Since Bobby Evans was removed from his post as the general manager of the Giants in September of last year, the team has yet to decide on a replacement for Evans. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the organization has been flying blind, as Farhan Zaidi was installed as the president of baseball operations in San Francisco in November of 2018 and has spearheaded the department for the better part of a year.
Now, though, Zaidi has made it clear that he and other Giants decision-makers plan to move quickly in their search for a general manager to co-pilot the franchise’s baseball ops department, according to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. After playing out the 2019 season without a second-in-command, Zaidi referred to the search for a GM as a “high priority” as the organization has also begun to vet candidates for the vacant managerial position.
It’s possible that the new GM could be hired in time to take part in the interviewing process for the Giants’ next manager, but that’s far from a foregone conclusion, with Zaidi saying that “there’s no favorite” for the job yet and that the hiring processes will be conducted simultaneously. Still, Zaidi and company are well aware that those two figures will need to have a close working relationship and will have that in mind during the hiring cycle. The interplay between front office and manager has grown in importance in recent years, with the two levels of administration needing to be on the same page as teams implement plans throughout all levels of the organization.
Despite Zaidi’s assertion that no one candidate has separated from the pack, Pavlovic speculates that Athletics assistant GM Billy Owens, familiar with Zaidi from their time together in Oakland, could have the inside track to the job. Owens was considered for the job last offseason, though ultimately the Giants elected to hold off on filling the post for the time being. Owens has experience in the scouting and coaching departments, serving as a minor-league hitting coach prior to assuming a position in the front office.
Per Zaidi, the Giants aren’t hunting for a candidate with a particular area of expertise, but rather looking for someone who will jibe well with the current front office and “[share] the load of managing the overall operation.” He hopes that such an approach will expand the pool of potential candidates, regardless of whether their background comes in scouting, player development, administration, or elsewhere.
In his first year at the helm, Zaidi already has his fingerprints all over the Giants’ makeup. He’s worked to expand the Giants’ analytics department to catch up to the rival Dodgers, his former employer. A seemingly endless cycle of bargain-bin outfield acquisitions has brought some potential pieces to the forefront, including solid performances from rookie Mike Yastrzemski and cast-off Alex Dickerson. Elsewhere, Donovan Solano and Trevor Gott looked like savvy acquisitions, while the signing of Drew Pomeranz later yielded Mauricio Dubon in a July trade.
While the Giants’ midseason hot streak ultimately expired too soon, the team improved its 2018 season and reached 77 wins, appearing to have made some marginal improvements to the roster. In his first full offseason running the Giants, the vacant GM and manager positions are the next priorities for Zaidi, who will have the chance to bring aboard his own staff to carry out an organizational plan.