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The Sports Daily > The Giants Cove
Giants Use Unique Strategy to Go After Japanese Superstar Shohei Otani

Just about everyone knows who the number one free agent will be this off-season: twenty-three-year-old Japanese baseball mega-star Shohei Otani.

Once Otani declared his intention to leave Japan’s Nippon Ham Fighters and sign with an American team, virtually every MLB franchise began plotting a path to sign the wildly talented pitcher/slugger.

Shohei Otani’s career stats boarder on the amazing: in five seasons in Japan, his pitching numbers roll out to 534 IP, 614 SO, a 1.081 WHIP and a 2.57 ERA. As an outfielder between pitching starts, Otani has a .287 batting average, an .860 OPS, and a good glove.

Otani’s representatives have strongly hinted that he will want an opportunity to both pitch and hit for whichever MLB team wins his services.

Since there is every indication that Shohei Otani will be a franchise difference-maker, smart teams will do just about anything to sign Otani for 2018.

Enter the San Francisco Giants.

Recently the Giants sent General Manager Bobby Evans and assistant GM Jeremy Shelley to Japan to personally scout Otani. No doubt they’ll rub shoulders with a lot of other MLB front office executives and scouts on the prowl.

But unlike other teams, San Francisco is making it clear they will not do “just about anything” to sign the talented Otani.

In an ineptly-timed interview with the San Francisco Chronicle shortly after GM Evans left for Japan, Giants manager Bruce Bochy declared he just doesn’t see Otani as a two-way player in the National League.

“I don’t think that will work,” Bochy told beat reporter Henry Schulman. “You’re talking more about something that would work in the American League as a DH. There’s a lot of throwing, and wear and tear, and then you have to go out and pitch.”

That should catch Shohei Otani’s eye. And no doubt could potentially shorten the amount of time and money GM Bobby Evans needs to devote to scouting the Japanese superstar.

And what’s all this about D’Backs free agent slugging outfielder J.D. Martinez? He wants to play in right field? Not in AT&T Park he won’t. Now, who’s next…?

5 thoughts on “Giants Use Unique Strategy to Go After Japanese Superstar Shohei Otani

  1. The BIG news here is that Bobby and Jeremy get a free vacation ( complement of the fans ) to a part of Japan. In all likelihood they probably are bringing their wives for some sightseeing. More Giants media manipulation suggesting to fans they are leaving no stone unturned. A non event. Now, a real newsworthy event would be is that they should send Sandoval over to do the scouting….. he might more clearly recognize someone who can hit. Or, for that matter, pitch. All at a minimum major league salary.

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  2. If you write such an article, could you please indicate if the team is interested in him as a pitcher or as outfielder. Such an omission makes article useless, since everyteam is scouting him

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    1. crairic–
      But that’s the point. It is the definition of free agency that the free agent players call the shots, not the teams.

      We know that Otani wants to sign with an MLB team that’s open to him pitching and hitting. So if 10 MLB teams tell him they will only let him pitch, and not hit, then he just blows those teams off. And simply takes offers from the other 20 MLB teams who will let him play both ways.

      Believe me, more than one team will give him exactly what he wants if that’s the only way to sign him. Teams are in no position to dictate squat to free agents.

      To your query to “please indicate if the team is interested in him as a pitcher or as outfielder”– well, that’s the other point.

      The Giants sent their GM to Japan to talk to Otani, but at the same time the Giants manager is telling the media that he doesn’t believe that Otani can pitch and hit.

      So the Giants organization can’t even agree among themselves what their interest is in Otani. That’s the definition of a public clusterfunk.

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    1. shmohawk1–
      See the reply above. Teams can scout Otani any way they want to, but that has nothing to do with which team he signs with.

      Why? Because he’s a free agent, which means that he’s choosing the teams, the teams aren’t choosing him. Otani will pick and choose which offers he considers, and then he’ll decide which team he ultimately signs with.

      Free agency is when teams get on their hands and knees and try to come up with an offer the free agent player wants. Not the other way around.

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