MLB rumors: Is Red Sox planned hire aimed at luring Shohei Ohtani in free agency?

The Red Sox have a hire planned that will improve working conditions for one player, but potentially also persuade Shohei Ohtani to consider Boston.

May 5, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17)
May 5, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) / Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

We are still a ways away from figuring out where the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes take us this MLB offseason, but we already know to expect that Ohtani's next deal will be monstrous. Ohtani, the first two-way star perhaps ever, is likely to get a record-setting contract.

While the money when its first reported may be mind-boggling, teams can justify it because Ohtani is potentially the equivalent of signing two stars for the price of one since he pitches and bats, both at a high level.

The AL East figures to have plans to get in on the sweepstakes, though it may be difficult to convince Ohtani to depart the West Coast, which positions him closer geographically and in terms of time zones with his home country, Japan.

The Red Sox are planning to make an upgrade to its staff, though, which could very well simultaneously help them pitch to Ohtani.

Red Sox planning to hire a new Japanese translator

Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox are looking to hire a new interpreter for Masataka Yoshida. Yoshida struggled at points this past season and the team believes the communication could be better, with a strong translator an obvious place to look to improve that weakness.

The easy place for the mind to go is to think of Ohtani...

The Red Sox are going to make this hire regardless of if they can land Ohtani. Based on the timing, one would figure they hire someone before free agency, though that's speculation on my part.

Ohtani has his own interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara. Ohtani reportedly has a very strong relationship with Mizuhara, so any team that signs him is likely to hire him in a package deal. An optimistic view would suggest the Red Sox could simply hire Ohtani's interpreter, though doing so may be more complex than it looks on the surface. We don't know what obligations he has to Ohtani or the Angels, and if his own contract sets him up for free agency in-line with Ohtani (or if he is simply an at-will employee free to move on whenever he pleases).

Even if the Red Sox already have a new interpreter on staff for Yoshida, one could justify two if it means landing Ohtani.

One notable detail? Mizuhara worked for the Red Sox previously for Hideki Okajima for several seasons. Perhaps the opening for the Red Sox connects them back with Mizuhara, who could put in a good word with Ohtani for the organization.

The decision to improve inter-language communication for a Japanese player may not be the end-all feature that convinces Ohtani to sign with the Red Sox, but it surely can't hurt, and it shows Ohtani before free agency they're committed to making things comfortable for him and his would-be Japanese teammate. Though it might not be the biggest selling point, if it comes down to the Red Sox and another team, this is one of those items that surely could push things over the finish line for Boston.

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