The SF Giants held an introductory press conference for Bob Melvin on Wednesday. Perhaps, the most surprising bit to come out of that was chairman Greg Johnson announcing that the Giants had agreed in principle to retain Farhan Zaidi through 2026.
SF Giants have agreed in principle on extension for Farhan Zaidi through 2026
It was the first question brought up as Zaidi indicated that Melvin had signed a deal through 2026. Then, Zaidi was asked about his own contract expiring through 2024, which Johnson informed the media that they are expecting to announce his extension soon enough.
It was going to be hard for Zaidi to operate this winter while heading into a potential lame-duck season, so the extension sidesteps that discussion for now. That said, it is hard to say that an extension was necessarily warranted given that the Giants have finished at or below .500 in four of his five seasons since taking over as team president of baseball operations.
He has done a nice job at preserving financial flexibility with a free-agency approach that often focuses on short-term deals. This has led him to miss out on a few opportunities, but no contract he has handed out is necessarily prohibitive at this point.
Sure, the Tommy La Stella and Anthony DeSclafani deals have not panned out at all, but those contracts do not prevent them from being able to upgrade other areas of the roster.
Plus, Zaidi has done a nice job of building a farm system that has a strong pitching base. The Giants began to see the benefits of his draft picks this year with Patrick Bailey establishing himself as a Gold-Glove-caliber catcher and Kyle Harrison showing flashes of dominance. Though, it is hard to ignore that other teams have had success in the draft over the past five years with the Arizona Diamondbacks being led by Corbin Carroll while the Texas Rangers have benefitted from both Josh Jung and Evan Carter.
The Giants will need to show more prospect development in a way that feeds the major league roster next season. It felt like that began to happen in 2023, but they will need some of their younger players to establish themselves as everyday regulars next year.
So, why would the Giants do this seemingly prematurely? Well, an extension creates a sense of stability with a new manager at the helm as well as a way to lure prospective free agents. The concept of a front office executive heading into a lame-duck season would create more noise than free agents would want.
And, it would create more questions than answers for free agents wanting to know what their role might be beyond 2024. Hypothetically, If a player signs a multi-year deal and the Giants parted ways with Zaidi, it could impact that player in a very real way.
An extension quells some of that noise. Having said that, an extension through 2026 does not guarantee that Zaidi will still be running the front office by the end of that contract. Conceptually, it gives them one more year beyond 2024 to show meaningful progress before the Giants have to make a decision again. That is a conversation for a different day. For the time being, Zaidi will be under contract for a few more seasons and that should help the Giants this offseason.