Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani was the center of attention over the last four days at Fenway Park.
The two-way phenom was swarmed by fans outside the park after Sunday's game. He signed autographs for Red Sox fans in attendance with some even putting their Boston allegiance aside to don Ohtani jerseys.
Ohtani took the mound for his much-anticipated second career start at Fenway on Marathon Monday. But due to multiple rain delays, he was removed after only two innings. The 2021 American League MVP allowed one run but did not allow a hit. He went 2-for-5 at the plate.
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With Ohtani set to become a free agent after the season, there has been plenty of speculation about where he'll be playing in 2024. The Red Sox are among the several teams that could be in the Ohtani sweepstakes next winter, but would they be willing to pay the $ 600 million it likely will take to sign him? Would he even want to play in Boston?
Ohtani reflected on the Fenway experience after Monday's 5-4 Angels win.
“It’s one of my favorite parks, so I always look forward to pitching here," Ohtani said through his translator. "But the conditions didn’t allow me to have fun fully. Other than that I always look forward to pitching here."
That's music to Red Sox fans' ears, though they'll hope the suboptimal weather conditions won't dissuade Ohtani from considering Boston as his next destination. He certainly didn't look thrilled when he hilariously struggled to zip his jacket while on first base.
As of now, the big-spending Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets and San Diego Padres are considered the favorites to land Ohtani next year. Although it will be difficult to outbid those clubs, the Red Sox should do everything in their power to make a competitive offer.