The Giants, winners of three of the last five World Series, rewarded the architects of that successful run on Friday, announcing contract extensions for general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy, along with a promotion for Sabean as part of a front-office reorganization.
Sabean and Bochy, who had both been signed through the 2016 season, were extended through the 2019 season. The Giants also promoted Sabean to executive vice president of baseball operations and made former assistant GM Bobby Evans their new senior vice president and general manager.
“The word ‘culture’ comes up, and comes up quite a bit when you talk about sort of what we’ve had in common in the success we’ve had over the last five years and even before,” president and CEO Larry Baer said at a news conference to announce the extensions.
“Culture’s sort of a hard thing to pin down … but it’s a powerful force and transformative force, and I think more than anything it comes from leadership, and leadership at the top.”
The restructuring of the front office, meanwhile, has been in the works since shortly after last season’s World Series victory parade. Sabean said that Evans has already been the team’s point man on many day-to-day operations and discussions with free agents and other teams regarding trades, and will continue to handle those responsibilities as GM.
“What I’m excited about is Bobby’s more than ready,” Sabean said. “We’ve continually put more and more on his plate … and he’s come through with flying colors.”
Sabean said he and Baer will still have the power to OK or veto decisions made by the front office. But in his new role, Sabean will have more time for his “love and passion” of scouting players, and will be freer to travel to watch prospective free agents or trade targets in person.
In particular, Sabean cited the need in today’s international market to be able to travel “at the spur of the moment” if a player becomes available. Sabean said there were times over the last five years that he felt “guilty” about traveling in-season to watch an international prospect, something he can do now without worrying about the day-to-day obligations of a GM.
Other teams, such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs, have adopted a similar front-office structure to give their top baseball operations people more flexibility to see outside players in person. As the possibility of a worldwide draft looms and teams get more active in international scouting, Sabean said, it became important for the Giants to assess their own practices.
“We need to be available,” Sabean said. “I need to be out there.”
One thing that will remain constant is Bochy’s presence in the Giants’ dugout. Bochy, 59, is entering his ninth season with the Giants and likely secured his Hall of Fame plaque by becoming just the 10th manager ever to win three World Series titles. He will turn 60 this month and has the most wins (1,618) among active managers.
“This is the place to be for myself, my wife, my family,” Bochy said. “It still amazes me what we have accomplished here, and I look forward to making new memories. For them to approach me and extend me, I couldn’t be happier.”
Bochy said he does expect to have more discussions now with Evans, who is entering his 22nd season with the Giants. Sabean said front-office decisions have typically been made through collaboration and will continue that way, and he expects to be in daily contact with Evans while on the road.
“I’m not sure why they chose to do this in an odd year,” Evans joked. “But I’m trusting that it was well thought out.”