Shohei Ohtani

Ohtani's agent has close, personal connection to Giants organization

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The Giants will work any angle they can to land two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani in free agency.

Perhaps new manager Bob Melvin's extensive history coaching players from the Pacific Rim could lend a helpful hand in recruiting the Japanese superstar. Or maybe starting pitcher Alex Cobb, who played with Ohtani in 2021 and began his recruiting pitch to his former teammate over the summer at the MLB All-Star Game could prove useful.

Or, perhaps, the Giants have someone else within the organization who has ties to Ohtani or someone in his camp.

The Athletic's Sam Blum, Andrew Baggarly and Fabian Ardaya released a feature story on Ohtani's agent, Nez Balelo, who coincidentally has ties to current members of the Giants organization.

Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the fourth round of the 1985 MLB Draft, Balelo was teammates with current Giants Triple-A coach Dave Brundage and current major league pitching coach Bryan Price on the Vermont Mariners in 1988.

Balelo and Price, who recently was named to Melvin's staff, have maintained a close personal and professional relationship over the years, per The Athletic, which could be important for the Giants. Or not. 

With San Francisco vying for Ohtani's services this winter after the two-way star underwent Tommy John surgery on Sept. 19, Price would work closely with Ohtani should he sign with San Francisco and work his way back to the mound in 2025.

Even though Ohtani will be limited to just hitting in 2024, his potential relationship with Price would play a big role in extending his career as a pitcher.

It goes without saying the decision ultimately is up to Ohtani, not Balelo, but it certainly couldn't hurt the Giants to have a pitching coach like Price, who is well respected throughout the league and presumably trusted by the superstar's longtime agent.

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