Giants chairman Greg Johnson has gone on record a few times to express his support for the club’s baseball operations leadership. He reiterated that sentiment this evening, telling Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and manager Gabe Kapler “will both be (in San Francisco) next year.”
It has been a streaky season for the Giants, who remain right on the edge of contention with two and a half weeks to go. San Francisco sits at 75-71, percentage points above the Diamondbacks and Reds for the last Wild Card spot in the National League. The Giants had gotten as high as 13 games above .500 shortly after the All-Star Break but are just 26-30 in the second half overall. That knocked them out of the playoff picture for a bit, though a recent 5-1 stretch coinciding with cold spells for a few teams above them has put the Giants back in a solid spot.
They’re looking for what would be the second playoff appearance of the Zaidi/Kapler era. Zaidi has been running baseball operations since the 2018-19 offseason; Kapler took over as skipper one year later. They stepped into a transitional period before a shocking 107-win campaign to snap the Dodgers’ streak of NL West titles with one of the best years in franchise history. L.A. vanquished the Giants in the Division Series, and San Francisco has been an average team since that point. They were exactly .500 last year and aren’t far above that mark this season.
San Francisco tried for an impact acquisition last offseason. Their pursuit of Aaron Judge came up short, while the Carlos Correa physical led that agreement to fall through. The Correa saga came after most of the other top free agents were off the board, leading San Francisco to pivot to the volume approach that has defined most of their past few winters. Signings of Michael Conforto, Mitch Haniger, Sean Manaea and Ross Stripling have all yielded middling results in their first seasons, though the addition of Taylor Rogers has mostly worked as anticipated.
The leadership’s track record goes well beyond this past offseason, of course. Prior acquisitions of Thairo Estrada, J.D. Davis and LaMonte Wade Jr. have all been strong low-cost additions. Wilmer Flores has provided four years of quality production since signing in free agency headed into 2020. They’ve felt the effects of missing out on a star position player — particularly as the offense has gone cold in the second half — though the lack of long-term payroll commitments could embolden them to make legitimate runs at Shohei Ohtani or Cody Bellinger this offseason.
Both Zaidi and Kapler are believed to be under contract for next year. Kapler signed an extension running through the ’24 campaign following their standout 2021 season (in which he was named NL Manager of the Year). Zaidi’s contract was a five-year guarantee that spanned through this year, though it also included a team option for the ’24 season. Slusser characterizes that provision more as a team opt-out clause which the organization bypassed when it was available to them a few months ago. Regardless of the specifics, it’s clear both Zaidi and Kapler will return — though they’d each enter the season in lame duck status unless they sign longer-term extensions over the winter.