Happy Monday, San Francisco Giants fans.
We’re a full week into the offseason now, and while we’re probably three or four weeks away from the big free agency moves happening, this figures to be a fairly busy week. Among other things, Rule 5 protections must be in place on Tuesday, while Friday is the deadline for tendering or non-tendering a contract to arbitration-eligible players (though I wouldn’t expect any surprises from the team’s six such players, Austin Slater, Mike Yastrzemski, J.D. Davis, Tyler Rogers, Thairo Estrada, and LaMonte Wade Jr.).
But while that stuff is all fun and important, we’re really waiting for the first big shoe to drop in free agency. And that shoe will likely be Shohei Ohtani, the biggest free agent in MLB history, who will almost surely get the largest contract in American sports history.
Many offseason moves may be put on hold until Ohtani signs, and it sounds like the two-way super-duper-star won’t leave people waiting too long. According to ESPN, many GMs expect Ohtani to choose a team fairly quickly, with some predicting that he’ll sign before the Winter Meetings end on December 6.
The Giants, of course, will try to be heavily involved in the sweepstakes. And while they don’t have as much to offer as other teams in terms of proven winning clubs, it could be that they have more to offer in terms of money.
Indeed, former MLB GM and current The Athletic writer Jim Bowden recently was on MLB Network Radio where he suggested that the Giants might end up putting forth the biggest financial package for Ohtani, saying, “I won’t be surprised if they outbid the Dodgers, I won’t be surprised if they outbid the industry ... I think they’ll be the lead train.”
While that’s good and well, Bowden followed it up by stressing what we all knew and feared: that the general belief is that Ohtani will prioritize winning championships over collecting every last dollar (which is, of course, easier to say when the third or fourth-highest bid will likely still break $500 million).
Unless the Giants can prove to Ohtani that they have a path to contention, they may have to settle for the mild-mannered consolation prize of pushing the price up a little bit for the winning bidder.