Possible Giants' Shohei Ohtani pursuit causes Hunter Pence to change mind

·3 min read

Pence hilariously changes mind on Giants' pursuit of Ohtani originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

If the Giants want to challenge for the National League West title consistently, inserting a superstar into their lineup will help them go up against the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.

After the Washington Nationals dealt Juan Soto to the Padres, the Giants swung and missed on another star player who was available. Nonetheless, another could come to the trade market depending on what happens in Anaheim.

Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani will be entering the final year of his contract in 2023 and could be on the move this offseason if he rejects a contract extension following another season in which the Angels miss the playoffs.

During the latest edition of NBC Sports Bay Area's "Summer Sunday," former Giants star Hunter Pence spoke about the possibility of San Francisco landing the 28-year-old. Pence was initially against the idea, considering the toll it takes to be a starting pitcher and DH.

"I love Ohtani," Pence told hosts Carmen Kiew and Cole Kuiper. "He's fun to watch, but ... I don't like the two-way thing. I don't think he's going to be able to stay healthy.

"And I'm Mr. Optimist. I just know the toll that takes and he's crazy good. I definitely wouldn't be mad at it but I'm just concerned how ... I'm interested and intrigued to watch from a distance."

Despite being against the idea because of the risk, Pence eventually began talking himself into the idea of seeing Ohtani in a Giants uniform, considering the rotation the team would bolster should San Francisco hold onto Carlos Rodón. The 29-year-old can opt out of the second year of his contract this offseason.

"But the fact that there is a DH makes it really cool," Pence added. "That is a really good question. I hate that I was like I'm not [into it].

"When I'm thinking about putting that much money into the organization that we know and love, our Giants, I want it to be ... I'm really high on [Carlos] Rodón. I want to keep Rodón here. I wanted to keep [Kevin] Gausman here."

Finally, Pence came all around on Ohtani despite initially being cautious. He jumped all in on the idea of San Francisco pursuing the two-way star, whether it's through trade or waiting until Ohtani hits free agency.

"The dudes that are pitching, coming in, grind, do it for you, those guys earned it," Pence concludes. "And Shohei is pitching and hitting. He's earned it. I'm worried about that investment. But he is a huge ... he is a freak athlete, so I'm backing off my 'Totally against it' [stance]. I'm down for that. I'm down for Shohei.

"As I think about it, I'm like, 'You know what, he's one of the best pitchers in the game. He's just DHing.' I trust our training staff. They're really good. I'm down for Shohei."

RELATED: Hunter Pence to be honored on Giants' Wall of Fame before Dodgers game

This offseason likely will determine whether the Angels and Ohtani can secure a long-term contract. However, if he opts to look at greener pastures, then Los Angeles might have no choice but to entertain offers, where the Giants could position themselves to land the former MVP.

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