakland or Tampa Bay.

How can the Blue Jays justify leaving Max Pentecost exposed in the Rule 5 Draft? Catching is hard to find, and he was supposed to be one of our best prospects.
-- Richard W., Mississauga, Ontario

Pentecost might be the biggest name for the Blue Jays to not receive protection from the Rule 5, but he's not the player most likely to be selected. Pentecost is still far too inexperienced following various injuries, and it's just not realistic for a team to carry him on an active roster all of next season. Pitchers Jordan Romano, Angel Perdomo and Andrew Case are potentially a different story. Romano and Perdomo could be stashed as long relievers, while Case might receive consideration in middle relief after a year in which he posted a sub-2.00 ERA for Double-A New Hampshire.

Why would the Jays leave their [40-man] roster at 39? Does this suggest a move is coming, or is this simply allowing flexibility?
-- @JDJays

Moves are certainly coming, but the Blue Jays did not leave an open spot because something was imminent. Instead this was all about future flexibility and the possibility of selecting a player of their own in next month's Rule 5 Draft. One open spot isn't much to work with, and even if Toronto non-tenders right-hander Tom Koehler, the roster is still pretty cramped for free agents and trades. Protecting Reese McGuire, Danny Jansen, Conner Greene, Rowdy Tellez and Thomas Pannone was really the most the Blue Jays could do under the circumstances.

I heard that the Blue Jays are interested in Jake Arrieta. Is this true or the usual background noise of a baseball offseason?
-- Brian G., Toronto

The Blue Jays were linked to Arrieta by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, but this likely is a case of Toronto simply doing its due diligence. It's hard to envision the Blue Jays committing long term to the 31-year-old when there are other areas on the roster that require more attention.

Toronto's pursuit of a player like Ohtani would take priority here, and if those talks fail to advance, it's more likely to be a mid-tier starter that Toronto targets. One name to keep in mind is right-hander Andrew Cashner, who went 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA for the Rangers this season. Cashner has been linked to Toronto before, and the Blue Jays had a senior-level scout follow the right-hander's starts at the end of the year.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays