Farhan Zaidi believes in prior experience for Giants manager opening

Farhan Zaidi believes in prior experience for Giants manager opening

SAN FRANCISCO -- The conventional wisdom when Bruce Bochy announced his retirement was that the Giants would go the opposite route with the next manager. Modern front offices tend to hire younger, more analytically-inclined managers who can take marching orders from above. 

But Farhan Zaidi, the Giants' president of baseball operatioons, always has talked of the importance of being open-minded, and as he spoke of his first major hire, he said experience will be a big plus for any candidate. Zaidi noted that having done the job before can be a huge help early on.

"Having been around some first-time managers, I've seen that the learning curve can be pretty steep," Zaidi said. "When you are talking about a candidate who has not been in that seat and in that role, there's obviously more projecting. You don't really know what it's like to be in that seat and all the constituents that you have and what it's like to be in the dugout with a million voices in your ear about strategy and other things until you've actually done it. 

"There is a leap of faith that you have to take if you're going to hire a manager who hasn't done it before, but if nobody ever did it we would just have the same pool of candidates and nobody would ever get another opportunity."

Zaidi has hired just one manager as an executive, and Dave Roberts has worked out well in Los Angeles, winning two pennants and leading the Dodgers to four consecutive division titles. Roberts inherited a loaded roster but gets rave reviews for his communication skills and ability to handle differing personalities in a clubhouse. 

Roberts had been a bench coach with the Padres prior to getting the Dodgers job and Zaidi already has interviewed two of the Giants' bench coaches under Bochy -- Hensley Meulens and Ron Wotus. Neither has managerial experience at the big leagues, and the same holds true for guys like Raul Ibañez and Mark Kotsay, who have been rumored candidates

The most interesting name could end up being Gabe Kapler if he is let go by the Phillies. Kapler was the favorite for the Dodgers job before Roberts swooped in, and he has experienced the highs and lows in two years in Philadelphia. Perhaps he'll be more successful the second time around, as A.J. Hinch has been in Houston. 

"I think what we've seen with managers is that there's a learning curve, not just within an individual managing experience, but a lot of times guys do better and have more traction the second time around because of the lessons that they've learned," Zaidi said. "I think all of that will be factored in.

"It's certainly not disqualifying to have not done it before, but I totally recognize the value of that experience."

[RELATED: How appealing openings could impact Giants' manager search]

The Giants kicked off their interview process last week and will talk to six to eight external candidates this month. Some within the organization say Zaidi's list will be a creative one with surprising names. It likely also will include some that baseballs fans have come to know well.

When it comes to a job this big, experience is going to matter. 

Dodgers signing Madison Bumgarner would be 'great,' Clayton Kershaw says

Dodgers signing Madison Bumgarner would be 'great,' Clayton Kershaw says

Despite what Giants fans want to believe, Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw are friends.

Before many Giants-Dodgers games over the years, they could be seen talking on the field, in plain sight of everyone.

So it should come as any surprise that Kershaw would love to have Bumgarner on the Dodgers.

"I love Bum," Kershaw said Friday at a Dodgers holiday event according to Dodgers Nation. "If we signed him, that’d be great."

NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic reported Thursday, citing sources, that the Dodgers and Bumgarner have a mutual interest in a deal.

Bumgarner in Dodger blue is the worst nightmare for Giants fans. But it's a real possibility with Los Angeles missing out on top free agent Gerrit Cole.

[RELATED: Padres reportedly looking at Bumgarner]

Kershaw hasn't been able to bring a World Series to Los Angeles on his own, so of course, he would love for a postseason hero to come help him end the Dodgers' title drought.

MLB rumors: Padres 'taking close look' at free agent Madison Bumgarner

MLB rumors: Padres 'taking close look' at free agent Madison Bumgarner

The teams in the NL West appear to really like free agent Madison Bumgarner.

The Padres are the latest team to show interest in the former Giants ace.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Friday night that the Padres are "taking close looks" at Bumgarner and former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel.

Bumgarner has been linked to the Dodgers and D-backs this week. The Rockies are the only NL West foe not to be linked to the 2014 World Series MVP. The Angels, in the AL West, reportedly are also pursuing Bumgarner after missing out on top free agent Gerrit Cole.

With Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Zack Wheeler off the free-agent market, Bumgarner, Keuchel and Hyun-Jin Ryu are the best available arms remaining.

NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic reported Thursday night, citing sources, that there is mutual interest between Bumgarner and the Dodgers. The Giants are still talking to Bumgarner's representatives, according to Farhan Zaidi.

[RELATED: What we learned about Giants at Winter Meetings]

Most Giants fans would like to see Bumgarner return to San Francisco. But if he doesn't, they would probably prefer if he leaves the NL West. It would be tough to watch the longtime face of the Giants come back to pitch against his former team multiple times a year.