Bob Melvin addresses Giants’ Shohei Ohtani offseason pursuit

NBC Sports Bay Area

It’s been known for months now that two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani is on the top of the Giants’ free-agent shopping list.

So, in the early innings of the offseason, has San Francisco’s front office, led by president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, met with Ohtani’s camp to lure him to the Bay?

“Not yet,” new Giants manager Bob Melvin said Thursday on KNBR. “That’s Farhan’s deal for when that potentially takes place. He’s going to drive that market. When he’s available, we’ll be listening.”

Ohtani was named the unanimous 2023 AL MVP on Thursday after mashing 44 homers and logging a 3.41 ERA for the Los Angeles Angels. He hits free agency as baseball’s most unique weapon and is expected to land the biggest free-agent contract in league history.

The Giants hope to bring the two-way phenom to the Bay after finishing runner-up to signing other notable stars in recent offseasons.

“There might have been some groundwork laid … but it has not crossed my desk,” Melvin said. “I’m not sure who, if anybody, has. I’m sure they’ll try to keep it quiet. At a point in time when it starts to heat up, then you’ll hear all the teams involved.

“I’m not sure what his process is yet, but hopefully we get a chance to talk to him.”

Even if the Giants already had met with Ohtani, the organization likely would keep all talks mum. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported earlier this week that if a meeting between Ohtani and any team becomes public knowledge, the superstar will hold it against the pursuing club.

Ohtani underwent elbow surgery in September, which will prevent him from pitching next season. But he’s expected to be ready to hit Opening Day — whether it’s in a Giants uniform or elsewhere.

Melvin, who game-planned against Ohtani for years while managing the Oakland Athletics in the AL West, is still in awe of the star’s talent.

“You’re always aware of when he’s coming up,” Melvin said. “It’s the power, it’s the speed, it’s everything he brings to the table. He’s as unique of a talent as you’ll ever see. I got to know him a little bit through Kurt Suzuki, who was over there in Anaheim.

“He’s one-of-a-kind talent. An immense talent. It’s ridiculous, really.”

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