Ohtani or Yamamoto? Who Red Sox should prioritize in pivotal offseason originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
It’s time for the Boston Red Sox to put their money where their mouth is.
New chief baseball officer Craig Breslow acknowledged the club’s need for upgrades, particularly in the starting rotation, during his introductory press conference. Chairman Tom Werner vowed the Red Sox will go “full throttle” this offseason in their pursuit of talent.
If that’s the case, they should be in the mix for arguably the top two names on the free-agent market: two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani and Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Both would bring much-needed excitement to Fenway Park in 2024, but with Ohtani expected to command a record-breaking contract and Yamamoto projected to sign for roughly $200 million, Breslow and Co. will have to pick one star to prioritize.
So, who should it be?
We asked the fans that question and of the 634 respondents, 63.1 percent voted in favor of Ohtani. The other 36.9 percent believe Yamamoto is the more sensible option.
You can only sign one this offseason, who are you taking?
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) November 14, 2023
Those results aren’t surprising. Ohtani is the face of baseball and unquestionably the most talented player in league history. Yamamoto, despite the well-deserved hype surrounding him this offseason, is an unfamiliar name who has yet to prove anything on the MLB stage.
But that doesn’t mean the Yamamoto voters are off base. There’s a solid case to be made that if the Red Sox have to choose between the two, they should focus on signing the 25-year-old right-hander over the soon-to-be two-time MVP.
We evaluate both arguments below, and share our own vote:
The case for Shohei Ohtani
Arguing in favor of Ohtani isn’t a difficult task. All it takes is one trip to his Baseball Reference page to show why he’ll be the most coveted player on the market this winter.
Ohtani is a perennial MVP candidate — he’ll likely win his second MVP award on Thursday — and he may have been in the Cy Young conversation had he stayed healthy in 2023. He finished fourth in Cy Young award voting in 2022.
The three-time All-Star is coming off a ridiculous season in which he slashed .304/.412/.654 with an American League-high 44 home runs and 95 RBI in 135 games. On the mound, he posted a 10-4 record with a 3.14 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP, and 167 strikeouts in 23 starts (132 innings).
Along with his talent, Ohtani will bring incredible fanfare to whichever…