Giants

Farhan Zaidi, Scott Harris give Giants front office they envisioned

Farhan Zaidi, Scott Harris give Giants front office they envisioned

SAN FRANCISCO -- A year ago, as Giants ownership set out to revamp the baseball operations department, members of the organization talked about the model they had seen in Chicago. The Cubs and Dodgers were two shining examples of what a modern front office could be, with a president of baseball operations working side by side with a general manager. 

Larry Baer turned to the Dodgers to find Farhan Zaidi, his president. Zaidi turned to the Cubs to find the man who will try and help him rebuild the Giants. On Sunday the Giants announced that Scott Harris, previously the assistant GM for the Cubs, will be their general manager

Harris has been viewed as a rising star in baseball circles, having spent most of his professional career as part of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer's inner circle in Chicago. He was part of the group that finally put together a championship roster in Chicago, and Zaidi believes Harris' skill set will mesh with his own. In Chicago, Harris served as director of baseball operations and then assistant general manager. 

"The combination of his breadth of experience, contributions towards building a championship-winning perennial contender in Chicago, and his Bay Area roots made him an ideal fit," Zaidi said in a statement.

Harris, 32, is a Redwood City native who went to UCLA and then got his MBA from Northwestern while working for the Cubs. As he explained to The Athletic earlier this year, Harris got into baseball by writing letters to executives around the sport. Al Rosen, a former Giants executive, responded and became a mentor. 

Harris started with the Reds and then worked for the commissioner's office. He joined the Cubs as a 25-year-old and got his MBA in part by flying back to Chicago from spring training every weekend so he could grind through Saturday classes. 

With the Cubs, Harris assisted in player acquisitions, contract negotiations and evaluations and oversaw the organization's research and development department and salary arbitration process. Those who have worked with him describe Harris as an extremely hard worker, but also someone who is easy to get along with and laid-back in general, which should fit well with the front office that Zaidi is building.

Zaidi was part of a similar group in Los Angeles, where the Dodgers used their resources to put together a talented front office that had complementary skills. In recent years, Giants officials marveled at the size of the analytics department that worked near the visiting clubhouse at Dodger Stadium, and the Giants appear on their way to mimicking that kind of staff. 

The Cubs had a similar setup, and in Zaidi and Harris, the Giants have two top executives who have been on the front line for two organizations that are as advanced as any in the game. The Giants had plenty of success with the previous regime, winning more titles this decade than any other franchise, but it became clear that they had fallen behind in a lot of areas. 

They have not fully lost their luster, though. Harris always was headed for a GM seat, and in Zaidi and the Giants, he saw an opportunity to work for an organization that should be a perennial power. The Giants have the resources to do anything they want, but they had stopped developing stars.

Harris helped do just that in Chicago, and he'll now be a huge part of the braintrust in San Francisco.

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There's one more significant hire to make, and the Giants expect to announce a manager early this week, adding a third piece who now will work alongside Zaidi and Harris. The Giants have been remarkably quiet about their plans, but sources said that in recent days Astros bench coach Joe Espada has emerged as the favorite.

Perhaps the Harris announcement is a sign of things to come. Harris still was working for the Cubs last month when Espada finished second to eventual managerial choice David Ross. 

Watch McCovey Cove Dave lose two baseballs during Giants-Rangers game

Watch McCovey Cove Dave lose two baseballs during Giants-Rangers game

Global pandemic or not, some Giants fans refuse to give up one of the organization's most unique traditions.

A group of fans has continued taking kayaks out into McCovey Cove, just over the right-field wall at Oracle Park, hoping to snag one of the elusive splash hits off the bat of a Giants slugger.

However, even if the home run comes off the bat of an opponent like Texas Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, fans will go to great lengths to secure the ball.

[RELATED: Aruba Prime Minister wished Tromp well after Giants call-up]

You can see one of the Giants' more prominent fans, McCovey Cove Dave, jump (or more accurately slide) out of his kayak in an effort to secure Choo's two-run home run. Not only does he not get the home run ball from Choo, but another ball that slips out of Dave's kayak ended up in the hands of a female fan.

As you can see from Dave's Twitter account Sunday, social distancing did not seem to be a priority for those who flocked to McCovey Cove for the final time before a 10-game road trip.

Nevertheless, it's good to see Giants fans trying to make the most of the 2020 season, one in which no fans will be admitted to any MLB games as the league tries to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Chadwick Tromp got text from Aruba Prime Minister after Giants call-up

Chadwick Tromp got text from Aruba Prime Minister after Giants call-up

Chadwick Tromp has had a whirlwind week. The Giants rookie made his MLB debut on Wednesday, got the first two hits of his MLB career on Friday and hammered his first big-league home run on Sunday. Tromp also made history in the process, as he became just the ninth player from the tiny island nation of Aruba to play in MLB.

The young catcher helped the Giants win an important home series against the Texas Rangers at Oracle Park. Following Sunday's loss in the series finale, Tromp discussed the reaction to his promotion to the Giants' active roster in Aruba.

"So when I got called up," Tromp told reporters via Zoom Sunday. "The Prime Minister of Aruba texted me, and also our Minister of Sports also texted me and congratulated me. That was nice, it makes me feel like I'm doing the right thing and moving in the right direction."

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Tromp's first MLB home run was an absolute rocket and came at a critical moment in the game, tying the game up in the bottom of the sixth inning.

He's been in the minor leagues since 2013, beginning his professional career within the Cincinnati Reds organization. Playing just 26 games in Triple-A last season with the Sacramento River Cats, Tromp impressed the Giants' staff enough in Summer Camp to earn a spot on the 2020 active roster once his sore hamstring healed up.

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Tromp discussed more of how the people back home in Aruba celebrated his MLB debut following Friday night's game.

"The community back home, they're going nuts, I'm going to be honest with you," Tromp said. "It's crazy, people are celebrating, the whole island is basically celebrating. I love it. We're such a small island and this is very important to them because it puts us on a bigger scale and shows the world that a small island can also do big things in life."

Aruba's population is just over 100,000 total. Along with fellow native and Boston Red Sox infielder Xander Bogaerts, Tromp is representing the island nation with pride in this bizarre 2020 season.