The Los Angeles Angels have decided to pull Shohei Ohtani off the trade market. San Francisco Giants fans are no doubt highly disappointed. Looking at this and acting like all hope is lost would be easy. But we must take a step back and look at the overall picture. You can’t make a judgment from an event by itself when you isolate it from reality. So sit back and relax. Things are better than they seem.
The 2023 Trade Market
The Giants’ Competition
The Giants’ dream scenario would be where Ohtani joined their team and pushed them to a playoff spot. There likely isn’t one Giants fan who couldn’t work up a picture of Ohtani being the hero in the World Series. You could see him in a Giants’ uniform running the bases after a 500-foot grand slam or getting high-fives all around in the dugout after a stellar pitching performance. This was possible. We’ll never know if it would have happened.
But there is an ugly side to all of this. Suppose the Angels had traded Ohtani, but the Giants were not recipients? There was a terrifying competitor. It turned out to be none other than the Los Angeles Dodgers. Nobody could be more pumped to make a strong playoff push than them. Over the last decade, they’ve dominated the NL West, winning eight straight titles from 2013-2020. And then they retook the West in 2022. If anyone’s going to be motivated, it’s the Dodgers. They have established buyers, and that status likely will stay the same in the foreseeable future.
So Ohtani could have stayed in LA even if he was no longer playing for the Angels. Just imagine if the Dodgers got him. All the things we admire him for could have gone against the Giants.
The Farm System Won’t Be Depleted
Ohtani’s presence or absence on the Giants’ roster was only half the cruciality at best. Thinking back to the Giants’ painful postseason defeat in 2021 strengthens that conclusion. Another postseason defeat at the hands of the Dodgers cannot happen, period.
Who would the Giants have needed to trade to land Ohtani? He certainly wouldn’t have come cheap. Agonizing decisions always have to be made at the trade deadline. But this particular trade market was about to create something exceptional.
Make no mistake. The best scenario would still have been for the Giants to land Ohtani. But we may look on the positive side. The best step for the Giants now is to turn all of their attention toward other candidates on the trade market.
The Giants’ Postseason Objective
The trade deadline is here. Plenty of other options on the trade market, and the Giants must be ready to jump on them. The roster can be improved, which is critical to a successful postseason run. A lesson can be learned from the Angels’ decision. Admit it. With a winning record, they did exactly right. One of the keys to successfully managing a baseball team is having the courage to push for it when it’s time to contend. The Angels have decided that it is time to make a push. Never a better time than now, when they’re in their last year with Ohtani.
Let’s hope that the Giants keep up that same attitude. They must do more than just rebuild year after year. It is time for them to make a World Series push, and we’ll soon find out their proper level of commitment to that objective.
Main Photo Credits: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Players Mentioned: Shohei Ohtani,