Zaidi named MLB's Executive of Year for '21
CARLSBAD, Calif. -- The Giants were the surprise team of 2021, posting the best record in MLB with a franchise-record 107 victories.
So it was no surprise that Farhan Zaidi, San Francisco’s president of baseball operations, was named the recipient of MLB’s 2021 Executive of the Year Award. The honor, which is voted on by all 30 clubs prior to the postseason, was announced Monday night at the annual General Managers Meetings.
Rays president of baseball operations Erik Neander -- who won the award in 2019 -- was the runner-up, while Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns finished third.
Zaidi just completed his third season in charge of the Giants’ baseball operations, having been hired away from the Dodgers in November 2018.
“It’s really overwhelming to be in a position where your colleagues elect you to this award,” Zaidi said while accepting the honor. “Billy Beane and David Forst gave me my start, and I’m really grateful for that.”
San Francisco’s 107-win season marked the best record in the franchise’s 139-year history, as it beat out Los Angeles by one game for the National League West title. The Giants fell to the Dodgers in the NL Division Series in five games.
The 107 victories were the most by an NL team since the ‘86 Mets won 108, which remains the highest win total for an NL club during the division era (1969-present). The Giants became the first NL team with a .600 or better winning percentage in every month of the season since the ‘42 Brooklyn Dodgers.
San Francisco made a number of moves heading into the 2021 season, starting with the re-signing of ace Kevin Gausman, who accepted the team’s qualifying offer. The Giants added Anthony DeSclafani, Alex Wood, Dominic Leone, Zack Littell and Jake McGee via free agency, all of whom were major contributors to the team’s 3.24 ERA, which ranked second in the NL. San Francisco’s 2.99 bullpen ERA was the best in the Majors.
Zaidi also signed infielder Tommy La Stella and traded for outfielder/first baseman LaMonte Wade Jr., each of whom played key roles throughout the season.
Prior to the Trade Deadline, Zaidi made a big splash with the acquisition of Kris Bryant from the Cubs, adding a big bat to San Francisco’s lineup. The Giants also dealt for lefty reliever Tony Watson, who posted a 2.96 ERA in 26 appearances over the final two months.
Zaidi has also been responsible for the acquisitions of Mike Yastrzemski, Darin Ruf and Wilmer Flores during his time in San Francisco.
The Giants led the NL with a franchise-record 241 home runs this season, including 111 that either tied the game or gave San Francisco the lead, the most in MLB. Ten Giants players hit at least 10 homers this season, the most in the big leagues, putting their deep roster on display.
This is the fourth year that MLB has presented the Executive of the Year Award. Oakland’s Billy Beane was the inaugural recipient in 2018, while Neander (‘19) and Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman (‘20) have also received the honor.