Life isn't great for Los Angeles Dodgers fans at the moment, but at least they're not anywhere near down bad as San Francisco Giants fans, who haven't enjoyed a single thing since 2014 -- unless you want to count a fluke 107-win 2021 season that ended with a loss to LA in the NLDS.
The Giants, fresh off yet another sub-.500 season, fired manager Gabe Kapler and are once again entering an offseason of relative turmoil. They need to change this roster with more than just the Mitch Hanigers, Ross Striplings and Michael Confortos of the world, but former Dodgers executive Farhan Zaidi seemingly can't bring himself to do it.
He couldn't lure Aaron Judge. He backed out on Carlos Correa. He let Kevin Gausman go. In hindsight, it was smart to let Kris Bryant and Carlos Rodón depart, but he also could've capitalized on trading Rodón at the 2022 deadline and didn't.
It's been a whole lot of ineffective roster patchwork from Zaidi during his time in San Francisco, and perhaps his regime is next to be shown the door if things don't change, and fast, which could endanger the Dodgers this offseason.
Zaidi has quickly pivoted this offseason, taking his sights off manager Bob Melvin at the moment due to his uncertain future with the San Diego Padres, and has left for Japan in what's believed to be an "aggressive" pursuit of star pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
Dodgers Rumors: Giants' abrupt pivot to affect LA's Yoshinobu Yamamoto chase?
There are plenty other starting pitching options out there for the Dodgers to focus on, but Yamamoto is viewed as the prize because of his age and impressive success in NBP. LA also has a history of recruiting in Asia, so there were hopes they'd tap into that plentiful well, especially after seeing Kodai Senga seamlessly transition to MLB with the Mets this past season.
Though Yoshinobu might command $200 million or more in free agency (plus a posting fee), there's arguably no better bang for the Dodgers' buck since he'll be entering his age-25 season come 2024, which leaves a lot of his prime right in front of him. The alternatives (Blake Snell, Aaron Nola, Jordan Montgomery, Eduardo Rodriguez and others) are certainly appealing, but some might be just as costly with far more mileage on their arms.
The Dodgers losing out on Yamamoto wouldn't be the end of the world, but having him reside in the NL West as their rival for years to come isn't what Andrew Friedman and Co. want.
There are a few silver linings here, however. The Giants are a mess. They have nothing going for them since the 2015 season that would appeal to a high-profile free agent breaking into MLB like Yamamoto. And do we trust Zaidi is going to give the highest bidder a run for their money? The biggest contract he's handed out since taking over the Giants' front office was the five-year, $90 million bargain for Logan Webb.
The Dodgers shouldn't exactly be fretting, but a desperate Giants team with financial flexibility could prove to be dangerous in a race for premier talent in free agency. We'll leave it at that.