Giants offered Shohei Ohtani the same contract he got with Dodgers, Farhan Zaidi says

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The San Francisco Giants made three offers to Shohei Ohtani, including a final proposal that president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi called “very comparable if not identical” to the record $700 million, 10-year contract the Japanese two-way star agreed to with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ohtani spent two hours with the Giants for a ballpark meeting with Zaidi, Greg Johnson, former catcher Buster Posey and new manager Bob Melvin on Dec. 2. Zaidi said San Francisco increased and adjusted its offers to meet Ohtani’s requests.

“The proposal that was made was very comparable if not identical to what he wound up agreeing to,” Zaidi said during a conference call Tuesday. “We offered what would have been the biggest contract in major league history. I’m guessing we weren’t the only team that did that. But wanted to show our aggressiveness and interest right out of the gate.”

Zaidi said it might have been helpful to be able to take Ohtani around the San Francisco area to check out neighborhoods and real estate, but the meeting was restricted to Oracle Park to prevent Ohtani from being spotted.

When the Giants got the sense Ohtani seemed to want to stay in Southern California, Zaidi said there was a realization it might be a hard agreement to make happen despite the proposed financial commitment.

“And then we knew that would be a challenge for us,” Zaidi said.

San Francisco’s executives hadn’t heard anything back about the offer from Ohtani’s representatives by Saturday morning, a few days after the club’s latest offer. That became concerning to the Giants as the team waited for the player to make his choice.

Zaidi did say he reached out to Ohtani’s agent after Friday’s errant report that Ohtani was on a plane to Toronto, presumably to officially sign a contract with the Blue Jays, and was told that Ohtani was not on a flight. The plane ended up belonging to Canadian businessman and “Shark Tank” television personality Robert Hervajec.

“As a Shark Tank fan, it was pretty exciting for me to see how that turned out,” Zaidi said.

The Giants missed out last offseason on Aaron Judge and then decided not to finalize a $350 million, 13-year agreement with shortstop Carlos Correa after concerns arose from his physical dating to a 2014 surgery on his right leg.

Shohei Ohtani (大谷翔平) deferring $680 million of $700 million contract until 2034

Shohei Ohtani (大谷翔平) deferring $680 million of $700 million contract until 2034

When asked to specify whether the Giants’ proposal was nearly equivalent to what Los Angeles offered, Zaidi noted, “Structure and total compensation, yes.” He was given the indication all of Ohtani’s offers were “in the similar range” by the end and the Giants tried to stay in contact to see what they might do to better their position in the pursuit.

Zaidi called it “an usual deal,” given the significant deferred money involved. Multiple reports said the idea to defer $680 million of the $700 million contract was Ohtani’s in order to give his new team flexibility to supplement the roster around him, and Zaidi’s admission appears to confirm that.

“I think we at certain points felt really good about our chances, at other points as you always do, you have some questions or doubts because you know it’s very competitive,” Zaidi said.

“We felt like we pulled a number of levers to try to make things happen and there were ways in which I think we were disadvantaged just in terms of player preference, geography in particular, that the end of the day this is sort of what free agency is,:” he added. “It comes down to a choice for a player — and when you’re talking about a generational player — is going to have great choices and probably be able to check just about every box he’s looking for.”

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Reporting by The Associated Press.


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