MLB All-Star Game

Kenley Jansen had ‘really good' talk with Shohei Ohtani at ASG

The Red Sox closer put on his recruiting hat at All-Star Week in Seattle.

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The Boston Red Sox only sent one player to the 2023 MLB All-Star Game, but Kenley Jansen represented the team well -- both during and before the game.

The veteran closer struck out the lone batter faced Tuesday night at Seattle's T-Mobile Park, setting down Lourdes Gurriel on three pitches. But Jansen's more important work may have come before the All-Star Game, when he was seen chatting with Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani in the outfield.

Ohtani will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, of course, and there's a slight chance the Angels consider trading him before the Aug. 1 MLB trade deadline. Considering Ohtani is one of the greatest all-around players in the history of the sport -- he leads the majors in home runs (32), OPS (1.050) and total bases (226) and has a 3.32 ERA as a pitcher with 132 strikeouts in 100.1 innings -- the market for his services will be massive.

So, it sounds like Jansen did his best to pitch Ohtani on the merits of coming to Boston.

"Really good. Really good. I can’t say anything, but really good. We’ll see," Jansen said of his conversations with Ohtani on Tuesday, via Audacy's Rob Bradford. "I basically spent a lot of time today talking to him."

In fact, Jansen -- who believes the Red Sox should be buyers at this year's MLB trade deadline -- said Ohtani was one of the first players he sought out after arriving in Seattle for All-Star Week.

"I would love to have him as my teammate, I can tell you that right now," Jansen said. "I admire watching him. That’s the one player I would love to watch every time, especially when he is pitching. … Of course, that’s the first guy I wanted to see today, and this whole trip."

Whether Ohtani-to-Boston is realistic is a different story. The Red Sox almost certainly would have to give up some combination of top prospects Marcelo Mayer and Nick Yorke and talented young big-leaguers Bryan Bello and Jarren Duran to land Ohtani via trade. They'd also likely have to pay him roughly $600 million on his next contract, by far the richest contract in MLB history.

Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom doesn't have a track record of breaking the bank for premium assets, and he may view Ohtani's cost as too steep, especially since it's unclear how long the 29-year-old will continue both hitting and pitching.

Then again, Boston should have the resources to acquire Ohtani, and he'd make the club exponentially more relevant. And while Jansen has only been with the Red Sox for half a season, perhaps his sales pitch was enough to make Ohtani at least consider coming to Boston.

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