Giants: Front office deserves benefit of the doubt for now
By Kyle Foster
The new front office is working hard to position the San Francisco Giants for future success. For now at least, they still deserve the benefit of the doubt.
This offseason has been one of the most difficult in recent memory for San Francisco Giants fans.
Watching longtime manager and future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy retire, only to be replaced by Gabe Kapler, was the first big blow. Then came the non-tender of 2019 Willie Mac Award winner Kevin Pillar. Then perhaps the most painful moment of all, when Madison Bumgarner signed a five-year, $85 million deal with the NL West rival Arizona Diamondbacks.
Most of the fan base wants to cast the blame for these decisions on the front office, which is led by president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and new general manager Scott Harris.
There is plenty of reason for the fan base to be disappointed, but pointing the blame at Zaidi and Harris, simply because they inherited a bad situation is misplaced.
Last season, Zaidi improved the Giants from system from the 27th-ranked system in baseball to the 14th-ranked system in baseball, according to Bleacher Report, which is no small feat in just one year on the job.
The farm system is headed in the right direction, and the team’s future outlook is as bright as it has been in some time.
Aside from restocking the farm, Zaidi has also been able to get some aging players’ contracts off the books in order to create payroll flexibility. One of the best examples of that was the trade that sent Mark Melancon and all of his remaining contract to the Atlanta Braves last season, while also bringing back a quality prospect in Tristan Beck.
They have not made any earth-shattering moves with their newfound financial flexibility this offseason, but they have added a few pieces that could lead to incremental improvement.
Veteran infielder Zack Cozart and his $12.7 million salary were acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in a salary dump that also added 2019 first-round pick Will Wilson to the farm system.
They also signed starter Kevin Gausman to a one-year, $9 million deal in a move similar to last year’s signing of Drew Pomeranz. He’ll eat some innings as he looks to rebuild value, and if he pitches well, the team should be able to flip him at the trade deadline. It worked with Pomeranz, who was used to acquire Mauricio Dubon, who will likely be the Opening Day second baseman.
The move makes even more sense because Gausman has only pitched in very hitter-friendly ballparks in his career, so the move to Oracle Park should treat him well.
What am I getting at with all of this?
My point is that a rebuild is never easy, but if the Giants want to return to title contention, it’s something that had to be done. It has to get worse before it can get better, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to the improved farm system.
No matter what your thoughts are on Zaidi and Harris, they won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Fans should support them as they try to rebuild the San Francisco Giants into contenders once again.