Jon Morosi and Bob Nightengale reports on Shohei Ohtani

As MLB teams vie for the services of free agent Shohei Ohtani, two well-known MLB insiders issued wildly conflicting reports Friday on the superstar’s plans.

MLB Network’s Jon Morosi broke what appeared to be huge news around 4 p.m., citing sources and saying, “Shohei Ohtani is en route to Toronto today.”

If true, that would be huge news. And it would be a big coup for Morosi to get the story first. Ohtani’s free agency has been cloaked in secrecy, frustrating baseball insiders. In fact, Morosi got a taste of that earlier this week at the MLB Winter Meetings, when a Chicago Cubs executive reportedly exchanged “stern words” with him for reporting the Cubs were out of the Ohtani chase.

About an hour later, USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale issued a conflicting report on Ohtani’s whereabouts, going all caps to emphasize his point.

“Shohei Ohtani is NOT in Toronto,” Nightengale posted on X/Twitter.

“Ohtani is NOT on a flight to Toronto.”

“Ohtani is at home in Southern California.”

Nightengale didn’t mention Morosi’s report, but he didn’t have to. The inference is clear he was disputing that initial report.

Obviously, both reports can’t be right. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that in the race to be first on the biggest story of the MLB offseason, many bad reports have surfaced. That’s even less surprising given the intensely private nature of the negotiations.

Further muddying the water are troll reports. Podcaster Mason Hall tweeted a video Friday he said showed Ohtani arriving at the Toronto airport. Shrewd observers pointed out the video was taken in Los Angeles, as per the initial tweet Hall was quoting with the video (with many pointing out in the replies to that that the video also doesn’t appear to be from Friday).

But getting back to the Morosi vs. Nightengale battle, many MLB fans found it pretty amusing.

In the end, Nightengale looked right (at least for the moment) Friday night, with news that Ohtani was not on the particularly-tracked plane:

MLB Network’s Ryan Dempster brilliantly spoofed the Ohtani free agent secrecy Wednesday by noting a “secret team” had entered the negotiations, and he knew that because he spotted a hawk “flying outside Nashville with a rolled up scroll in its talons!”

If Dempster had spotted the hawk flying around Toronto, he might, or might not, have a real scoop.

[Bob Nightengale]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.