Red Sox rumors: In on Shohei Ohtani, contender covets Justin Turner

Red Sox

Plus: Could a former Red Sox star be on his third team in two seasons soon?

The Red Sox have been linked to Shohei Ohtani (middle) on multiple occasions. John McCoy/AP Photo

The Red Sox may have had an early end to their 2023 season, but that doesn’t mean that their offseason won’t be active.

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Now that the World Series is over and MLB‘s offseason is about to begin, rumors and speculation about the best fits for top free agents are beginning to circulate. Among the biggest questions for this offseason involves the next home for superstar Shohei Ohtani, and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale believes that the Red Sox and new chief baseball officer Craig Breslow could answer that question.

“The Boston Red Sox, with new GM [sic] Craig Breslow, are expected to be heavily considered [for Ohtani],” Nightengale wrote Sunday.

This wouldn’t be the first time Ohtani has been linked to the Red Sox. Ohtani has an endorsement deal with Boston-based apparel company New Balance and reportedly has a strong relationship with CEO Jim Davis, and some believe that Ohtani has “long been intrigued” by the city itself. Because of these reasons, league insiders and former Red Sox players believe that Ohtani could be switching coasts and playing his home games at Fenway Park next season.

Despite these links and connections, the Red Sox will have competition for Ohtani’s services. Nightingale wrote that the Los Angeles Dodgers are still the heavy favorites to sign Ohtani, and that the Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels and both New York teams are all interested as well.

Regardless of whether the Red Sox sign Ohtani, it’s not unlikely that their roster will look different in March than it does right now. That could possibly mean having to say goodbye to some fan-favorites, such as designated hitter/corner infielder Justin Turner, who reportedly has some very interested suitors.

“The Arizona Diamondbacks, who desperately want a third baseman, plan to pursue free agent Justin Turner, who exercised his opt out with the Boston Red Sox,” Nightengale wrote. “He is atop their wish list.”

Turner reportedly likes Boston and is open to a return, and the Red Sox reportedly feel the same way. But it’s reportedly unclear if they will offer the 38-year-old a multiyear, lucrative offer, which would make it difficult to retain him if teams like the Diamondbacks give him a “Godfather” offer that most teams would give to their No. 1 targets.

Speaking of “Godfather” offers, last offseason saw the Red Sox lose All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who accepted an 11-year, $280 million contract to play for the San Diego Padres. But now that the Padres are experiencing financial woes after a disappointing season, Nightengale speculates that there’s a chance the recently-signed Bogaerts could be playing elsewhere soon.

“If [the Padres] have to make some tough decisions, GMs say, they wouldn’t be surprised to see the Padres dangle shortstop Xander Bogaerts and outfielder Fernando Tatis Jr. in creative deals to avoid trading [Juan] Soto,” Nightengale wrote.

The Red Sox’ vacancy at shortstop that Bogaerts left is now filled by Trevor Story, who will enter the third year of his six-year, $140 million contract, with No. 1 prospect Marcelo Mayer currently set to follow.