SAN FRANCISCO -- Clearly stating that the Giants must take a more contemporary approach toward assembling the ballclub, the team announced that general manager Bobby Evans stepped down Monday and will be assigned to a different position within the organization.Additionally, though executive vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean will
SAN FRANCISCO -- Clearly stating that the Giants must take a more contemporary approach toward assembling the ballclub, the team announced that general manager Bobby Evans stepped down Monday and will be assigned to a different position within the organization.
Additionally, though executive vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean will remain with the club, he will have a new "global position." The new GM will report directly to team president Larry Baer, with full authority over baseball operations. Baer confirmed that manager Bruce Bochy will return for the 2019 season.
The changes likely mean that the Giants, who reveled in their reputation for emphasizing traditional methods of player development and evaluation while winning the World Series in 2010, '12 and '14, will hire a replacement who's more open to embracing contemporary analytics.
A significant change in the team's hierarchy has appeared inevitable for weeks. Fans turned to social media and sports talk radio to express their increasing frustration with the club, which was 4 1/2 games out of first place as late as July 25, but has compiled a 20-34 record since then.
That unhappiness spread to the boardroom. Sabean cited the "ownership group," a collection of investors that consists of 29 men and women according to the club's media guide, while discussing the decision to have Evans vacate the position he had held since April 3, 2015.
Both Baer and Sabean said that the club will look outside of the organization for Evans' replacement. In this case, the Giants aren't just changing employees. They're changing philosophy.
"I think we're looking for someone who's sort of a 'next-gen' general manager, if you will. Somebody who's going to be head of baseball ops," Baer said. " ... People will say 'new school vs. old school,' people will say 'analytics vs. scouting,' and I think that the new, next-generation general manager is able to do both, and will bring both."
Baer said that no timetable had been established for hiring a GM. But with free agency beginning shortly after the World Series, common sense dictates that the Giants would prefer to have their new executive in place by the end of October.
The organization has demonstrated a tendency to hire former Giants to fill key positions. But the remark about hiring from outside, mentioned by both Baer and Sabean, would seem to discourage adding a familiar face or making an internal promotion. Otherwise, scouting director John Barr, who was responsible for drafting six-time All Star catcher Buster Posey, might be in line for the job.
Due to Sabean's background in the Yankees' player personnel department, the Giants have long been viewed as a haven for members of that organization seeking a job. The Yankees' lone conceivable candidate for the Giants' opening would be Damon Oppenheimer, New York's vice president and director of amateur scouting.
An obvious candidate would seem to be Ned Colletti, who served as Sabean's assistant until he became the Dodgers' GM following the 2005 season. Insiders have insisted that Colletti, who moved from the GM's position to a senior adviser's role after the 2014 season, had a standing offer to return to the Giants at any time with Sabean's blessing. But if the club seeks a GM who fits the popular stereotype of being a sabermetrics whiz in his early-to mid-30s, Coletti is unlikely to be considered.
Plenty of potential candidates fit Baer's description of the type of well-rounded GM who understands traditional as well as modern baseball concepts.
Some clues regarding the identity of the Giants' next GM come from the list of reported candidates linked to the Mets' opening for the same position.
Possibilities include Mets assistant GM John Ricco, Diamondbacks assistant GM Jared Porter, Rays senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom, former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, Dodgers senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes and Cubs senior vice president of player development Jason McLeod.
This week will conclude the Giants' third consecutive disappointing finish under Evans' watch.
In 2016, Evans' first full season as GM, the Giants entered the All-Star break with a 57-33 record, the best in the Major Leagues. But the Giants slumped in the season's second half and had to win six of their last seven games to reach the Wild Card Game, in which they defeated the Mets. The Giants then dropped the Division Series, 3-1, to the Cubs. That confrontation featured a shocking collapse by San Francisco's bullpen, which allowed four ninth-inning runs in a 6-5 Giants defeat.
The Giants proceeded to sign free agent closer Mark Melancon during the following offseason. But he developed a right forearm injury and never was effective as the Giants lurched to a 64-98 finish. This year, the Giants were 72-84 at the time of Evans' departure as GM.
Any change in the GM's office by itself would represent a significant shift for the Giants, whose front-office and on-field personnel have demonstrated a continuity that's unmatched in the Major Leagues.
Since the final month of the 1985 season, the Giants have had four GMs (Al Rosen, Bob Quinn, Sabean and Evans) and four managers (Roger Craig, Dusty Baker, Felipe Alou and Bochy). Ron Wotus has been on the big league coaching staff for 21 years. Dave Righetti was San Francisco's pitching coach for 18 years until he was relieved of his duties after last season.
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.