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What do the Giants do next after missing out on Shohei Ohtani?

San Francisco is left empty-handed after the biggest free agent in the history of the sport signed with the rival Dodgers. Now what?

Cody Bellinger of the Chicago Cubs smiles in a game against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field on July 19, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Matt Dirksen/Getty Images

In the end, it was the Los Angeles Dodgers all along. We were beginning to doubt, but the opportunity to sign with one of the sport’s glamour franchises, remain on the West Coast and make more money than god were simply too much for the two-way phenom to pass up. L.A. has World Series dreams dancing through their heads, arguably the best player the sport has ever seen in tow. For the other rumored finalists, meanwhile, it’s time to pick up the pieces after a devastating emotional roller coaster over the last 12-18 hours.

One of those finalists? The Giants, who at various points this offseason seemed like not just contenders but potentially leaders in the Ohtani sweepstakes. San Francisco remains in desperate need of a splash — both for on-field reasons and to finally establish an identity as a franchise after years of near-misses in free agency. We’d forgive fans by the Bay if they’ve yet to reach the acceptance phase yet. But 2024 is coming now matter what, and Farhan Zaidi and Co. still have plenty of time and money to spend this winter. Where can they improve a club stuk in neutral? Let’s break it down.

What should Cubs do next this offseason?

Sign Cody Bellinger

San Francisco’s biggest needs are 1) a big name and 2) a center fielder. As it happens, the best remaining hitter on the market is both, and he played with Zaidi for years with the Dodgers. He’s coming off a year in which he slashed .307/.356/.525 with 26 home runs and 97 RBIs in 2023, and he’s just the sort of outfielder whose defense would thrive in spacious Oracle Park. At this point, though, the Giants’ need to land Bellinger goes beyond the numbers. They need to convince themselves and everyone else that they can be a destination for players around the league.

(Of course, if the Bellinger negotiations get too out of pocket, a trade with the Rays for Randy Arozarena would also work.)

Get Logan Webb a running mate

While the Giants have plenty of rotation depth, they’re a little light on pitchers with a chance to go six, seven or even eight innings every time out — especially with Alex Cobb out for the start of the season as he recovers from hip surgery. Logan Webb put forth a heroic effort in 2023, but he can’t do it alone, and Zaidi needs to find another pitcher who will give him 180-200 above-average (or better) innings. Yoshinobu Yamamoto would be the preferred target for a lot of reasons, but he’s just about everyone’s preferred target, with bidding expected to climb up near $300 million when his posting fee is included. Corbin Burnes is a Northern California native, however, and would cost prospects rather than money — with the chance to sign him long-term down the line. (Dylan Cease and Shane Bieber would also fit the bill here.)

Get deeper (and more athletic)

The Giants got caught flat-footed last year, both when they missed out on Aaron Judge and when the Carlos Correa deal fell apart due to medical concerns. With Ohtani off the market, the Hot Stove will start well and truly picking up, and San Francisco can’t make the same mistake twice. Mitch Garver as a DH option and bat-first compliment to defensive wizard Patrick Bailey? Sure. Amed Rosario as middle-infield depth? You bet. The Giants were sunk by simply handing too many innings and at-bats to replacement-level options last year, so fleshing out the roster better this time around is a must.