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Offseason Choose Your Own Adventure - Spurned by Ohtani

Well that wasn’t a shocking result, but ultimately, not everything can go your way.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Introduce Shohei Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani will not be playing for the Red Sox
Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

Hey, it’s been a while. Here’s the story if you need a refresher.

I do not think we need to say this again, but work of fiction. Real life Ohtani is saying many of the same things as fake world Ohtani, but that doesn’t mean Ohtani has leaked into our universe in earnest. Real life events do influence some things.

Alexander Henry’s House - November 25th, 11:15 AM EST

The next day, Henry sent his response and plans for Ohtani to the agent.

Agent - “Thank you for your interest in Shohei. We’ll get back to you within a week or so.”

And that was it. There would be no more that could be done.

Alexander Henry’s Office - December 4th, 5:30 AM EST

Alexander Henry returned to his office early on the morning of December 4th, and saw a voicemail on his in office answering machine. Naturally, he fiddled with the answering machine for a solid hour before he could finally play the message. Susan would not be in until closer to 9:00 AM, after all.

Agent (recording) - “Thank you for your interest in Shohei Ohtani. Unfortunately, Ohtani has decided he wants to play on the west coast, so there will be no further correspondence between us. Multiple teams on the west coast offered Ohtani the chance to both pitch in hit, in both the American and National Leagues, so there seems to be little draw in Boston, which has also had multiple Japanese stars over the years. We’re sorry for this inconvenience, and wish you a happy holiday.”

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Introduce Shohei Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani is going to the Angels. Both in this game, and in real life. Womp womp.
Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

A couple of profanities could be heard from Henry’s office, and honestly, who could blame him. Ohtani was a legitimate talent, and Henry was essentially told there was no chance of signing him, regardless of how much money they pooled together, or what they offered Ohtani. All because they lived on the wrong coast. Such is life.

Alexander Henry’s Office - December 8th, 2:05 PM EST

Henry read his emails in his office, not really expecting to get much of anything done. After all, he had acquired his star player already, and with the Winter Meetings so close, there was no incentive for anyone else to sign early. Suddenly, there was a buzz on the intercom.

Henry - “Yes, Susan?”

Susan - “Twitter is telling me you should turn on the TV.”

Alexander Henry tuned in to the MLB Network, where news had just broken that Shohei Ohtani had just signed with the Los Angeles Angels. Of course, this was disappointing news, but Henry had kind of moved on after the voice mail from a few days ago.

More pressing was the information that the New York Yankees were planning on pursuing J.D. Martinez, in the interest of keeping up with their rivals, who had acquired Giancarlo Stanton. Whether this was wise or foolhardy was anyone’s guess, but at least the front office was showing a little proactivity with trying to continue to contend.

Colorado Rockies v Arizona Diamondbacks
J.D. Martinez is still out there. Waiting.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Henry didn’t think a deal would get done before the Winter Meetings, but it wouldn’t hurt to give Scott Boras a call, and ask how he and his client were doing. Due diligence, after all.

Henry - “Hello? Is this Scott Boras?”

Boras - “Why, yes, may I ask who is calling?”

Henry - “I’m...”

Boras - “I know it’s you, Mr. Henry. I have your contact information stored in my phone. How can I help you?”

Henry - “I was just checking in on you and J.D. Martinez. Hope the holiday season is treating you both well.”

Boras - “We’re doing fine, and I think we’re about to do even better once the Winter Meetings come along. Lot of good offers on the table for J.D., that will keep both of our holidays comfortable.”

Henry - “That’s good to hear. So am I to assume the price hasn’t dropped at all?”

Boras - “Not particularly, no. What offset there is for claims of poor defense, a new market has arisen out of desperation to contend with your team after the Stanton trade.”

Henry - “I see.”

Boras - “For you, because we know you’ve got a big salary commitment in Stanton, and because I know my client wants a World Series ring... we’ll drop the offer to 6/160, just for you.”

Miami Marlins v Arizona Diamondbacks
Gone are the days we can enjoy Giancarlo Stanton in real life. In the sim, however, life must go on. Stanton has a chance to add J.D. Martinez as a dual threat option.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Henry - “I appreciate the generosity. But I have to run it through my financials department, you understand.”

Boras - “Of course. We probably won’t be signing anything until the Winter Meetings, unless we get bowled over, but I know J.D. would love to play for you, and I know I’d love an excuse to take an early vacation this year. Give me a call back if you find these terms amenable! Have a wonderful weekend, ciao.”

Scott Boras hung up, and Alexander Henry set to work.

Henry (over intercom) - “Susan, can you get me the Financial Department? I want to see if there’s any way we can make something work.”

Susan - “Right away, sir.”

Less than 15 minutes later, the heads of the Finance Department had assembled inside Alexander Henry’s office, with tons of spreadsheets and numbers that were stressful to look at.

After an hour long discussion, Henry had had enough.

Henry - “I apologize, but can you cut to the chase? Can we afford to add 26 million dollars in payroll the next six years?”

Head of Finance - “Theoretically, yes, but it’ll hamper your ability to keep guys under contract who have proven to have profitable futures, such as Xander Bogaerts and Drew Pomeranz.”

Henry - “How much financial wiggle room do we have at present?”

Head of Finance - “You’ve added Stanton and his 25 million per year, but lost very little money in return. If you add him to our 116 million dollars in active salary, before factoring in likely arbitration raises, you come to a total of 141 million dollar, before arbitration. Players likely to get significant raises are Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr, Xander Bogaerts, Drew Pomeranz, and Christian Vazquez. Following our prediction models that we stole from MLB Trade Rumors, we’re in line for arb raises of 43.2 million dollars, which excludes Tyler Thornburg who has already agreed to an active contract, and Eduardo Rodriguez, who you traded away. All told, that puts pre-renewal salary at 184.2 million dollars. Then there’s also the deferred salary of Manny Ramirez, and our share of the Pablo Sandoval and Allen Craig salaries. Finally, there’s also Rusney Castillo and his contract to consider...”

San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants
Did you forget about me?
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Henry - “English, please. Just tell me how much money we have. Can we sign J.D. Martinez?”

Head of Finance - “Well, if you are willing to pay the 184.2 million owed to current MLB players, plus the 32 million owed to the above players, in addition to renewal salaries, and the cost of Martinez’s 26 million per year, then yeah, theoretically, sure. But there’s no way to avoid going over the Luxury Tax Threshold at 197 million dollars. You may still turn a profit, in the end, particularly if this team makes it to the World Series, but it’s going to be a lot tighter than it is now.”

Henry - “And if I chose to go the direction of Carlos Santana, instead, I imagine it would be much the same?”

Head of Finance - “You’d still be over the Luxury Tax Threshold, but with less of a penalty, and with what is almost certainly a shorter commitment.”


What should the Red Sox prioritize at the 2017 Winter Meetings? (in this fake world, where we already have Stanton)

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Pursue J.D. Martinez
    (56 votes)
  • 28%
    Pursue Carlos Santana
    (64 votes)
  • 8%
    Add to the bullpen, particularly a lefty option
    (18 votes)
  • 7%
    Probe the starting pitcher market
    (17 votes)
  • 13%
    Attempt to shop various players on the team, in the hopes of improving via trade
    (31 votes)
  • 9%
    Stand pat and enjoy Florida during the winter.
    (21 votes)
  • 7%
    Eric Hosmer
    (17 votes)
224 votes total Vote Now

Fittingly, this poll will close on December 14th, at 10:00 PM EST, the same day the Winter Meetings end in real life.