The San Francisco Giants have hired Scott Harris to serve as the team’s general manager, according to a report from Jeff Passan of ESPN. Harris had previously worked as the Cubs’ assistant GM since 2018 after five years as Chicago’s director of baseball operations.
Harris, 32, will join the Giants as Farhan Zaidi’s second-in-command after the team went more than a year without a general manager. A bay area native, Harris graduated from UCLA and earned his MBA from Northwestern, breaking into the baseball industry as an intern with the Nationals and Reds, positions that he turned into a full-time gig in the MLB commissioner’s office. In his time with the Cubs, he had a hand in the club’s ascension to World Series champions in 2015, emerging as the right-hand man for top baseball ops officers Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.
Even with a general manager in place, the Giants’ baseball decisions will still run through Zaidi, who with a year under his belt now has the opportunity to populate the Giants’ leadership ranks with his own hires. Zaidi was brought aboard to be the top dog and foremost decision-maker, and that won’t change. However, that’s not to downplay the importance of Harris’s addition; the general manager, in Zaidi’s own words, will “share the load in managing the overall operation,” an endeavor in which Harris should be of considerable utility: in a statement from the Giants, Harris is credited with overseeing the Cubs’ research and development department, the arbitration process, and the baseball ops department’s financial strategy and planning.
And Harris will have to get started right away. With the GM meetings underway this week, Harris will enter his new post during one of the busiest and most critical times of the year for baseball executives. With the Giants still searching for their next manager, it’s not clear how much sway Harris will have in the final hire, though it’s no doubt a priority that Harris, Zaidi, and the new skipper are all on the same page. Still, Harris could still provide some valuable input: Joe Espada, one of the finalists for the Giants’ job, also interviewed for the Cubs position, a process in which Harris almost certainly would have participated.
The addition of Harris represents the continuation of the Giants’ organizational overhaul of the baseball operations department, which began last year with the ouster of GM Bobby Evans. The organization sought a more modern front office, with a president of baseball operations working in concert with a general manager. In Zaidi, the club found their president last year. And now, the GM is in place. After Bruce Bochy’s retirement, there’s of course another important hire that must be made, and it seems that a decision could be coming soon: the Giants have reportedly narrowed the field down to three finalists: Joe Espada, Gabe Kapler, and Matt Quatraro.
On the field, Zaidi has already begun his transformation of the team, showing an aptitude for acquiring marginal talent improvements in low-risk moves. The acquisitions of players like Mike Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson, Kevin Pillar, and Donovan Solano—all of which came at a minimal cost to the Giants—played a part in the Giants’ surprising midseason run that kept them on the brink of playoff position despite low expectations.
This, along with a burgeoning farm system and the undeniable purchasing power of the Giants, makes the Giants an attractive rebuilding project for an executive like Harris—more so, at least, than when Zaidi took over after 2018, inheriting a group consisting largely of dynastic leftovers and pricey, past-their-prime mercenaries. The outlook for 2021 and beyond, though, is a promising one. With prospects like Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos, Marco Luciano, and Hunter Bishop anchoring the farm system, there’s some foundation to work with. And when hefty contracts start to come off the books, the Giants can expect to flex their financial muscles and become a real player in negotiations with top free agents.
For Giants fans hoping to learn more about the newest addition to the San Francisco front office, The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma profiled Harris in March of 2018, painting him as a hard-working rising star in baseball’s front office landscape. Harris drew rave reviews from superstar execs Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, under whom he worked in Chicago.