The Giants announced Monday night they’ve hired Pete Putila as their new general manager. Putila, formerly an Astros assistant GM, steps in as the #2 in the front office hierarchy under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. Previous GM Scott Harris departed a few weeks ago to take over baseball operations with the Tigers.
Zaidi informed reporters last week the team was hoping to have a GM in place by early November. San Francisco struck far earlier than that, nabbing the well-regarded Putila away from Houston. “Being where we are and facing a big offseason, I think it’s going to be a great thing for us to have some fresh perspectives in the organization,” Zaidi said at the time. “A new general manager could certainly bring a fresh perspective on our roster, player development and evaluation philosophies.”
A West Virginia graduate, Putila spent more than a decade in the Houston front office. Originally hired as an intern in 2011, he quickly moved through the front office under former GM Jeff Lunhow. He spent a fair amount of time working in the build-up of the Houston farm system during the Astros rebuild, earning a promotion to director of player development by 2016. Towards the end of the 2019 campaign, Putila earned a bump to assistant GM.
The following offseason, the Astros parted ways with Lunhow in the wake of the public revelation of the extent of the 2017 sign-stealing operation. New GM James Click kept Putila in a high-ranking front office position, however, reflecting the value a pair of baseball operations leaders placed on his input.
Putila was a candidate for the Giants GM search back in 2019. San Francisco ended up poaching Harris from the Cubs front office that time around, but Putila apparently made a favorable impression on Zaidi and his high-ranking staff at the time. He also garnered some consideration in the Pirates GM search that winter, but Pittsburgh eventually tabbed Ben Cherington to lead baseball ops.
It’s a pivotal offseason for the Giants, who disappointed with an 81-81 season this year. Last winter, San Francisco mostly focused on retaining the core of a team that claimed 107 wins and an NL West title in 2021, aside from replacing Kevin Gausman with Carlos Rodón in free agency. There figures to be a fair bit more turnover this winter, with Zaidi on the record about his desire to get a younger, more athletic position player group. Putila will step into the biggest role of his career, helping Zaidi oversee that likely aggressive winter.