Happy Friday, San Francisco Giants fans.
Some very bad news hit the baseball world this week: Shohei Ohtani is injured. The Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar suffered a torn UCL, and injury that has previously led to him undergoing Tommy John surgery. It very well may lead to it again.
Ohtani the pitcher has been shut down for the year. But Ohtani the hitter — the best hitter in baseball this year — is still playing. It seems he’ll try to play the rest of the year, and it’s worth noting that he played as a designated hitter during the season when he was rehabbing TJ.
Still, it’s a huge bummer for baseball, and it’s a huge bummer for Ohtani. Not only is he an intense competitor who wants to play on both sides, but he was set to blow past the record for largest contract in American sports history.
He’ll still cash in this winter, and will almost assuredly get the largest contract in MLB history, and we still don’t know who it will be with.
But I’ll say this: the Giants odds just got better. I don’t want to at all spin Ohtani’s highly unfortunate injury as a good thing, so let me be clear of that. But I do think the Giants now are more likely to sign him. The biggest favorite to land Ohtani this offseason was the Los Angeles Dodgers, and they’re notoriously risk-averse. Will this make them uninterested in the generational talent and most marketable player alive? Absolutely not. Will it make them hesitant to match the offers other teams dole out? Quite possibly.
The Giants, meanwhile, are not as risk averse as you think. The Giants like to find risk and use it to their benefit. They’ll have plans for Ohtani to remain the best player in the world even if only hitting, and later rejoin the pitching staff ... perhaps as a starter, perhaps as a closer, or perhaps as only an occasional thrower. They’ll find ways that they think he can provide value where other teams are now having question marks.
Is it enough? We have no clue.
In the meantime, heal up, Shohei. The game is better when you’re doing everything.
What time do the Giants play today?
The Giants kick off a series with the Atlanta Braves tonight at 7:15 p.m. PT.