Logan Webb

Webb recalls believing Giants had landed Ohtani after IG follow

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Shohei Ohtani's free agency was mostly silent, and with a lack of real rumors or images of the game's best player walking in or out of ballparks and meetings, the internet had to find other ways to fill the gaps. 

The most notable flurry came when Ohtani was falsely reported to be on a flight to Toronto, but Giants ace Logan Webb also found himself in the middle of a news cycle. In San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto and other hopeful cities, it became a huge story when Ohtani followed Webb on Instagram. 

On Monday's Giants Talk podcast, Webb explained how he went along for that ride, too. 

Like many MLB players, Webb followed Ohtani on Instagram a few years ago. Early in the offseason, he and his wife, Sharidan, took a Giants Enterprises trip to Hawaii, and as Webb sat in the Honolulu airport, he got a notification on his phone. He quickly showed his wife that Ohtani was now following him. 

"I was like, this is crazy, I know they've been talking to him. I was like, 'I think we got him,'" Webb said. "I was super-excited. I think Farhan [Zaidi] texted me and he was like, 'Congrats on the follow' or something. I was like, 'What do you know?' He didn't respond."

For a few hours, Giants fans were allowed to dream that Ohtani might be trying to connect with a future teammate. Ultimately, Ohtani signed a $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, ending another disappointing recruiting effort for the Giants, but Webb remains on a pretty small list. Ohtani has 7.8 million followers on Instagram but follows just 213 people, and Webb remained even after Ohtani chose a rival. 

For years, Buster Posey was the player who put on the Head of Recruiting jacket in the offseason, and Brandon Crawford did his fair share, too. These days, Webb is the one the front office turns to, and he has told Zaidi before each of the past offseasons that he's ready to help in any way, which often leads to Webb chatting with stars like Aaron Judge or Carlos Correa to tell them more about the clubhouse and playing in San Francisco.

"It's a very interesting process," Webb said, "Because leaving the interviews and when they come for visits, I feel like every time, I have the most hope. I'm like, 'Ahh, they're coming here for sure.' So far I think I've been on one where he did come and it was Jordan Hicks, so I can say I successfully helped with that one, but the rest of them I've been unsuccessful. 

"It does stink. It stinks to go there and talk to guys and like I said, I think I get a little bit of false hope every single time. But it's something I've got to get used to."

Posey used to joke that he had such a poor record in trying to recruit guys like Jon Lester and Ohtani (the first time) that he should stop attending the meetings, but there's certainly value in having a star player around, and Webb will continue to be involved given his stature within the organization and the game. While the Giants fell short on their two biggest pursuits -- Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto -- this winter, they ended up with a strong free agent class, and Webb did benefit from one of the early meetings. One of the meetings put Webb and Bob Melvin on the same flight, so he got to pick his new manager's brain a few months before camp.

"I got lucky. We actually were going for a free agent meeting earlier in the offseason -- it was for one of the guys that signed with the Dodgers -- but I got to sit with him on the plane for two hours, and it was nice," he said. "I had a lot of A's questions for him, of course, but I also got to learn more about him and what he expects of us. It was really cool."

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