Blue Jays trade and free agency tracker: Toronto's betting odds for Shohei Ohtani skyrocket

How will the Blue Jays' offseason unfold? We'll keep you up to date all winter with the latest signings, trades and rumours.

The Toronto Blue Jays are in the middle of a busy offseason after being swept out of the MLB playoffs by the Minnesota Twins.

Several Blue Jays players hit free agency in Matt Chapman, Hyun Jin Ryu, Brandon Belt, Kevin Kiermaier, Jordan Hicks and Whit Merrifield, leaving general manager Ross Atkins with holes to fill up and down the roster. Toronto has some solid internal options to make up for the lost talent, but external reinforcements are needed if the team wants to remain a playoff contender in the competitive American League East.

How will the Blue Jays' offseason unfold? We'll keep you up to date with the latest signings, trades and rumours all winter long.

Could Shohei Ohtani, left, be donning a Blue Jays jersey next season? (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
Could Shohei Ohtani, left, be donning a Blue Jays jersey next season? (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

Blue Jays among betting favourites for Ohtani (Nov. 30)

The Blue Jays have been reported to be interested in Shohei Ohtani since the offseason began, but the rumours have picked up ahead of the MLB Winter Meetings, which begin on Dec. 3. All that smoke has led Vegas to reevaluate Toronto's position in the sweepstakes.

As of Nov. 30, the Blue Jays trailed only the Los Angeles Dodgers in the betting odds to land the generational superstar. The odds have skyrocketed over the past three weeks.

Blue Jays getting calls on superstars, unlikely to move them (Nov. 28)

According to a new report from The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the Blue Jays are receiving calls on Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette but are unlikely to move either of their stars. Rosenthal indicates the rumours are more of a reflection of a poor class of free-agent hitters available than of the Blue Jays actively seeking to move either franchise cornerstone.

Notably, Rosenthal also points to the Blue Jays moving either star as nonsensical, particularly given the team's pressure to win, the message it would send to Shohei Ohtani in their pursuit of him, and the lack of extension in place for Bichette or Guerrero, who are both two years away from reaching free agency.

Blue Jays open to trading Manoah? (Nov. 19)

Alek Manoah's 2023 campaign was an unmitigated disaster that reportedly left him at odds with the Blue Jays by season's end. The 2022 Cy Young finalist struggled mightily on the mound this season and was demoted to the minors on two occasions.

He did not report to Triple-A Buffalo in a timely manner following his August demotion and the relationship between the pitcher and team is rumoured to be strained. The right-hander also received platelet-rich plasma injections in his right arm to end his year.

Rival executives told The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal the Blue Jays are "open" to trading Manoah, who registered a 5.87 ERA over 19 MLB starts. The 25-year-old has four years of club control remaining.

Blue Jays linked to Candelario (Nov. 19)

With Matt Chapman's future in Toronto up in the air, the Blue Jays are expressing interest in free agent infielder Jeimer Candelario, according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi. Candelario could take over for Chapman at third base and give Toronto a strong switch-hitting option for its lineup.

Candelario is coming off a career-best year in 2023 with the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs. He hit .251 with an .807 OPS and 22 home runs over 140 games.

Blue Jays non-tender Cimber (Nov. 17)

The Blue Jays elected not to tender reliever Adam Cimber a contract for the 2024 season, allowing him to reach free agency. Cimber is coming off a down year from both a performance and health perspective, as he logged a 7.40 ERA in 22 appearances. He suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in June.

The right-hander was effective for Toronto after joining the club in 2021 and was a key member of the relief corps in each of his first two seasons with the club.

Cimber was the only Blue Jay to be non-tendered.

Blue Jays could be in the Ohtani sweepstakes (Nov. 14)

A new report from ESPN's Jeff Passan has indicated that the Blue Jays are looking to do "something big", according to a source familiar with the Blue Jays plans. In particular, Passan noted that with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette's free agency looming in 2025, the club hoped to make a splash, insinuating that Shohei Ohtani could be a significant piece they hope to lure North.

Blue Jays add DeMarlo Hale to staff (Nov. 13)

The Toronto Blue Jays announced on Monday the addition of DeMarlo Hale to their coaching staff as their new associate manager under John Schneider. Hale spent five years with the Blue Jays as a bench coach on John Gibbons staff, and most recently served as Terry Francona's bench coach with the Cleveland Guardians last season.

Hale adds yet another veteran voice to a Blue Jays dugout that has seen some shuffling in recent weeks. Last week, Ross Atkins announced that Don Mattingly would be adding "offensive coordinator" to his title, while the Blue Jays also added Carlos Febles to their staff as third base coach, replacing the retiring Luis Rivera.

Blue Jays linked to Dylan Carlson (Nov. 9)

The St. Louis Cardinals have been fielding trade calls on outfielder Dylan Carlson, with the Blue Jays being one of the teams expressing interest, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The 25-year-old switch-hitter only appeared in 76 games in 2023 due to an ankle issue that ultimately required season-ending surgery. He hit just .219/.318/.333 with five home runs last season.

