Another top MLB insider is linking the Red Sox to Shohei Ohtani
In recent years the Boston Red Sox have earned the “interest kings” nickname for a reason. Keeping that in mind, there continues to be serious noise connecting the Red Sox and two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani, who is projected to be the top MLB free agent this winter.
Last month, the New York Post’s Jon Heyman called the Red Sox “a real threat” to land Ohtani. Now, another top MLB insider has the Red Sox in pursuit.
“The Dodgers, Rangers and Boston Red Sox all are expected to be in the Ohtani sweepstakes, according to sources,” ESPN’s Jeff Passan wrote on Tuesday. “And though the industry’s overwhelming expectation is that he winds up with the Dodgers, that line of thinking is perhaps presumptive.” Passan added that Ohtani “loves visiting Boston and has a fondness for Fenway Park.”
Ohtani, 29, is coming off of his third consecutive All-Star season and second Silver Slugger performance. In 135 games at the plate for the Angels last year he slashed .304/.412/.654, with his OBP leading the American League and his slugging percentage and OPS leading all of Major League Baseball. He hit an AL-best 44 home runs and drove in 95 RBI.
Additionally, Ohtani started 23 games on the mound, going 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA. He compiled 167 strikeouts to just 55 walks in 132 innings, with a 1.061 WHIP.
.@JeffPassan reports the Red Sox are going to be in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes.— Tyler Milliken ⚾️ (@tylermilliken_) November 14, 2023
“The Dodgers, Rangers and Boston Red Sox all are expected to be in the Ohtani sweepstakes, according to sources. And though the industry's overwhelming expectation is that he winds up with the… pic.twitter.com/j7AHuv0vNs
However, Ohtani’s season was cut short due to injury, and he underwent surgery for a torn UCL in September. According to Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed the surgery, Ohtani is expected to be able to return to hitting “free of restrictions” in 2024, and resume pitching in 2025.
Still, that surgery has led some to question the ceiling of Ohtani’s new contract – initially believed to be in the $500 million range. However, there was another report over the weekend that could make the negotiations easier for a team that doesn’t want to commit to Ohtani long-term initially – a team like the Red Sox, who haven’t signed many long-term free agent deals in recent years.
According to ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez, “people familiar with Ohtani’s thinking believe he might be open to a short-term deal with an exceedingly high average annual value, a circumstance that would open up a host of suitors this offseason.”
Gonzalez also noted that, while the MLB free agency process typically drags out, that may not be the case with Ohtani. Gonzalez passed along from sources that some believe Ohtani could sign before the annual Winter Meetings, which begin on Dec. 4.
If the Red Sox don’t sign Ohtani, who are their other top options? Here’s a look at the top 20 MLB free agents from Matt Dolloff…