New GM Putila 'really excited' to join Giants

October 11th, 2022

The Giants made their first major addition of the offseason on Monday, hiring Pete Putila to serve as their new general manager under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. 

Putila, 33, spent the last 12 seasons with the Astros, rising from a baseball operations intern to an assistant GM over that span. He will replace Scott Harris, who left the organization last month to become the new president of baseball operations with the Tigers. 

Putila was a finalist for the Giants’ GM opening that went to Harris three years ago. When the position opened up for a second time, Zaidi moved quickly to hire Putila, who beat out “several” other candidates who interviewed for the role.

"One of the things that really excited us about Pete is the fact that he has an extensive background in player development," Zaidi said during a Zoom call with reporters on Monday night. "That doesn't necessarily mean that you're limiting the scope to the Minor Leagues. We've talked a lot over the last couple of years about how much we value continued player development through and including the Major League level and think players can continue to improve. That's really been a point of emphasis throughout Pete's very successful career with the Astros."

Putila’s hire is effective immediately, prompting Zaidi to joke that his new lieutenant would now have to pay for his own Astros playoff tickets. Houston went 230-154 (.599) during Putila’s three years as an assistant GM, the second-best winning percentage in the Majors behind only the Dodgers (260-124, .677).

"I'm really excited about the opportunity," said Putila, who becomes the Giants’ 10th GM of the San Francisco era. "One important part of the interview process was to get to spend time with Farhan and the leadership staff, including [manager Gabe Kapler]. I was just really impressed with the team in terms of their humility and desire to improve in every area. That's something that excites me. I think it's what makes going to work every day a lot of fun. Just trying to figure out ways to acquire the best players, develop players and support them. I'm very appreciative of the opportunities that are received with the Astros. I want to thank everyone there. I’m really excited to start this new chapter."

A native of Carmichaels, Pa., Putila graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in sports management and landed a baseball operations internship with the Astros in 2011. He was hired full-time later that year and continued to work his way up through the organization, earning a promotion to assistant director of Minor League operations in 2015 and director of player development in 2016. In the latter role, Putila oversaw Major and Minor League player development while assisting with the integration of scouting data and technology. 

Putila was named Houston’s assistant GM in 2019, expanding his duties to include all aspects of baseball operations with a focus on player development, player evaluation and sports medicine and performance.

As part of the interview process with the Giants, Putila met with leaders throughout the organization, including Kapler, Larry Baer, Zack Minasian, Jeremy Shelley and Yeshayah Goldfarb. According to Zaidi, Putila quickly emerged as the “consensus” pick following those discussions.

"When Pete walks into our Major League clubhouse, I think he’s going to fit right in and connect with people immediately," Kapler said. "Pete’s really concise, he knows how to get through some of the noise and get straight to the point, but in a way I think is going to make the people around him -- in particular, our players and staff -- feel like he’s thinking about them first."

Zaidi also said he was struck by the number of former Astros colleagues who reached out to endorse Putila’s candidacy for the position. 

"In Pete’s case, it was really exceptional," Zaidi said. "That was really impactful in our thought process."

Another quality that separated Putila was his ability to “cut through the noise” and identify the most critical aspects of player evaluation and player development. That ability will be key for the Giants as they attempt to move past their underwhelming .500 season in 2022 and build a roster capable of competing for a playoff berth next year. 

Putila said he believes the Giants will have to cast a wide net in order to turn into a sustainable contender in the near future. 

"I think you have to hit it from all angles," Putila said. "You need to be smart in international and amateur scouting. You need to develop players through the farm system and find those players on the waiver wire through trades, through free agency. Every year’s free-agent class is different, and it’s not as if there’s a player that fits in every bucket. So I think you have to really fire on all cylinders if you want to compete at the highest level."