Red Sox Rumors: Any shot at Shohei Ohtani means winning in 2023

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 02: t at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on October 02, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 02: t at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on October 02, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox ownership did something important this offseason.  They woke up and signed Rafael Devers to the kind of contract fans and critics of this big market team are used to.  Now they need to get back in the chase for elite free agents like Shohei Ohtani.

After trading away big-time star Mookie Betts and letting Xander Bogaerts walk out the door, if the Sox couldn’t and wouldn’t lock up Devers, not only would Red Sox Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom been chased out of town and all the way down the Mass Pike, but ownership would’ve also heard more than just boos at all live events thereafter.

Now, the Red Sox do have a plan…we think.  Building the farm system and finding cheaper contracts like Adam Duvall and Justin Turner don’t move the meter but are big reward types of moves that Bloom will get credit for if the team is any good in 2023.

Boston Red Sox need to compete in 2023 to lure Shohei Ohtani

Speaking of winning, if these team as currently constructed around Devers and the hope of a healthy Chris Sale competes for a playoff spot, the chance of landing a once in a lifetime talent like Ohtani increases.

NBC Sports Boston John Tomase had this interesting take of what the Red Sox have at stake this season.  Not only should the team be out to prove doubters wrong and give Red Sox fans a summer of excitement, but a winning season also put them in the conversation for Ohtani, who will be high on the list for teams like the Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.  Yes, the usual suspects.

So, what would motivate this once in a lifetime dual threat to sign in Boston over those teams?

Well, as Tomase points out, it won’t be mediocrity no matter how much money the Red Sox are willing to spend.  Tomase writes:

"“If Ohtani can’t sniff the playoffs in the weaker AL West alongside three-time MVP Mike Trout, what motivation would he have to come to a Red Sox team that features Rafael Devers and not much else, especially if it repeats last year’s last-place finish?“The answer is zero, which lends an added layer of importance to ensuring this isn’t another lost season. The way the Red Sox have approached free agency under Chaim Bloom, it’s doubtful they’d even allocate the resources to sign baseball’s unicorn, but if they fail to give Ohtani a team worth considering, it won’t matter.”"

Not only will this dude demand the money, Ohtani is at the stage in his career where he is going to want to enjoy the taste of a winning atmosphere after spending the first part of his career smudged in mediocrity.

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Instead of being the show, it’s time for Ohtani to be part of the show.  Whether it is at the plate or on the mound, he will make the Red Sox that much better.  But, aside from producing a winning season, the Red Sox are going to have to be willing to spend…you know, like they used to.

Although the team has wreaked the consequences of some of those massive contracts that just didn’t work out, throwing that money at the right superstars is a lesson the team should’ve learned when they didn’t lock up their own homegrown talent in Mookie Betts.

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They opened up their wallet for Devers, next it should be Ohtani.  But, in agreeing with Tomase, there is no chance of that if there is no winning in 2023.

While the players on the current rather could care less about the team’s free agency plans following the season, ownership has to be rooting for overachievement to make their lack of spending the last few off-season’s of value if they can land the big fish.