Though the constant links between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Shohei Ohtani are good for fans' well-being, there's no meaning to it unless the two-way star chooses them in free agency. And there's reason to believe he might prefer another destination.
The Dodgers, Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners are expected to represent Ohtani's top interested suitors when the offseason arrives, and this is the first time we're hearing of any connection to one of those parties.
Not too long before Ohtani cleaned out his Angels locker, a rumor surfaced suggesting the Red Sox might have the inside track heading into the offseason, which would be right in line with one baseball executive's belief Ohtani could buck any conventional trends heading into free agency.
Peter Gammons heard from an NL executive that Ohtani might be interested in Boston because of his relationship with New Balance CEO Jim Davis. Ohtani just signed a long-term deal with the company before the start of the 2023 season.
If there's any validity to this, the Dodgers might need to consider cooking up some business deals on their end that might benefit Ohtani and help him feel the same comfort he's believed to have with Davis.
Dodgers Rumors: Are Red Sox really emerging as legitimate Shohei Ohtani suitor?
But that's the thing ... how valid is this? Previous reports suggested Ohtani will prioritize winning when it comes to signing a long-term contract. While the Red Sox certainly have a history of winning since 2004 (four World Series), their lack of consistency and far-too-often organizational turmoil can't be ignored.
They just fired Chaim Bloom, who they hired after firing Dave Dombrowski less than a year after he won a title in Boston. Bloom was tasked with deconstructing a championship roster and was put in a terrible spot, but also did himself very few favors. The Red Sox have a history of treating their own stars (Jon Lester, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts) without the utmost respect.
As of right now, the Sox are on track to finish last in the AL East for the sixth time since 2012. They are going to miss the playoffs for the 10th time over the last 20 years. They are going to have their fifth general manager/president of basball operations over the same span. Would Ohtani want to risk the gamble of stumbling into a World Series every 4-5 seasons if it means 2-3 in between are absolute hell?
Maybe. It's quite possible. There's at least a track record of repeatable success at the highest level in Boston, and Ohtani dropped a hint this year when he took only his third road batting practice session at Fenway Park.
He's now done for the season and has a lot of time on his hands to determine where he will sign the largest contract in baseball history. Let's just hope his interaction with Davis is minimal over the next few months.