The San Francisco Giants are planning to spend aggressively in MLB free agency this winter. Unfortunately for the franchise, one of the the aspects that makes it most appealing to fans could also prove costly in a pursuit for Ohtani.
Money isn’t Ohtani’s priority as he chooses his next team. The two-time AL MVP is focused on playing for a championship contender, being surrounded by other All-Stars in the lineup and being in an environment that makes him comfortable without being the star of attention all the time.
- Shohei Ohtani stats 2023: .304/.412/.64, 44 home runs, 102 runs scored
It immediately puts the Giants at a disadvantage compared to clubs like the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers. Ohtani would be everything in San Francisco, the lone star in the Giants’ lineup and he’d be tasked with uplifting the worst lineup in the second half of the 2023 season. However, that’s not the only factor working against San Francisco.
According to Jon Heyman of the NY Post, the Giants’ pursuit of Ohtani in MLB free agency might be hurt by Oracle Park.
It’s always been one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in MLB, even after changes to make it more forgiving to hitters with the fences brought in closer. However, Oracle Park remains one of the worst places for left-handed hitters to hit and that could pose a problem.
- Shohei Ohtani stats at Oracle Park: .000/.200/.000, 2-2 K-BB in 10 plate appearances
“Some believe Ohtani isn’t in it for the money but to show he’s the best… So ballparks may be a factor,”Jon Heyman on Oracle Park’s influence on San Francisco Giants signing Shohei Ohtani
As tracked by StatCast, Oracle Park is the sixth-least friendly MLB stadium to left-handed hitters over the last three seasons. It trails behind Truist Park (Atlanta Braves) and Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles Dodgers), with the Dodgers and Braves both in the mix to sign Ohtani.
That’s not San Francisco’s only problem. Ohtani is prioritizing a team where he can win immediately and compete for a World Series throughout the life of his contract. The Giants have made the playoffs just once since 2017.
While the Giants might be willing to offer Ohtani the largest contract on the open market, the number of factors working against the franchise suggests it’s unlikely he’ll call Oracle Park home anytime soon.