Dodgers won't stand in way as Giants wait for Farhan Zaidi's decision


Dodgers won't stand in way as Giants wait for Farhan Zaidi's decision

CARLSBAD — The doors to a banquet room at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa opened at 2 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon and general managers from around Major League Baseball strolled into a scheduled session with reporters. 

The Giants did not have an employee present. Their general manager was fired at the end of September, and they still have not named a replacement. 

The Dodgers did not have their general manager in the room, either. Farhan Zaidi wasn’t even in Carlsbad on Tuesday. The Dodgers GM was trying to decide whether he wanted to take over a rival baseball operations department. 

Multiple league sources confirmed reports that the Giants have offered Zaidi, a longtime A’s and Dodgers employee, the title of President of Baseball Operations. That position does not currently exist in the organization, but Larry Baer has spent more than a month criss-crossing the country in search of fresh blood to revamp the organization’s baseball operations department. Baer has settled on Zaidi as his top choice, and now two organizations are playing a waiting game. 

Andrew Friedman, the President of Baseball Operations for the Dodgers, took Zaidi’s place in front of reporters and indicated that the organization would not stand in the way of an executive who wanted to join the Giants. 

“We have a longstanding policy of supporting employees,” Friedman said. “We feel like we’ve lost a lot of employees the last two years but I think a lot of that is a result of the success we’ve had.”

The National League champions have already lost their third base coach and hitting coach to other organizations this offseason. Many around the game believe the GM will be next, although Friedman would not address Zaidi’s plans on Tuesday.

“Farhan news is not appropriate to comment on right now,” he said. “We’re going to stick to Dodger-related news. I don’t know what Farhan is going to do.”

For Zaidi, a Cal grad and former assistant GM with the A’s, this is surely a tough decision. The Giants can bring him back to the Bay Area and hand him the keys to his own department. Zaidi never had that kind of power in Oakland and does not in Los Angeles. The Dodgers can do nothing to try and sway him but offer more money, and given how deliberate Baer has been with this search, salary concerns would not get in the way if Zaidi indicated he was ready to take over in San Francisco. 

The Dodgers have another card to play, though. They’re simply in a much better position to win -- now and in the future -- than the Giants. One source said Tuesday that some candidates for the position were concerned by the Giants’ roster and the idea that the easiest way to rebuild would be to come in and immediately become known as the man who traded Madison Bumgarner. 

That’s a move Zaidi may have to make. For now, he has a much bigger decision: Stay in Los Angeles or run the show in San Francisco.

MLB free agency debate: Where will Manny Machado sign this offseason?

MLB free agency debate: Where will Manny Machado sign this offseason?

Editor's note: Each day this week, Giants insider Alex Pavlovic and A's reporter Ben Ross will debate where one of the top five free agents might land this offseason. Wednesday's free agent to discuss is Manny Machado, a four-time All-Star infielder who has spent the last half of the 2018 season with the Dodgers.

ALEX: Ben, people have been looking forward to this free agent class for years, but it ended up being a little underwhelming. Clayton Kershaw didn't opt out, guys like Dallas Keuchel, Josh Donaldson and Andrew McCutchen dropped off a bit, and former All-Stars like Hunter Pence have totally fallen off the map.

But it's still a historic class with two young superstars at the top -- Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. We talked about Harper on Monday. Machado is the better all-around player, but there's a cloud hanging over his head after his postseason behavior.

[RELATED: Debate -- Where will Brantley sign?]

Personally, I don't think that'll cost him money. Aroldis Chapman got paid and Roberto Osuna got traded to a contender. Machado will get his big deal somewhere. What do you think?

BEN: Agreed. Machado is a special talent. He’s already a four-time All-Star and still just 25 years old. He is going to get his $300+ million contract from someone. So who are the contenders? I’m thinking the Yankees and Phillies are the frontrunners.

I don’t see him staying with the Dodgers, but maybe the Angels try to make a splash? How about the Cubs or White Sox? Who am I missing?

ALEX: I do wonder if the Mets will get involved if their new GM can convince them to spend. The Angels are a nice darkhorse for a lot of these guys. Some people have speculated he could go home to Miami.

But it sounds like the Yankees and Phillies have been out in front of this one. I'm going to lean towards the Phillies, because they have to get Harper or Machado, and I think Machado is the better fit. What's the official Ben Ross prediction? 

BEN: I've thought all along he would end up with the Yankees and I'll stick with that. I know there are reports they're concerned with Machado's comments about hustling -- not to mention his other antics -- but I don't think they'll be scared off. They have the opportunity to put Machado, Stanton, and Judge all in the same lineup. I'll say Machado gets 12 years, $325 million.

ALEX: I'm going to take the under. If the Yankees aren't that serious, there aren't enough major suitors out there to push his market where he wants it to end up. I'll say the Phillies get their guy, but at $261 million over nine years.

Editor's note: This week across the NBC Sports Regional Networks, we'll be taking an in-depth look at some of the top free agents in baseball. Wednesday is dedicated to free agent infielder Manny Machado.

'No red flags' for six injured Giants six weeks into the offseason


'No red flags' for six injured Giants six weeks into the offseason

SAN FRANCISCO -- A few hours before the Giants named Farhan Zaidi their new president of baseball operations, assistant general manager Jeremy Shelley stood in the lobby of the Omni Resort in Carlsbad and looked down at a notecard full of names. He had been asked about the large collection of Giants who finished the season on crutches or in slings. 

"No red flags," he said.

Zaidi's first order of business will be to build depth for a team that was crushed by injuries in 2018. That effort will be helped by the fact that all of the rehabbing Giants appear to be doing well. They're all on schedule, or in some cases, a little ahead.

It starts with catcher Buster Posey, of course. He's off his crutches and walking normally two and a half months after major hip surgery. Posey has been rehabbing five days per week in the Bay Area, and remains on pace to start baseball work in January.

Shelley said Posey "definitely" will be ready for activity in spring training, as the Giants had anticipated all along.

When Posey shows up in Scottsdale, he'll at some point run into Johnny Cueto. The right-hander is back in the Dominican Republic right now after months of rehab work in Arizona. He'll continue physical therapy at his offseason home and return to Scottsdale in February to begin a throwing program. There's still a chance that Cueto, who had Tommy John surgery, can return for a few starts at the end of next season.

First baseman Brandon Belt, who had a knee cleanup, is off his crutches and doing well. Steven Duggar (shoulder surgery), the likely Opening Day center fielder, just finished his rehab work in Arizona. He'll return to be checked later this month and then start a hitting program the first week of January. Austin Slater went down the last week of the season with an elbow sprain, but the young outfielder has started a throwing program and also is on schedule. 

Finally, there's a player who never made it back to the big leagues after a concussion. Shelley said Mac Williamson was cleared of symptoms in September and has had a normal offseason.

"He should be on schedule to compete for a job in spring training," Shelley said.

Williamson is out of options, so next spring is a big one for a player who looked headed for a breakout before he went down.