The Los Angeles Angels have a daunting task ahead of them. Convincing Shohei Ohtani to remain in Anaheim. They did it once before, but keeping him around after six straight losing seasons without reasons to believe that the streak will end right away is going to be a challenge for Arte Moreno and Perry Minasian.
Something that was supposed to help make things easier in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes was Ohtani's preference of remaining on the West Coast. Teams like the Dodgers, Giants, and Mariners who are very real threats to steal Ohtani away would still be in play, but that'd also eliminate the big market giants in New York and all over the East Coast.
One East Coast team with a whole lot of money to spend and reason to spend it after a third last place finish in the last four years is the Boston Red Sox. According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Boston Red Sox "loom as a real threat" to sign Shohei Ohtani. Yikes.
If Shohei Ohtani is open to going out east, the LA Angels face an even tougher uphill battle in their fight to retain him
The challenge was daunting enough when only teams on the West Coast with the exception of teams like the Cubs and Rangers in play. Now, if Shohei is open to teams out east, that makes things even tougher.
"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. Ohtani has a new big deal with New Balance out of Boston. Perhaps more important: The Red Sox need to balance things out after three last-place finishes in four years."
Heyman notes a connection Ohtani has in Boston with New Balance, and also notes the Red Sox desire to find a way out of the AL East cellar. They, like the Angels, were competitive this season but really faltered down the stretch. Signing a guy like Ohtani could be what rejuvinates a fan base hungry for winning.
It's unclear whether Ohtani has interest in the Red Sox, but they certainly have every reason to try and snag him. If Ohtani is open to going east, that could create the opportunity for an owner like Steve Cohen to blow a potential Angels offer out of the water and take them out of the running completely. They'd have more of a shot if the field was limited to only teams on the West Coast.