The SF Giants expect to be heavy bidders for star two-way player Shohei Ohtani this winter, However, Jon Heyman of the New York Post speculates that Oracle Park could hurt the Giants' chances of landing two-time AL MVP.
MLB insider believes unexpected factor could hurt SF Giants chances in signing Shohei Ohtani
It is no secret that Oracle Park can be especially tough on left-handed hitters with Triple's Alley and a 20-foot brick wall in right field. This is compounded by the cold climate and the brutal winds that often keep balls in the ballpark.
Baseball Savant rates ballparks on a rolling, three-year basis and has placed Oracle Park as one of the tougher parks to hit. On the other hand, it should be an excellent ballpark to pitch in and Ohtani is expected to return to the mound in 2025.
Heyman indicates that money may not be the biggest factor in recruiting the 29-year-old outfielder/pitcher. Playing for a competitive team is a huge factor, but proving that he is the best player in baseball is another factor.
So, Oracle Park might hinder that last goal given how tough it is on left-handed bats. The Giants have not had a 30-homer hitter since Barry Bonds did it in 2004. While that might be a long, long time in baseball terms, the Giants just have not had many power-hitting lefty bats on their roster over the years.
Perhaps, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford are some of the more notable recent left-handed hitters in Giants history, but neither was necessarily considered a power hitter. The same was true for Buster Posey. They were all very good hitters who hit for power, but not power hitters in a traditional sense. Hunter Pence is one of the more recent examples of a more traditional power hitter and he maxed out at 27 home runs in 2013.
Of course, any stadium struggles to keep Ohtani in the park as he blasted 44 home runs in 2023, falling just shy of his career high with 46 home runs set in 2021. The rest of his résumé is well-known as well given that he is a uniquely talented hitter and pitcher. It is no surprise that he has collected two MVP awards and three All-Star nods in his young career.
With the offseason in full swing, the recruiting for Ohtani is expected to pick up speed in the next few weeks. The Giants will be in the mix as one of the few teams who can realistically afford the six-year veteran. Though, they may need to consider a plan to address how the ballpark will not alter Ohtani's numbers all that much.