Though the San Francisco Giants might be laughing now because they're ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the standings, there's no denying LA has the upper hand in so many more ways, especially in regard to future endeavors.
The Dodgers attract stars of all kinds. The Giants? Can you name their last modern day star? And renaissance seasons from Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt back in 2021 don't count. Neither does Carlos Rodón hanging out there for one season as he worked to build back his value in free agency.
It's probably Madison Bumgarner back in 2017, honestly. Feel free to correct us if we're wrong. And the trend continued for SF this past offseason when they whiffed on two of the game's biggest talents.
One in Carlos Correa was perhaps a blessing in disguise, because they were on the verge of signing him to a $350 million contract, while right now he's hitting .212 with a .690 OPS and 90 OPS+.
The other would've been a generational move. Aaron Judge, who kicked off his free agency tour with the Giants, ended up re-signing with the Yankees. That was supposed to be the move for San Francisco. But president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi recently admitted the team never felt that deal was going to materialize.
Dodgers fans will love Giants admitting defeat in Aaron Judge free agency
In reality, Zaidi technically isn't wrong. Judge always felt destined to remain a Yankee, given all he had accomplished in New York to begin his MLB career, so had Hal Steinbrenner came close to any other competitive offer out there, the slugger likely wasn't leaving.
That much was proven when it was reported the San Diego Padres offered Judge $415 million (Judge ended up staying in New York for $360 million).
But the Giants comfortably (per reports) stayed in the ballpark of what the Yankees ended up paying, which, of course, was never going to move the needle. Did they really think Judge would give them a hometown discount? If the Giants never really believed he was going to sign with them, they why didn't they do anything of significance to potentially convince him otherwise?
The Dodgers moved mountains to acquire Mookie Betts. They swiped Freddie Freeman after 12 seasons with the Braves. They managed to keep Clayton Kershaw at bargain prices despite his value remaining exponentially higher from a market perspective. They constantly make blockbuster deals to bring in new talent that's almost always excited to be there. They take chances and ensure they're minimizing as much risk as possible, but almost always go all in when it's a move they feel they need to make.
The Giants? Content with coping with something that wasn't meant to be, for whatever reason. Sure sounds like a winning mentality.