Carlson, once a former top prospect, has three years of club control remaining and is set for his first round of arbitration this winter. The Blue Jays and Cardinals have plenty of familiarity with one another after teaming up for three separate trades in 2023 (Génesis Cabrera, Jordan Hicks and Paul DeJong deals).

Don't rule out a reunion with Matt Chapman (Nov. 8)

The Blue Jays gave incumbent third baseman Matt Chapman a qualifying offer, but a longer-term deal could still be reached if he declines. Toronto is "absolutely interested" in keeping Chapman around, according to Atkins.

Jon Heyman of the New York Post also reports Chapman is a "priority" for the Blue Jays.

Blue Jays interested in NPB ace Yamamoto (Nov. 8)

Starting pitching was the Blue Jays' biggest strength in 2023, but that doesn't mean they aren't looking to bolster their rotation this winter. Toronto has expressed interest in Japanese right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi.

Yamamoto is coming off another dominant season in Japan, posting a 1.16 ERA over 24 games. The highest ERA he has registered in a season since beginning his professional career in 2017 is 2.35.

The market is expected to be very competitive for the 25-year-old, with Davidi predicting a nine-figure contract.

Votto, Suárez on Blue Jays radar (Nov. 7)

As the GM meetings roll along, Atkins has revealed that Toronto is in the market to add as many as four bats to the mix this offseason, as reported by Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith.

Among the names reportedly linked to the Blue Jays: longtime Cincinnati Reds first baseman and Canadian legend Joey Votto — currently a free agent — as well as Mariners third baseman Eugenio Suárez, who the Blue Jays have reportedly checked in on.

Blue Jays announce key decisions on coaches (Nov. 7)

Just hours after reports of that Don Mattingly could be Milwaukee bound, Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins announced that the club would be expanding his role, adding offensive coordinator to his title. The move reportedly sees him more involved in daily hitting work.

The Blue Jays also announced the return of divisive hitting coach Guillermo Martinez and hiring of new third base coach Carlos Febles, who replaces the now retired Luis Rivera. Febles joins the Blue Jays having served in the position with the Boston Red Sox since 2018.

Blue Jays have interest in Michael A. Taylor (Nov. 7)

With MLB's GM meetings underway, the Blue Jays are reported to have interest in veteran outfielder Michael A. Taylor, per MLB Network's Jon Morosi.

Taylor spent the 2023 season with the Minnesota Twins, slashing .220./.278/.442 with 21 home runs in 129 games. The 32-year-old brings pop from the right side and strong outfield defense, winning a Gold Glove in center field in 2021.

Don Mattingly in running to be Brewers manager (Nov. 7)

The Milwaukee Brewers are looking for a new manager after watching Craig Counsell sign a historic contract with the Chicago Cubs. Current Blue Jays bench coach Don Mattingly is being considered for the Brewers job, according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.

Last season was Mattingly's first with the Blue Jays after spending a combined 12 years at the helm of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Miami Marlins. Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports Toronto wouldn't stand in Mattingly's way of pursuing a manager job this offseason.

Blue Jays acquire pitching depth in Brendon Little (Nov. 6)

Toronto made its first trade of the offseason on Monday, grabbing pitcher Brendon Little from the Chicago Cubs.

Little is a 27-year-old left-hander who spent his entire 2023 season at Triple-A with the Iowa Cubs. In 73.1 innings with the Cubs' affiliate he posted a 4.05 ERA and managed 73 strikeouts, while walking 38. The lefty has only appeared in one MLB game in his career.

Blue Jays give Matt Chapman qualifying offer (Nov. 6)

As expected, the Blue Jays extended a qualifying offer to third baseman Matt Chapman. The 30-year-old will have until Nov. 14 to accept the offer, which is worth $20.325 million for one year.

If he declines and signs elsewhere, the Blue Jays will receive a 2024 draft pick in compensation from his new club. It is expected that Chapman will land a longer-term contract in free agency.

Blue Jays keeping Chad Green around (Nov. 6)

The Blue Jays exercised their two-year conditional club option on right-hander Chad Green for the 2024 and 2025 seasons. Green will make $10.5 million in each of those campaigns.

The veteran missed the first five months of the season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, then went 3-0 with a 5.25 ERA over 12 games upon his return. Despite the bloated ERA, Green was quite effective down the stretch, logging scoreless outings in five of his final six appearances.

Blue Jays to make 'strong push' for Shohei Ohtani (Nov. 5)

Shohei Ohtani is set to break records with his free agency this winter and the Blue Jays are reported to be interested in entering the sweepstakes.

Toronto is among a handful of teams expected to make a "strong push" for the Japanese superstar, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale. The Los Angeles Dodgers are viewed as the "overwhelming favourites" to land Ohtani, per Nightengale, who also says not to rule out a return to the Los Angeles Angels.

The Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers were the other teams Nightengale linked to the two-way sensation.