The Giants hired Farhan Zaidi as president of baseball operations last month, but he wasn't the only candidate they pursued.
One of those candidates was Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, according to the man himself.
Huntington told reporters at the MLB Winter Meetings in Las Vegas that he was deep in conversations with the Giants, but he decided to stay in the Steel City.
Candor from Neal Huntington regarding Giants interest. Wanted to re-establish bonds cut by Cole/McCutchen trades, sees bright future, unfinished business. Said family was on board, but “I want to be a Pirate.”— Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) December 11, 2018
Huntington has been Pittsburgh's general manager since 2007, and the Pirates ended a two-decade playoff drought under his watch. He also traded franchise cornerstones Andrew McCutchen (to the Giants) and Gerrit Cole (to the Houston Astros) last offseason, but the Pirates surprised most of baseball en route to compiling an 82-79 record.
The 49-year-old also has worked with a much smaller budget than he would have had in San Francisco, and he built one of the game's stronger analytics departments. Giants CEO Larry Baer said at the outset of the offseason he was looking for a "next-gen" candidate to lead the organization, and Huntington would have checked a lot of boxes.
But, the Giants ultimately hired Zaidi, and they enter the Winter Meetings surrounded by far more mystery than previous offseasons. We'll never know what their approach would have looked like under Huntington, but we'll learn soon enough what Zaidi will do.