If the Giants' 2023 MLB season had gone the way many initially thought it would, the upcoming offseason -- specifically Shohei Ohtani's free agency -- would be on the minds of many San Francisco fans at this point in the season.
The Giants not only have exceeded expectations, but also Ohtani's monster season has made it almost impossible not to look forward to what's to come this winter.
The New York Post's Jon Heyman reported Friday night that some around the league see three teams as the biggest players for Ohtani's services this offseason.
“Two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani hasn’t revealed his intentions, but some see three teams as most likely to vie for baseball’s best player, maybe ever: Dodgers, Giants and the incumbent Angels," Heyman wrote. "(There’s a belief he isn’t all about money and will get the biggest contract ever anyway, and that he wants to win and may prefer the West Coast).”
Heyman cites the Giants' recent willingness to spend big on marquee free agents as one of the reasons San Francisco is believed to be a major player for Ohtani's services.
“The Giants have the $360M left from the Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa pursuits and are in excellent shape financially (and maybe in even better shape with the A’s almost sure to be leaving for Las Vegas),” Heyman adds.
The 2021 AL MVP already was expected to become the highest-paid athlete in North American professional sports history, but with the way his contract season has gone, the projected dollar amount has skyrocketed.
In 82 games as a hitter this season, Ohtani is batting .310/.396/.674 with a whopping 30 home runs and 67 RBIs in 316 at-bats.
In 16 starts as a pitcher, Ohtani is 7-3 with a 3.02 ERA and 127 strikeouts to just 39 walks in 95 1/3 innings pitched.
The reason that many believe Ohtani will receive an otherwordly contract this offseason, is because his performance as a hitter and pitcher, if they were viewed individually from one another, would net him a top-of-the-market contract in both position markets. Roughly anywhere from $30 to $40 million annually for each. Simply put, his value per season as such a unique player could be anywhere from $60-80 million. Over the span of a possible 10-plus year contract, Ohtani realistically could receive $600-plus million.
Will the Giants -- or any other serious suitor -- be willing to pay more than half a billion dollars for one player? We will find out in five or six months.