3 reasons why the SF Giants should try to sign Shohei Ohtani despite his injury

Shohei Ohtani's latest injury certainly wasn't good news, but the Giants should target him in free agency anyways.
Aug 23, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17)
Aug 23, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
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Even with surgery, Ohtani should still be able to contribute at the plate

There is no denying that the biggest allure of signing Ohtani was that he was both an elite hitter as well as a frontline starting pitcher all rolled up in one player. Assuming that Ohtani does indeed need his second Tommy John surgery, he will most certainly not pitch in 2024 and there is a realistic chance that his days as a starting pitcher could be numbered.

However, it is Shohei's bat that should keep the Giants interested in signing him. The Giants have been looking for a marquee bat for a while now and over the last three seasons (including 2023), Shohei has averaged a .962 OPS while clubbing 124 home runs. Ignoring his pitching production completely, this is still the type of hitter than does not hit the market often and who should interest the Giants.

The elephant in the room, of course, is how long Shohei's injury will keep off the field altogether. However, Bryce Harper's recovery from his own Tommy John surgery should provide a certain level of optimism as he starting hitting again less than six months after TJS. Shohei, too, has already made a quick return to the plate in his career after elbow surgery his first time under the knife.

The rules could be different for Tommy John #2 hence the importance of the Giants doing their medical due diligence with Ohtani to see what they are comfortable with, but there is a lot of evidence to suggest that Shohei could still be a very valuable bat for most of the 2024 season even if surgery is in the cards.

That brings us back to the Giants' decision calculus this offseason. A quick look at the bats available in free agency this offseason shows a rather large gap between Ohtani and everyone else. This is a Giants' team that needs offense and star power. Even if Ohtani never pitches again, he is still a guy that should stay high on the Giants' wish list.