SAN FRANCISCO -- As the Giants continue to wait for a resolution to the Giancarlo Stanton chase, they may soon find themselves bidding on another superstar talent they have long coveted.
According to multiple reports, Major League Baseball, the Players Association, and the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization agreed to a new posting system that should allow Shohei Ohtani to be made available in about 10 days. Joel Sherman of the NY Post reported that MLB owners must ratify the agreement next Friday and Ohtani would then be posted that day or the following day.
The Giants have made no secret of their desire to jump feet-first into that process, and general manager Bobby Evans and assistant GM Jeremy Shelley visited Japan in September to scout Ohtani, a potential two-way star. Ohtani wants to be a starter and a hitter in the big leagues, as he was in Japan, and after watching tape of the 23-year-old, Bruce Bochy said he would be on board.
"He's good," Bochy said after a game at Dodger Stadium late in the season. "I absolutely would play him every day."
There has been little clarity over the past two months as MLB teams have waited for the negotiations to play out. Per Sherman, there will be new posting rules in future years but Ohtani will operate under the old system. That limits the Giants to a $300,000 bonus because they went over their spending limit in 2015, but club officials don't believe that will disqualify them. Very little is known about Ohtani's preferences, but by coming to the United States in 2017, he is potentially forfeiting a $200 million deal as a free agent. That alone is enough to validate the fact that the Giants can safely chase Ohtani, knowing that the signing bonus won't be a deal breaker.
Update (10:30 p.m. PT): The Giants offered former top prospect Christian Arroyo as part of a package to the Orioles for Manny Machado, but the two sides could not come to an agreement, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
After the Giants' 98-loss season, the front office highlighted three areas they need to address -- center field, the bullpen and third base.
The team believes the bullpen willl be bolstered with a healthy Will Smith and Mark Melancon. In center field, they have reached out to the Reds on the availability of speedster Billy Hamilton.
Looking at the hot corner, one of the best players in the league may be on the block in a trade.
According to Dan Clark of The Big Leagues Daily, the Giants are one of the teams who have made an offer to the Orioles for Manny Machado. The catch is, Machado becomes a free agent after the 2018 season.
Acquiring Machado would take a haul for one guaranteed season of a superstar. Several teams have asked for Giants top prospect Heliot Ramos in trade discussions, sources tell Insider Alex Pavlovic.
Machado, 25, hit .259 with (a career low) with 33 home runs in 2017. He's a three-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove winner and is a .279 career hitter with 138 home runs in six seasons.
The Orioles selected Machado No. 3 overall in the 2010 MLB Draft.
ORLANDO — It doesn’t sound like the Giants will fly home with any fresh faces in the fold, but it’s possible that a familiar one will be locked up soon.
General manager Bobby Evans said the front office is “actively pursuing Nick Hundley and hopes (to) get that done.” Hundley said at the end of the season that he wanted to return for another year in San Francisco, and the Giants have put a priority on locking up a quality bat as Buster Posey’s backup.
Hundley’s first season with the Giants included far more at-bats than expected and he took advantage of them. The 34-year-old had nine homers and 23 doubles in 101 appearances. He was just about an everyday player down the stretch as Posey moved to first base after Brandon Belt’s season-ending concussion, and at times the Giants felt Hundley was one of their few power bats.
There was some thought that Hundley might find an everyday job elsewhere, but that apparently hasn’t developed. The Giants will be happy to have him back for multiple reasons. Hundley improved defensively over the course of the year and proved to be a valuable addition in the clubhouse, providing leadership for a group that often looked lost at sea. In late September, Hundley was given the prestigious Willie Mac Award.