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Giants miss out on Ohtani, continue OF search

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants missed out on Shohei Ohtani, the multi-talented Japanese star who is headed to play for the Angels, according to his agent. But the sting of losing the opportunity to obtain such an intriguing performer wasn't exceedingly sharp.

Ohtani, the pitcher/outfielder who considered the Giants among seven teams in free agency, surely would have been entertaining. However, he was far from a necessity.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants missed out on Shohei Ohtani, the multi-talented Japanese star who is headed to play for the Angels, according to his agent. But the sting of losing the opportunity to obtain such an intriguing performer wasn't exceedingly sharp.

Ohtani, the pitcher/outfielder who considered the Giants among seven teams in free agency, surely would have been entertaining. However, he was far from a necessity.

The Giants seemed prepared to add Ohtani to their starting rotation. Yet that area is considered a potential asset, not a weakness, with Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija providing stability, and Chris Stratton showing promise. San Francisco tied for fourth in the Major Leagues with 82 quality starts in 2017.

Obtaining Ohtani might have enabled the Giants to trade one of their high-salaried starters to ease the payroll crunch. The Giants face the prospect of paying into the Competitive Balance Tax for the fourth consecutive year. Cueto is scheduled to earn $21 million per year through 2021; Samardzija is due $18 million per year through '20.

Video: Haft on possible reasons why Giants missed on Ohtani

Had the Giants concentrated on using Ohtani as an outfielder, their search for quality and depth at the three positions likely would have continued. He wasn't the be-all and end-all to their outfield issues.

Hunter Pence and Denard Span spent time on the disabled list in 2017, and both will be eligible for free agency after next season. Chris Shaw, the organization's top power-hitting prospect, is being converted from first base to left field and can be expected to lack defensive polish. A competent center fielder is needed as a caretaker for the position until rookie Steven Duggar is ready to handle the spot full-time.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants