Could Giants enter Ohtani sweepstakes? Agent hints at free agency


After failing to land a superstar this winter, could the Giants have a chance at signing the face of baseball next offseason?

It appears increasingly likely after comments made by Shohei Ohtani's agent, Nez Balelo, on Monday, which hinted the Los Angeles Angels' two-way phenom probably will hit the open market after the 2023 MLB season.

"I've always been open to it," Balelo told reporters of a possible long-term extension between Ohtani and the Angels (h/t ESPN). "But there's several layers to this one, and Shohei's earned the right to play through the year, explore free agency, and we'll see where it shakes out."

Whether that means Ohtani re-signs with the Angels or is lured to another team, the price is expected to be lucrative either way -- and the Giants happen to have the coffers to make a pitch.

In 2022, the 28-year-old followed up his 2021 AL MVP campaign with an even better season, slashing .273/.356/.519 with 34 homers, 11 stolen bases and 95 RBI. On the mound, Ohtani pitched to a 19-5 record as the Angels' ace with 219 strikeouts in 166 innings.

When all is said and done, Ohtani's new contract could be in the ballpark of $500 million. He signed a one-year, $30 million Angels contract for the '23 season in October, and Balelo made it sound like the two sides negotiating an extension in spring training is unlikely.

"I've said it before, I'll say it again -- we're taking one day at a time," Balelo said. "I'm not putting the cart before the horse on this one."

The Giants missed out on Aaron Judge this winter, and San Francisco fans watched in real time as the team's Carlos Correa deal fell apart. While the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets are anticipated to be the first knocking on Ohtani's door in free agency, it's likely the Giants won't be far behind. They have the money to do it, and the Bay Area is in desperate need of a baseball superstar.

San Francisco already was linked to Ohtani last summer, when an MLB executive told The Athletic's Jayson Stark that the Giants could be a potential free agency landing spot for the slugging ace.

"I don’t think he’s an East Coast guy,” the executive told The Athletic. “My first instinct is to say Dodgers or Giants. But I actually don’t think he would go to the Dodgers just because it would look like he’s sticking it to the Angels. I could see him going to Seattle. But West Coast. That’s my guess.”

RELATED: Kapler kicks off Giants camp with inspiring message to team

It remains to be seen if Ohtani will hit free agency, but it certainly seems like things are headed that way.

And if he does, expect the Giants to make a push.

Download and follow the Giants Talk Podcast

Contact Us