Thoughts on the Giants missing out on Stanton and Ohtani + Where do they go from here?
After an unbelievably disappointment season, the San Francisco Giants came into the offseason looking for ways to get back on the road to contention, and fast. They threw their hat in the ring with the two biggest names on the market, Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani. The Giants’ priorities heading into the offseason were outfield defense, finding an everyday third baseman, and bolstering the bullpen. Now, Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani did not directly address any of those issues, but both of those two players were too good and could have far too much of an impact to pass up.
The whole situation proved to be pretty frustrating for Giants fans. The rumors surrounding Giancarlo Stanton swirled for months, but all of a sudden, it became clear that he would not be a Marlin next season. He was owed far too much money for far too long, and it would handcuff the new ownership group for the next decade if they did not trade them. The two teams that immediately leapt out of their seats and put all the chips on the table were the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants. The problem was, Stanton was given a full no-trade clause in his record-setting deal with the Marlins, so he could veto any trade, so he was in much more control over the whole situation than the Marlins were. The Cardinals and the Giants both submitted trade offers that the Marlins agreed to, which mean that the only thing standing between the deal was the approval of Stanton. He met with both the Giants and Cardinals, but ultimately decided that he did not want to play for either team, and he wanted a chance to win a championship as soon as possible. He told the Marlins that he would accept a trade to four teams: the Dodgers, Astros, Cubs, and Yankees. All four of the teams that appeared in the ALCS and NLCS last season.
After dealing with the fact that we would not have the reigning NL MVP on our team, Giants fans had to deal with a new potential nightmare, Giancarlo Stanton patrolling right field for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers were lingering throughout the whole process, and towards the end the Giants executives said that they viewed the Dodgers as their primary competition for the slugger. Ultimately, nothing materialized between the Dodgers and Marlins, and Stanton found himself on a flight to New York to join the Evil Empire, the New York Yankees.
I mean, I would have preferred if Stanton joined the Giants, obviously, but of the four teams that Stanton wanted to go to, I am ecstatic that he is not a Dodger. In the days following the trade, it became clear that Stanton could never really see himself as a Giant, being that he grew up in Los Angeles as a Dodger fan, which makes sense, Brandon Crawford feels the same way about the Dodgers. The Giancarlo to San Francisco rumors seemed too good to be true, but that’s because it was. As more time passes from the deal with the Yankees, more details get revealed about how the whole situation played out. According to numerous reports on twitter, the Marlins told Stanton that if he did not accept a trade to the Cardinals or Giants, that he’d be a Marlin for life, but Stanton called their bluff, and eventually got what he wanted. The process was so drawn out for a reason, it was because Stanton was using the Giants and Cardinals to increase pressure on the four teams he wanted to play for, and he essentially just used the Giants and Cardinals as a pawn in his chess match with the Marlins.
As mad and upset as I want to be at Bobby Evans and the rest of the front office for not getting this done, it has become clear that there was no way that Stanton was going to be a Giant, and the situation was out of their control.
Now, the Shohei Ohtani situation is different, and was something that the MLB had never seen before. Ohtani made it clear right off the bat that money would not factor into his decision, because he knocked the Yankees of his list first. In fact, he knocked basically all teams on the East coast off his list right away, and eventually, he was down to seven finalists. The finalists were the Mariners, Rangers, Angels, Cubs, Dodgers, Padres, and the Giants. It was widely speculated that the Mariners were the favorite, and they made it clear that they were all in by trading to acquire more money to try and lure Ohtani to Seattle. Now, I know what you’re thinking, why add more money to sign the guy if he made it clear that money was not the priority? It’s a good question, and it did not work out, as the Mariners did not land Ohtani.
Shohei Ohtani ended up picking the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which I mean, is cool, at least it wasn’t the Dodgers. I’m not going to spend much time trying to get into Ohtani’s head and figure out why he wanted to play in Anaheim, he made it clear from the beginning that he was going to be unconventional about this, and I mean, I thought he was going to sign with the Padres.
So, the San Francisco Giants missed out on both of the biggest names of the offseason, and that sucked, but it’s time to move on. Where do I see the Giants going from here? I see them going into the Winter Meetings and making a couple deals to address the outfield defense and the third base situation. Ideally, the Giants would come out of the meetings with either Jackie Bradley Jr. or Andrew McCutchen to man center field for the upcoming year. Jackie Bradley Jr. would be a long-term solution, whereas McCutchen could serve as a bridge to Stephen Duggar. Now third base is a cloudier situation, where it's harder to see a realistic target for the Giants. Moustakas is a good player, but he would cost the Giants draft picks. An interesting trade would be for Evan Longoria. The Rays are looking to cut down the payroll, and he would be a candidate to be cut loose. He is a very good defensive third baseman, who has a .270 career batting average, and has hit over 20 home runs nearly every season. He has averaged 160 games played for the last five years, and would bring the stability to third base that the Giants have lacked since Pablo Sandoval left for the Red Sox.
If there was anything to feel good about from the Stanton and Ohtani deals, it’s that at least neither of them is donning the Dodger blue next year. It sucks that the Giants missed out on both of the biggest names of the offseason, but they still have a chance to contend next year, and it all starts with this week’s Winter Meetings.