Getty Images

Shohei Ohtani, Major League Baseball's best player, made his long-awaited free-agent decision on Saturday, signing a 10-year pact worth $700 million with the Los Angeles Dodgers. For a time on Friday, erroneous reporting had suggested that Ohtani was either en route to Toronto or had informed the Dodgers he would not sign with them ahead of joining the Blue Jays

The Blue Jays were believed to offer Ohtani more than $500 million, according to Sportsnet. Even so, it's unclear how close they were to landing Ohtani -- his camp kept the process secret and requested that teams do the same -- but now GM Ross Atkins must pivot to other pursuits to improve their roster.

Toronto had been tied to the two most impactful players who have changed teams this winter: Ohtani, and outfielder Juan Soto, who on Wednesday was traded from the San Diego Padres to the New York Yankees. In both cases, the fit seemed good. The Blue Jays stand to lose third baseman Matt Chapman, center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, and DH Brandon Belt to free agency, meaning it would behoove them to add a big bat, with a preference for a lefty.

So, with all of that in mind, what comes next for the Blue Jays? 

This is pure speculation, but the most obvious fit is free-agent center fielder Cody Bellinger. He's coming off a resurgent season at the plate that saw him hit .307/.356/.525 (133 OPS+) with 26 home runs and 20 stolen bases with the Cubs. Bellinger could slot into left or center field, depending on where the Blue Jays wanted to station Daulton Varsho, and could give their lineup a little diversity -- George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Bo Bichette all bat righty.

The catch with Bellinger is the Blue Jays are managed by a heavily analytical front office that might have concerns about his ball-tracking data. For as good as his slash line was last season, his underlying metrics were less impressive. His average exit velocity put him in the same block as Jean Segura, Yan Gomes, and Miguel Rojas -- hardly middle-of-the-order threats. Even his "best speed," another way of gauging how hard a player hit the ball on average, placed him alongside the likes of Jake Cronenworth and Zach McKinstry.

Someone is going to sign Bellinger, that's just the nature of the game. It's just an unusual profile that, in turn, appears to present more risk than you'd expect given his overall numbers and his pedigree as a former MVP Award winner.

Whether or not the Blue Jays do pursue Bellinger, they could also be in the market for another infielder and a DH. Perhaps that entails reuniting with Chapman and/or Belt, or maybe it means considering external options. Again, this is pure speculation, but trading for Minnesota Twins' veteran Jorge Polanco would make sense on paper. There's no doubt that the Toronto fan base could overcome the sting of losing out on Ohtani and Soto could be numbed, if only for a time, by the addition of Canadian Joey Votto.

None of these moves are likely to match the impact the Blue Jays would have received from adding Ohtani or Soto to the roster. But that's no longer the goal -- it can't be, since there aren't many players capable of their output. The goal now is to make the roster better than it is today, and better than it would be tomorrow. The offseason is really just now getting started, with most of the free-agent class and trade market left to develop. There's no reason, and indeed no excuse, for the Blue Jays to stop making an aggressive push now.