The Shohei Ohtani saga is finally over as the two-way star announced on Saturday that he was joining the Los Angeles Dodgers. How close were the SF Giants in these sweepstakes? Unfortunately, not as close as you would have hoped, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post.
SF Giants were on the outside looking in on Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes
The Giants were reportedly one of the five or six teams to be considered finalists for Ohtani. There were rumors circulating earlier this week that the Chicago Cubs were out of the mix, but those reports were never substantiated prior to the signing.
However, Heyman confirms that the Giants and Cubs were in a similar boat. They were finalists, but not truly serious players in that market. The Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, and Toronto Blue Jays were the three finalists in the latter stages of negotiations.
Of course, at one point on Friday, the Blue Jays were believed to be the team to be landing the two-time MVP, but those reports proved erroneous. It is an unfortunate scenario that has played out for the second straight offseason involving a big-time free agent. Last year, it was the Giants and the "Arson Judge" fiasco. You have to hope that the people reporting this information are a little more careful going forward.
The Dodgers and Blue Jays offer a chance to compete that the remaining finalists could not necessarily offer. The Cubs look like a team that is poised to make some noise next season. The Angels would have offered comfort for Ohtani, but they did not make the playoffs once during his six-year stint with the club.
On the other hand, the Giants continue to struggle with recruiting. They did not lose out on Ohtani this offseason. They lost out on him based on decisions made in prior offseasons that have led them to this point. The roster is short on star talent outside of Logan Webb.
The Giants have had one winning season since 2017. They are coming off of a year in which they only won 78 games and fired Gabe Kapler as manager. Ohtani's camp was pretty clear in that he wanted to play for a competitor.
It is tough to compete with the Dodgers' ability to spend. However, there are non-financial components to any free-agent decision such as a team's recent performance, the state of the roster, and the expected impact from the farm system.
Unfortunately, the Giants just cannot compete with other teams in these three areas. They hope that the farm system begins to feed the major league roster more as it began last year, but they have not built a reputation for that in over a decade.
So, the Giants officially did not land Ohtani and were the equivalent of a third wheel on a date. It was always going to be steep odds. I do credit the front office for operating a little more quietly this time around. It felt like the front office and ownership group set themselves up for failure last year by clamoring about how they were going to land a star. For better or worse, the expectations were lower this time around.
They continue to target the top names on the market, but unfortunately, have not built up an organization that is a desirable destination for free agents. A lot of decisions have led us to this point, but I just do not know if it changes until they prove they can create a compelling roster with the farm system first.