The Giants have seemingly signaled their intentions to partake in the Shohei Otani sweepstakes. As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, GM Bobby Evans and AGM Jeremy Shelley each went to watch the 23-year-old Japanese star. While the Giants, like several other teams, would be limited to offering only a miserly $300K bonus to Otani, the organization does have a winning history and the city of San Francisco on offer. In any event, to the extent Otani does consider earnings, he’ll likely be more motivated by his second contract than his first — with increasing speculation focusing on the possibility that teams will discuss early-career extension scenarios in wooing the two-way player.
More from San Francisco:
- President of baseball operations Brian Sabean tells the Chronicle’s Bruce Jenkins that he began having some concerns with the team’s 2017 outlook in Spring Training. Needless to say, it became apparent rather early on in the season that things weren’t headed in a positive direction. Now, says the veteran executive, the club needs to “put a fresh look on things.” Among the needs: “to get younger, more athletic, and improve our defense.” That will be easier said than done, but Sabean says the organization will “have to be very open-minded and aggressive on the trade front” and will “have to be creative, and in some cases, bold.”
- Turning this general approach into specific moves figures to be the real challenge, of course. As Jenkins explains, the club has a variety of difficult player/contract situations on the roster. Interestingly, he reports that skipper Bruce Bochy “would welcome a new look” at first base. While Brandon Belt has never been a major source of home runs and has been limited by unfortunate concussion problems, he has also been a steadily productive batter — posting a 128 wRC+ in over three thousand career plate appearances. Indeed, just last winter the club awarded him with an extension that Jenkins now labels as “burdensome.” Attempting to upgrade, though, may well cost yet more and the likelihood of even achieving improved production seems rather dubious.
- If the Giants really decided they needed to move Belt, he’d draw plenty of interest due to his well-rounded offensive profile, though surely other organizations would be wary of the health concerns. Though he did just go on the 60-day DL — effectively ending his season — Belt was able to do some running on the field yesterday. He tells Janie McCauley of the Associated Press (Twitter link) that he has finally “turned a corner” and “just started feeling good,” which is certainly good to hear given the nature of his injury. Hopefully, Belt will be able to recover fully over the offseason.
- Sabean also chatted about some other topics of interest with Jenkins. He had kind words for Evans, calling him “driven and patient” while also acknowledging that his successor has overseen a difficult turn in the team’s competitiveness. And the veteran exec also touched upon the always interesting matter of weighing statistical analysis and scouting, crediting the importance of numbers while also offering a colorful explication of his belief in the importance of performing in key situations.