A couple of days ago, it was reported by Jon Morosi of the MLB Network that the SF Giants were focusing on Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto above all other options. However, Jeff Passan of ESPN (subscription required) paints a different picture, admitting that the Giants' standing in the Ohtani sweepstakes is unknown.
Passan also mentions that the New York Mets, Texas Rangers, and Boston Red Sox were initial suitors for the two-way star. Though, all three teams have bowed out of the running to look at other options.
SF Giants pursuit for Shohei Ohtani "unknown" while 3 teams look elsewhere
With respect to the Giants, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle. It is no secret that they have been involved in the Ohtani talks, but they have been extremely tight-lipped in their pursuit.
Any potential contract talks or recruitment pitches have not been made public. The fact that their effort is unknown does not mean that they are out of the running. It just means that even MLB insiders like Passan are not privy to that information.
Perhaps, this is the better way to approach this offseason. The Giants set themselves up for failure last year with high expectations of landing a star player. That did not exactly come to fruition for a couple of different reasons.
The front office is working a lot quieter this time around. It does feel like there is an intentional effort to underpromise and try to overdeliver. The Giants' pursuit of the 29-year-old star is no secret. They were expected to be involved in his market well before this offseason even began. However, the front office and ownership group made no promises about what to expect. They likely do not know what to expect at this point in the game.
On the other hand, Ohtani and his representatives have wanted discussions to be kept private. In fact, it is believed that he would hold it against a team if any talks were leaked. It is starting to feel like no rumors and whispers will be made public until a final decision is made. When it happens, it could happen without prior warning, unlike many deals in sports.
On a related note, the market for Ohtani is beginning to shrink as teams like the Mets, Rangers, and Red Sox are beginning to look elsewhere. Plus, the Seattle Mariners are not believed to be involved in discussions either.
These are four respectable teams with a lot to offer. For example, the Rangers just won their first World Series title in franchise history and could offer that chance to reach the playoffs that Ohtani has long coveted.
The fact that the market is shrinking improves the odds of the remaining teams. There were only a handful of teams who could realistically afford his contract in the first place. The Giants are one of those few teams, but they will continue to face stiff competition. One way or the other, the Giants will likely continue to work under the radar.