If finishing in second place for a free agent was an Olympic event, the SF Giants would be unstoppable. Unfortunately, that trend continued recently as Yoshinobu Yamamoto admitted that he would have likely joined the Giants if he was not pursued by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
SF Giants finish in second place for a top free agent again again again
According to Dylan Hernández of the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco reminded Yamamoto of Osaka, Japan. It was believed that adding Shohei Ohtani influenced his decision to sign with Los Angeles, but he confirmed that he wanted to be in Los Angeles regardless of the other moves they made this offseason.
The Giants had scouted Yamamoto heavily prior to him being posted by the Orix Buffaloes. They were thought to have an edge early in his posting process, but it became apparent that the 25-year-old pitcher was signing elsewhere after reports of Giants' contigency plans surfaced.
Yamamoto signed with the Dodgers on a 12-year, $325 million pact. He joins a star-studded roster that consists of Ohtani, Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, and Tyler Glasnow. Somehow, excellent everyday players such as Max Muncy and Will Smith get overlooked on a roster that is flush with premium talent.
It stands to reason that the Dodgers still have some work to do on the starting rotation given the number of injuries that some of their younger pitchers have sustained in recent seasons. Even Clayton Kershaw, who is a free agent, is expected to miss the first half of the 2024 season after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery.
The NL West is going to be an extremely tough division with the Dodgers penciled in as the favories. The Arizona Diamondbacks, who knocked out the Dodgers in the playoffs in 2023, are preparing to make some noise in the playoff race next year as well. That leaves a still-talented San Diego Padres squad and the Giants likely fighting for the third spot in the division.
The Giants have made one notable move this winter, signing Jung Hoo Lee to a six-year, $113 million pact. They are still in the market for a frontline starter. If they sign one, they would have a solid front of the rotation with Logan Webb, Alex Cobb, and Kyle Harrison.
That said, the pain of finishing in second place for Yamamoto will not make things any easier for Giants fans. They have been the runner-ups for several notable players over the past 10 years, including Jon Lester, Zack Greinke, Giancarlo Stanton, Bryce Harper, and Aaron Judge.
If you go back even further than that, you will find even more examples like Vladimir Guerrero, Alfonso Soriano, and Carlos Lee. You can add Yamamoto to the long list of second-place finishes by the Giants in free agency.