SAN FRANCISCO — When word started to trickle out Tuesday night that Farhan Zaidi had agreed to become president of baseball operations for the Giants, friends from around the league reached out with texts of congratulations. But not all of the messages Zaidi received were kind.
“I got five ridiculous trade offers last night,” Zaidi said a day later, shaking his head.
He wasn't referring to rival executives attempting to scoop up Madison Bumgarner in a moment of weakness. This was more about the likes of Alvin Kamara, the star of Zaidi’s infamous fantasy football team.
Zaidi has played three previous seasons in the Dodgers' clubhouse league and won three titles. When he joined the rival Giants, a few in the league immediately sent trade offers that left a lot to be desired. Some were surely meant to be deliberately bad, showing displeasure with Zaidi's move to the Giants. All were promptly turned down.
Zaidi comes to San Francisco in search of his first World Series title, but in the cutthroat world of fantasy sports, he already has built a Hall of Fame resume. This spring, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times detailed Zaidi’s fantasy football career, one that has been dominant in previous stops in Oakland and Los Angeles.
"The telling of the story of this dynasty is long overdue," Zaidi told McCullough.
According to McCullough, Dodgers players had to change some of the rules of their league to try to slow Zaidi. The next season, Zaidi apparently found a loophole, exploiting the rule change on his way to another title. A few players complained to McCullough that Zaidi’s younger brother might be running the team, an allegation that was denied.
The biggest decision of Zaidi’s baseball career will have a direct impact on his fantasy football career, but for now, he has no plans to let up on his former players. It’s only Week 10 of the football season, after all. Zaidi has a championship push to make long before Giants pitchers and catchers report.
“I’m planning to keep operating it, although one day I may log in and find that someone has changed the password on me or something,” Zaidi said of his fantasy team. “Tony Watson, who is here, was in the Dodgers fantasy league last year, and it sounds like he’s been spreading some troubling rumors about my involvement and how I should be kept out of the (Giants) league.”
The Giants believe Zaidi’s persistence with roster-building can turn them back into a consistent winner. He already has shown his savvy. A few hours after taking the job, Zaidi sent a text to Brandon Crawford inquiring about the high-stakes fantasy football league that Giants stars have played in for years.
Crawford knows of Zaidi's fantasy football reputation. He informed his new boss that getting into the league is "a tough ticket," and that most players now have to team up with a co-owner because so many want in on the league.
"It never hurts to be especially nice to the commish," added Crawford, who happens to be the league's commissioner.
Zaidi might have a hard time talking his way into the Giants league if he does the impossible and wins a fourth consecutive fantasy football title. One source familiar with his dynasty insisted that the run is over, but Zaidi said any talk of his demise is overstated. His team -- led by Kamara, his first-round pick -- is 6-3 this season.
“Maybe it’s just a function of the expectations at this point,” he said when told of talk that he's having a down year. “This year, I’ve kind of tried to lay in the weeds a little more. There’s a chapter to be still written for my 2018 fantasy team.”
Long before Opening Day, Zaidi might add a strange chapter to a storied rivalry. Imagine an executive leaving the Dodgers to go run the Giants, then winning a fourth consecutive Dodgers fantasy football title a couple of months later.
“That,” Zaidi said, smiling, “would be some last salt in the wound.”