The Shohei Ohtani saga finally came to an abrupt conclusion on Saturday. However, it was not the conclusion that SF Giants fans had hoped for as Ohtani himself announced that he would be signing with the division rival Los Angeles Dodgers.
SF Giants nightmare comes true as Shohei Ohtani signs with division rivals
Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that his contract will be for 10 years and $700 million. It will include significant deferrals to allow the Dodgers to spend in the near term and will represent the largest contract in sports history. Unfortunately, the Dodgers may not be done.
The Giants were considered one of the finalists along with the Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs, and the incumbent Los Angeles Angels. For a long time, Ohtani's camp had reiterated his desire to play competitive baseball after missing the playoffs for six straight seasons with the Angels.
It is hard to compete with not just the financial strength of the Dodgers, but the non-financial component of playing competitive baseball year after year. The Dodgers have won the NL West in 10 of the last 11 seasons and they seem poised to continue that trend.
Los Angeles has been prepared to add the two-way star for over a year. They cut costs last offseason, which was seen as an odd occurrence given that their ownership group has continuously spent to put the best product on the field. This was seen as a sign of having a lean year in preparation for eventually landing Ohtani. That came to fruition on Saturday.
The star-studded lineup will consist of MVP-caliber players such as Ohtani, Mookie Betts, and Freddie Freeman. Will Smith seemingly gets overlooked as one of the better catchers in baseball and Max Muncy remains an offensive force. That said, the rotation still needs a lot of help due to injuries and potential losses through free agency.
For the Giants, they will pivot to Yoshinobu Yamamoto. They had been targeting both Ohtani and Yamamoto this winter with the hopes of finally landing a star player. At this point, they cannot control what division rivals do, but they can control how they respond.
What that means is doing everything they can to finally land a star player. They have been trying for years and recent struggles are making it more difficult to recruit. Winning the NL West might be out of the question for the foreseeable future, but six teams reach the playoffs. There is still a chance for them to be a playoff-caliber team but they have to take risks again.
The current roster is just not good enough to compete with teams like the Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks, who reached the World Series in 2023. The front office and ownership group has to prove that it is committed to winning. They have not shown it nearly enough recently, but that trend needs to change.