MLB Rumors: AL East Team "A Real Threat" To Sign Shohei Ohtani

While most eyes in the Shohei Ohtani Sweepstakes this winter will be on the likes of the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants out on the West Coast, and the New York Mets in the NL East, we're getting word today of an AL East team that could break into the bidding in a serious way: the Boston Red Sox.

According to MLB Insider Jon Heyman:

Shohei Ohtani and the Red Sox are starting to be linked more and more. One executive with an interested team said he believes they are a real threat.

Heyman points to Ohtani's big new sponsorship deal with New Balance, a company based out of Boston, plus the fact that the Red Sox need to make a big splash this offseason after finishing last place in the division three times in four years. 

Noted Boston Red Sox insider Peter Gammons confirmed this possibility, also tweeting recently that (an) “N.L. Executive long familiar with (Shohei) Ohtani believes he is interested in Boston, partly because of his relationship with New Balance CEO Jim Davis." 

However, Gammons at the same time also throws some cold water on the idea, citing the fact that Masataka Yoshida has to DH for the team, the only position Ohtani would be able to play after his elbow surgery, plus the belief that most of the Red Sox dollars this winter "will be going towards pitching.’’

Ohtani, 29, recently underwent elbow surgery, and the two-way superstar will be going only one way in 2024. He'll take the year off pitching. But as a hitter, he's still the top DH in the game and one of baseball's top offensive talents. He's the leading candidate to win his second MVP Award this year, after batting .304 with an MLB-leading 1.066 OPS, along with an AL-leading 44 HR. His OPS+ of an astounding 184 is also tops in baseball.

Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports