Shohei Ohtani

Zaidi drops fun Bonds fact while keeping mum on Giants' Ohtani pursuit

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The excitement in the air is palpable as baseball fans across the globe await Shohei Ohtani's free-agency decision, and especially for those in the Bay wondering if the two-way superstar will sign with the Giants.

But anyone hoping for some sort of hint from Farhan Zaidi during his Monday media session at this week's MLB Winter Meetings will be sorely disappointed, as San Francisco's president of baseball operations brought a tight-lipped approach to Nashville, Tenn.

That's not to say Zaidi didn't leave some crumbs about the team's strategy, however, when asked about Oracle Park's potential to drive free-agent hitters away from San Francisco. Particularly, left-handers.

“You mean Barry [Bonds]?” Zaidi asked reporters, via Evan Webeck of The Mercury News.

“Barry had better numbers at Pac Bell than on the road for the eight years he played there. He hit more homers and his OPS was better at home. … Not that I looked that up for any reason. Other than just genuine curiosity.”

No reason at all? Interesting.

While teams have kept Ohtani negotiations under wraps at the slugger's request, the Giants reportedly are believed to be bidding finalists for the two-time AL MVP as his final decision looms.

And if Ohtani has any reservations about how Oracle Park will impact his home run total or overall production, Zaidi is right. In 494 games played at the stadium during Bonds' career, the Home Run King slashed .335/.526/.763 with a 1.289 OPS and 160 home runs.

Bonds' 11.4-percent home run rate at Oracle Park from 2000-2007 is even better than his 7.5-percent mark on the road across his 22-season career, and his OPS at Third and King is even better than his 1.037 career road OPS. If Bonds could make it work -- and break records -- at the pitcher-friendly stadium, that's a good sign for the power-hitting Ohtani.

It's not hard to imagine the transcendent talent mashing home runs into McCovey Cove. But, the Giants also have other reported free-agent targets like Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, outfielder Cody Bellinger and South Korean outfielder Jung Hoo Lee in their sights.

“It seems like we’re building toward some things happening in the next week or two,” Zaidi told reporters. “But it’s hard to say. We do the work we can on the players we’re interested in, but agents and players kind of control the cadence of if and when they’re able to roll up their sleeves. This is day one of the meetings, so if some deals start happening in the next week, that’ll put us on schedule or a little ahead of schedule as an industry.”

And now, all Giants fans can do is patiently wait.

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