Every team is going to be interested in Shohei Ohtani next offseason. That will only translate into a serious pursuit for a handful of the 30 teams.
If the Red Sox plan on being part of that handful, then they’re laying the groundwork now.
Ohtani is set to hit the market this offseason. This will be his sixth big league campaign, and he’s yet to make the postseason with the Angels. The Dodgers and Mets are expected to make strong pushes for the two-way star, who conceivably could get a deal in excess of $600 million.
It should make for an all-time bidding war. And whether it’s flattery or simply the truth, Red Sox brass made their views of Ohtani clear Thursday.
“He’s the greatest player in baseball in my lifetime,” Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, who is 72-years-old, said on “Gresh and Fauria.” “Whatever compensation he receives is going to be worth it because he’s such a dynamic presence – obviously as a pitcher, as a hitter. Will he set the market? I’m sure he’ll get more than any other player, but he deserves a lot of money because he’s a global star.”
“The guy is unbelievable. We’re seeing Babe Ruth plus, right in front of our eyes,” team president and CEO Sam Kennedy said on “The Greg Hill Show." “It’s remarkable. Go see Shohei somewhere, if you have a chance, get your family members to see this guy in person.”
Boston was among the teams that made a presentation to Ohtani in 2017 when he was making the jump to MLB. Much of the talk around Ohtani at that time was he preferred the West Coast, which was evident when he signed with the Angels.
“When Shohei was available and teams had the opportunity to go out and present why he should come play in our market, we had a chance to make a presentation,” Kennedy said. “A friend of mine is his agent, and of course he didn’t select Boston … (but) we got a handwritten note from Shohei thanking us for the presentation. I was so impressed by that – (I) came to find out he did that for every team – but that fact that this guy thought to do that, he’s special. A special, special player."
It’s all well and good that the Red Sox are so effusive in their praise for Ohtani, but it’s hardly going out on a limb to say that every other executive in baseball thinks the same thing.
The Red Sox have given out some big contracts under Chaim Bloom, namely Trevor Story's and Masataka Yoshida's deals. Ohtani’s will undoubtedly be in a different zip code. When asked if the Red Sox would be interested in Ohtani if the price tag was $55 million a year, Kennedy chuckled.
“Yeah, why not?” he quipped.
Though rhetorical, it’s a fair question. Yeah, why not?
LISTEN on the Audacy App
Sign Up and Follow Audacy Sports
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram