One day after the baseball world learned that Japanese star Shohei Ohtani had narrowed his search to seven teams, the Giants were the first club revealed to meet with Ohtani, a source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.
San Francisco -- also the first club to meet with Giancarlo Stanton last week -- sent a large group of officials who met with Ohtani on Monday in Los Angeles, according to a report from NBC Sports. The club has not commented on the reports.
The Giants' contingent included executive vice president Brian Sabean, general manager Bobby Evans and manager Bruce Bochy, along with All-Star catcher and former National League MVP Award winner Buster Posey.
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Ohtani was officially posted by his Japanese club, the Nippon-Ham Fighters, on Friday after a new posting system was ratified unanimously by Major League clubs. Ohtani's representatives began informing teams Sunday whether they would get a chance to meet him in person, and 14 teams stated publicly that they were out of the mix. Per multiple reports, the seven clubs who remained in the running for Ohtani were the Giants, Angels, Cubs, Dodgers, Mariners, Padres and Rangers.
The Giants also have been the most aggressive team in pursuit of Stanton, alongside the Cardinals, though the Dodgers are said to be Stanton's preferred destination.
Ohtani, 23, has stated his desire to be a two-way player in the Major Leagues, and Bochy told NBC Sports on Friday that San Francisco had mapped out a way in which Ohtani could get 300-400 at-bats in 2018.
"It's going to make it a little easier next year with our days off," Bochy said. "Looking at the new schedule ... he could play even more because he'll get that additional rest."
Ohtani represents one of the most intriguing free agents in years because of his talent on both sides of the field and his unique situation. Because Ohtani is below the age of 25, he is subject to limitations placed on amateur players residing outside the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. That means he'll sign a Minor League contract with a club and make the MLB minimum salary of $545,000 upon being added to the big league roster. The $20 million posting fee, which goes to the Nippon-Ham Fighters, plus that MLB minimum salary is what it would cost a team to land him, making the market for him wide open.
The Rangers have the most international bonus money to offer Ohtani at $3.53 million, while the Giants are limited to $300,000. Financial considerations are not thought to be the top item on Ohtani's checklist, however, considering he would be in line to earn much more had he waited another two years before coming to the United States.
San Francisco is coming off a season in which it finished tied for the Majors' worst record at 64-98, but the Giants have been openly aggressive this offseason in an attempt to return to the form that netted three World Series titles in five seasons from 2010-14.