The Giants entered the offseason looking to make a splash and five weeks later, they’re hiring an executive who has a track record of creating waves.
A source confirmed the Giants will hire Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi as their president of baseball operations. The Giants announced Zaidi will officially be introduced Wednesday at 1 p.m. during a press conference at AT&T Park.
“I am delighted to return to the Bay Area and to join one of the most storied franchises in the game,” Zaidi said in a press release. “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.”
An initial report from The San Francisco Chronicle said Zaidi will leave his post with one year on his contract to take over the top role in the Giants’ front office.
Zaidi, 41, will report directly to Giants CEO Larry Baer and is expected to be given the authority to build out the rest of the front office, which will allow him to hire the franchise’s next general manager.
“We set out to find one of the best minds in baseball and Farhan’s many accomplishments and expertise exceeded our expectations,” Baer said. “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.”
Multiple reports on Monday indicated the Giants were preparing to offer Zaidi a front office position, but it was unclear whether the Dodgers would sign off on the move. Teams generally allow executives to leave their roles for jobs with other franchises that are considered promotions, but uncertainty existed over whether Los Angeles would permit Zaidi to leave to work for the rival Giants.
Zaidi was the Dodgers’ second highest-ranking front office executive as he was hired in November, 2014, shortly after the club brought in Andrew Friedman as its president of baseball operations. The Dodgers originally hired Zaidi away from the Oakland A’s, where he worked as the assistant general manager under Billy Beane.
A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a doctorate from UC Berkeley, Zaidi’s first job in baseball came more than a decade ago as a data analyst with the A’s. Despite a heavy analytical background, Zaidi has been lauded his peers for promoting the value of traditional scouting methods in each of his previous jobs.
Teams that Zaidi has helped construct have finished in the postseason in each of the last seven seasons, as the Oakland A’s went to the playoffs for three straight seasons from 2012-2014 while the Dodgers won the National League West in all four years Zaidi served as general manager.
The Giants’ decision to hire Zaidi comes on the heels of Los Angeles’ second consecutive World Series loss and less than a full week after he helped negotiate star pitcher Clayton Kershaw’s three-year, $93 million extension.
Zaidi has an arduous task in front of him as the Giants have lost a combined 187 games over the last two seasons and a payroll weighed down by several underperforming veterans.
The Giants fired previous general manager Bobby Evans during the final week of the regular season as the club wrapped up its second consecutive losing season. San Francisco hadn’t suffered back-to-back sub-.500 seasons since 2007-2008, but even with one of the highest payrolls in all of baseball, the Giants didn’t have the firepower to compete for a playoff berth.
Evans was promoted to his role as the franchise’s general manager in the spring of 2015, succeeding Sabean who held the job for nearly two decades. After arriving from New York as the assistant general manager in 1993, Sabean was promoted from within and assumed his position after the Giants finished with 94 losses in 1996.
Evans’ dismissal forced the Giants to conduct an external search for a top baseball operations executive for the first time in more than a quarter century.