The Giants fired general manager Bobby Evans in September, as they were well on their way to a second straight season without making the playoffs.
"We needed to take a fresh approach with baseball operations," Giants CEO Larry Baer told reporters after the decision to fire Evans. "We've had a very successful group here a long time, but we have to bring a new approach to Giants baseball and take a look outside."
San Francisco was a powerhouse for much of this decade, winning the 2010, 2012 and 2014 World Series titles and reaching the playoffs in 2016. However, it finished in last place in the National League West in 2017 and fourth place in 2018.
The Dodgers have trended in a positive direction while the Giants struggled, winning the NL West all four years during Zaidi's tenure. They reached the past two World Series and the 2016 National League Championship Series, although they lost to the eventual champions all three times.
Zaidi was with the Oakland Athletics in positions such as the assistant general manager and director of baseball operations prior to joining the Dodgers.
Kerry Crowley of the Mercury News noted Zaidi will report to Baer and have the freedom to hire the next general manager and the rest of the front office.