Ohtani’s $700 million deal an example of how sometimes the best investments are the ones you don’t make

(Mogami Kariya, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Man, was I excited on Friday. There was an absolute buzz over whether the Toronto Blue Jays were going to sign Shohei Ohtani. The entire fan base was plane-tracking, crossing fingers, and hoping that Ohtani would take the organization to the promised land. The Blue Jays were in the mix as a finalist, along with the Dodgers, Giants and Rangers.

But in the end, likely the greatest player any of us have ever seen with our own eyes signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Like the highest-priced best tract of land you have ever seen, there is extreme temptation to go all-in when made available. Sayings like “once in a lifetime” or “think of what this will do for us” kind of thoughts percolate in our heads, tempting the aggressive entrepreneur to plant a real flag on a substantial deal that would shock the locals. Similarly, had the Blue Jays signed Ohtani they would have sent a message to the baseball world.

In the end, Ohtani signed for US$700 million over 10 years in a deal worth $100 million more than anyone speculated for that contract term. For most Blue Jays fans, there is disappointment for what might have been, but in reality it may also be relief.

In The Art of the Deal, former President Donald Trump said, “Sometimes your best investments are the ones you don’t make.”

This might be true for the Blue Jays, and it can apply to the farm business as well.

Just like when a particular piece of land comes up for sale in a hot market and your balance sheet is maybe not exactly where you want it, moving on a deal with high emotion can be a business disaster.

We’ve all been there as we try to convince ourselves that if we take this big swing, it will change our business and try and justify the big risk for so many reasons. In the end, it might be that the deal falls apart and you are not the successful bidder and you are left with disappointment about what could have been. That land will never be up for sale again in your lifetime and you lost out. But did you?

For the Blue Jays pursuit of Ohtani, our land example, or any other major business investment you lost out on, there is always the perspective you actually won in the long run. If the business truly can’t afford the big purchase of land or equipment, no matter how shiny, it’s likely for the best in the long run.

In business there are always regrets, but sometimes the best investments are the ones you don’t make.

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