The Boston Red Sox have their work cut out of them if the offseason intention is to go after once-in-a-lifetime superstar free agent Shohei Ohtani, who’s already garnered links to a great deal of clubs across Major League Baseball.

Sure, from Ohtani’s perspective, the Red Sox check several boxes for an ideal attractive landing spot. Boston has the market, the fan base, the winning history plus Fenway Park — a place Ohtani is on the record for enjoying as a visitor throughout his time with the Los Angeles Angels.

But the Red Sox aren’t the only team with enticing intangibles working in their favor.

There’s the obvious financial factor in Ohtani’s currently unknown price tag. What should a left-handed hitter that crushed an American League-leading 44 home runs and recorded a 3.14 ERA across 132 innings on the mound command? MLB hasn’t seen a player like this since — as cliché as the comparison has become at this point — Babe Ruth. And it’s true.

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Having spent six seasons accumulating three All-Star appearances, two AL MVP awards plus three Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Awards, Ohtani’s made it clear: He’s the best in the business, and there aren’t many that even come close.

However, even that hasn’t been enough to place Ohtani in a spot he’s still never been in since leaving Japan to join MLB: the postseason.

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Taking all that into consideration, here are the three biggest Red Sox threats in the Ohtani offseason sweepstakes:

San Francisco Giants
Just two seasons ago, the Giants were MLB’s winningest team, going 107-55 in the regular season before falling flat in the National League Division Series.

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San Francisco has flopped in back-to-back seasons since, missing postseason contention which prompted the firing of manager Gabe Kapler this offseason. But, in 2022 and 2023, the Giants finished a modest — not horrible — 81-81 and 79-83 respectively.

Most recently, San Francisco led MLB in errors (117) while also finishing fourth in ERA (4.02), making it clear that offense and defense are the primary issues holding the organization back. An offseason can clean both those issues up and adding Ohtani would be an obvious improvement toward getting the Giants back in the mix with the Dodgers as the top dog in the NL West for years to come.

Ohtani would be a phenomenal fit for San Francisco, following a long history of cherished Giants stars — Willie Mays, Will Clark, Barry Bonds and Buster Posey, to name a few.

It’d also help Giants fans recover from last offseason’s Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa heartbreaks, too.

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Texas Rangers
What more could a team do to increase its attractiveness besides winning the World Series?

Texas made a dark horse run through the regular season and didn’t stop once the postseason rolled around in October. The Rangers overcame the season-ending loss of ace Jacob deGrom in early June, and didn’t let that critical loss faze them one bit.

It’s hard to imagine the same underdog-like implications will stick with Texas in 2024, coming fresh off a Fall Classic win plus with deGrom’s return, however, that shouldn’t matter. Ohtani needs an outlet to perform where winning is a possibility and Texas provides just that.

“I’m aware the Dodgers seem like the favorites to land him, but I’ll depart from that consensus and say he inks with the Rangers for something like $510 million,” CBS Sports’ Dylan Perry wrote in November. “Ohtani has hinted on multiple occasions that winning will be a priority in choosing his destination, and Texas is of course coming off a championship season. They project as contenders for years to come, and their ownership group has been willing spenders in recent years.”

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It’s also worth noting that Mitch Garver — the Rangers’ designated hitter in 2023 — is also a free agent.

Los Angeles Dodgers
For starters, Ohtani wouldn’t have to get acclimated to a new spot.

The Dodgers are among the biggest spenders, linked to nearly every premier free agent any given offseason. They don’t hold back and it’s become evident that Los Angeles is willing to pull whatever trigger to best position its roster for October. Ohtani isn’t used to an organization that does that.

Playing for the little brother of Los Angeles baseball in the Angels, Ohtani constantly has been reduced to a front office incapable of building a postseason contender. Wasting Hall of Fame caliber years while also watching the Dodgers prosper as NL favorites every single season under the LA sunshine must be a tough pill to swallow, right?

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“I’m going to stick with the Dodgers as the favorite,” MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported Friday. “We had them as the favorite a year ago. I understand it isn’t the perfect fit right now because they do need pitching, but let’s not forget, he is still a pitcher. And a year from now, or maybe a year and a half from now, he is going to be back pitching and we expect he’ll be a great pitcher. He is a historic figure.”

It’s also worth mentioning that Ohtani is a big Mookie Betts fan, so merging those two could make for the most dangerous lineup in all of MLB.

Other notable competitors (in no particular order):
— Seattle Mariners
— San Diego Padres
— Los Angeles Angels

Featured image via Jayne Kamin-Oncea/TODAY Sports Images