SAN FRANCISCO — As the Giants continued to wait for Giancarlo Stanton to make a decision, they switched gears for a few hours Monday and put the full-court press on their other offseason target.
Multiple sources told NBC Sports Bay Area that the Giants sent a large contingent to meet with Ohtani on Monday afternoon in Los Angeles. They are the first known team to sit down face to face with the Japanese superstar, who was posted last week and intends to be a two-way player next season. The Giants sent the majority of their front office, including Larry Baer, Brian Sabean, Bobby Evans and Jeremy Shelley. Bruce Bochy was also sent to the meeting, and a source said the Giants called Buster Posey in to help with the recruiting.
Per multiple reports, Ohtani narrowed his field over the weekend, focusing on seven teams. The list is heavy on the West Coast, with the Giants joined by the Dodgers, Angels, Padres and Mariners. The Cubs and Rangers are the other two teams that will get a meeting with Ohtani.
The Giants have been on Ohtani since he was a high school star, and they made him a focus late in a disappointing season. Evans and Shelley visited Japan in October to scout Ohtani in person. When Ohtani officially became available on Friday, Bochy told NBC Sports Bay Area that a plan was presented to use Ohtani as a top-of-the-rotation starter and a part-time outfielder.
“This guy is special,” Bochy said on Friday. “I see him as somebody who could be a starter and it’s possible you’re also looking at 300 or 400 at-bats. It’s going to make it a little easier next year with our days off, looking at the new schedule, to where he could play even more because he’ll get that additional rest. That’ll make it easier, too.”
San Francisco Mayor Lee died on Tuesday, to the surprise of many.
In a letter to his friend, San Francisco Giants legend Willie Mays, wrote the following, via The San Francisco Chronicle:
I can't believe that Ed Lee is gone. I am as shocked as I am saddened. Mayor Lee was just always there. I'd meet him on the street outside of the ballpark, or he'd be at home plate joining me in a ceremony like the one we had for Tony Bennett. When my wife passed, he immediately came up with the idea for the Mae Mays Softball Tournament for Foster Youth, honoring her work with the City and giving the City departments a way to have fun. He was there at the World Series parades leading us in cheers. He gave me a cable car for my 85th birthday and made sure that it was number 24. Just always there.
And, Ed Lee was a really, really good guy. Mayor Ed Lee was, too. He went about the business of running this city with a positive force. He always had a smile and an upbeat attitude. I never saw him downhearted. He really was a mayor who got things done.
I once told another mayor of San Francisco, Dianne Feinstein, that I didn't know how politicians survive in their world. They have to try to make everyone happy. I couldn't do it, I know that. If I had wanted to make everyone happy, I wouldn't have been a ballplayer, I'd have sold hot dogs!
Ed Lee wasn't your normal politician. He didn't have anything to sell. He just worked hard for the City and the people he loved. And, we are lucky to have had him.
To his family, I want to extend my heartfelt condolences. There is little I can say to offer you comfort, except that I will miss him, too.
So long my friend,
Mayor Lee was 65 years old.
ORLANDO — The Giants had a trade in place for Giancarlo Stanton a couple weeks ago, so clearly the Marlins have found players in their system that they would like to deal for. But that doesn’t seem to be helping the front office now that Marcell Ozuna seems readily available.
Ozuna is one of several outfielders the Giants have checked on in recent weeks in a bid to add athleticism and power to their lineup, but they don’t have high hopes. General manager Bobby Evans said the bigger field for Ozuna’s services “really negates anything” the Giants agreed to during the Stanton talks, and added that proposals went back to “square one.”
Per sources familiar with the earlier discussions, the Marlins — looking to offload about $250 million of Stanton’s deal — agreed to take back two prospects and a big league player with a salary the Giants needed to move to stay under or near the luxury tax line. It’s believed that big leaguer was Denard Span, and the prospects were not in the top five on the Giants’ list.
But Ozuna would cost the Giants prospects that are much higher on their list, and if this deal comes down to prospects, the Giants will be outgunned. For that reason, the St. Louis Cardinals were the lobby favorites to land Ozuna at the winter meetings.
Ozuna hit 37 homers and won a Gold Glove last season, so he fills every outfield need the Giants have. Christian Yelich would fill those needs too, but he’s not known to be available. It’s also unclear if Billy Hamilton truly is. The Giants checked in on Hamilton this week but there’s little traction in talks with the Reds, who would have to be overwhelmed to trade a popular player. The Giants have also spoken to the Brewers about their young outfielders, and there might be a better chance with that NL Central club, but nothing was imminent as of Tuesday.
As for players who are already on the roster, Evans said the staff is confident that Austin Slater’s 2017 debut was no fluke. Slater will enter camp with a shot to win a fourth/fifth outfielder job, and perhaps more. The Giants believe he can handle all three outfield spots, but he seems ticketed for mostly right field work.