The San Francisco Giants’ No. 1 free agent target this winter is Shohei “Max” Ohtani, 29, who is considered the favorite to land Lee Jung-hoo, 25. For the first time in Major League Baseball history, the Giants are so aggressive that they are willing to bet more than $500 million (about 660 billion won).
MLB.com reported on Dec. 12 that Ohtani is San Francisco’s No. 1 offseason signing, based on a report by the San Francisco Chronicle on Dec. 9. Agents say that San Francisco, located on the West Coast, is a natural fit for Ohtani.
The article’s author, John Shea, said, “Many see the rival Los Angeles Dodgers as the frontrunners for Ohtani, but San Francisco has the financial resources to be a top contender. I think they can overpay, even if the final contract is well over $500 million,” indicating that San Francisco will not be outbid.굿모닝토토
The Giants were also aggressive in free agency last winter. It offered free agent slugger Aaron Judge (New York Yankees) a Yankees-matching $360 million contract, but failed to land him. Carlos Correa (Minnesota Twins) agreed to a 13-year, $350 million deal, the most ever for a shortstop, but the deal was canceled after a medical exam revealed a problem with his right ankle.
Even though neither Judge nor Correa were signed, San Francisco’s deep pockets were evident, and it could be used to invest in Ohtani. After making the postseason just once in the last seven years (2001), the Giants are turning a corner under new manager Bob Melvin, and there’s no trump card more powerful than Ohtani.
According to Shea, the Giants are preparing a “full-court press” to sign Ohtani. The market is looking at a minimum of $500 million as the baseline for Ohtani’s contract, with the possibility of it going as high as $600 million. The previous major league contract was a 12-year, $426.5 million extension for outfielder Mike Trout, who signed with the Los Angeles Angels in March 2019. Ohtani is expected to surpass Trout’s price tag.
The Giants are poised to go all-in on Ohtani, but they’re still interested in Lee, who they’ve been watching closely, and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, 25, the best pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball. The Giants have done a tremendous amount of research on both players and are preparing to make an early bid. President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi has publicly acknowledged the Giants’ interest in both players, indicating that they will be in the running.
However, Ohtani is the top priority, so signing him will have an impact on Lee and Yamamoto. If San Francisco does land Ohtani, it will likely be difficult to spend a lot of money on either player. Lee’s price tag is expected to be at least $50 million, while Yamamoto’s is expected to be in the $200 million range, the highest ever for an Asian player.
There is a possibility that Ohtani will make a quick decision before the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee, next month. If he decides on a new team quickly, the paths of Lee and Yamamoto will become clearer.