Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Poaching from the Dodgers

The Giants decided to pay the Dodgers GM enough money to leave the Evildoers

Here's Chris Haft's story on the team site --


SAN FRANCISCO -- Farhan Zaidi has accepted the Giants' offer to be their president of baseball operations. Formerly the Dodgers' general manager, Zaidi reported to Andrew Friedman, who runs baseball operations. With the Giants, Zaidi will be the baseball czar, answering only to club president and chief executive officer Larry Baer.
"We set out to find one of the best minds in baseball, and Farhan's many accomplishments and expertise exceeded our expectations," Baer said in a statement. "Farhan is widely viewed as one of the top executives in our industry, and we are thrilled to have him lead the next chapter of Giants Baseball."
Since the final month of the 1985 season, the Giants have employed four managers (Roger Craig, Dusty Baker, Felipe Alou and Bruce Bochy), four general managers (Al Rosen, Bob Quinn, Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans) and four managing general partners (Bob Lurie, Peter Magowan, William Neukom and Baer). Theirs is a legacy of success, highlighted by the transition to AT&T Park and three World Series titles in a five-year span.
But the Giants own a 167-229 record since the 2016 All-Star break. Only the Orioles (160-239), White Sox (162-236) and Padres (167-230) have lower winning percentages in that span. Zaidi's background suggests that he at least stands a chance of reversing San Francisco's fortunes.
The Giants' "Next Gen" GM, as Baer defined the yet-to-be-hired executive at the end of the regular season, was expected to have command of modern baseball analytics. Zaidi fulfills that requirement.
"He's definitely an analytical-type guy who will use his computer skills to create a model for the Major League club and the Draft," said a National League official.
Zaidi isn't merely a statistical geek who relies on computer printouts for wisdom, though. He received a bachelor's degree in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998 and earned a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011. But people who have worked alongside him attest to his ability to embrace traditional "baseball men" such as scouts. That quality could come in handy with the Giants, where Sabean and senior vice president of player personnel Dick Tidrow, who have attained almost legendary status within the organization, are expected to retain some sort of role.
"I am delighted to return to the Bay Area and to join one of the most storied franchises in the game," Zaidi said. "I have watched the Giants from afar and I have great respect for the organization's culture and many accomplishments. I am excited about this new opportunity and I'm looking forward to getting right to work."
Zaidi has been known to prescribe a lineup or two, usurping the manager's responsibilities. That raises a potential problem with the Giants, where Bochy has complete autonomy. A compromise likely will be reached, unless the Giants wish to see the front door to Bochy's office cordoned off by yellow police tape every day.
Zaidi possesses an eye for talent. He's reputed to have urged the A's, for whom he worked from 2005-15, to sign Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes.
As for Los Angeles, the National League West standings reflect the Dodgers' superior rosters. They have won six division titles in a row, including four under Zaidi's watch.
Meanwhile, the Giants have struggled to draft and develop key performers. Selecting three consecutive highly skilled first-rounders -- right-hander Tim Lincecum (2006), left-hander Madison Bumgarner (2007) and catcher Buster Posey (2008) -- prompted their World Series binge. But neither the Draft nor the trade market has yielded much for the Giants in recent years. It would be up to Zaidi to change all that.
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

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