SAN FRANCISCO -- When the Giants hired Farhan Zaidi a year ago, the expectation was that the organization would finally commit to a rebuild of sorts. But in his introductory press conference, Zaidi spoke passionately about playing meaningful baseball as deep into the 2019 season as possible.
This was not going to be a tank job, and for a while, it kind of worked. Thanks to a stunning July run, the Giants stayed in the Wild Card race through the end of August. They were 65-65 on Aug. 26 and just four games out of a playoff spot. The Milwaukee Brewers, who did end up making the postseason, were just two games better.
Ultimately the Giants finished at 77-85. They were third in the NL West, which was perhaps a bit of a surprise, but also 29 games behind the Dodgers and 12 games out of a Wild Card spot.
When he sat down with the media Tuesday, Zaidi was asked if he feels the organization is where he had hoped it would be one year into a new regime.
"I would say we feel good about the progress over the last year," Zaidi said. "I guess it's hard to compare it to expectations. I do feel like as an organization we were juggling a few different objectives this season, and for good reason."
"We wanted to continue to compete -- it was Boch's last year with a group of veteran players that we have. But we also recognized the need to regenerate talent a little bit and surround our veteran group with some younger players that could bring some energy and added production."
There was a balance. The Giants couldn't go full youth in Bochy's final year, but they did succeed with that second goal, finding some help for the future. Rookie Mike Yastrzemski led Giants position players in WAR, serving as Zaidi's San Francisco version of Max Muncy, and should start next season in one corner outfield spot. Mauricio Dubon -- 25 -- looks like a keeper and the potential opening day starter at second base.
While Jaylin Davis didn't have a great Giants debut, team officials felt it was necessary for him to get his feet wet and they're excited about the power he showed in the minors and his plate discipline at the big league level.
Austin Slater finished on a down note but showed improvement over the course of the year. Throw Alex Dickerson and another year of Kevin Pillar in with those two and the Giants are in much better shape in the outfield than a year ago.
On the pitching side, Tyler Beede and Logan Webb showed flashes and got more opportunities than expected. They'll enter next year as candidates to be in the season-opening rotation.
Shaun Anderson was moved to the bullpen, where there's plenty of youth and some guys -- led by Tyler Rogers after a huge September -- who will be in the mix next spring.
"At times last offseason, I said for us to have a successful season we're going to have to have some guys emerge that our fans don't necessarily know their names and we may not even know their names yet," Zaidi said. "I feel like, looking back now, we've seen some of those players emerge who are going to be part of our future who a year ago we didn't anticipate.
"From that standpoint, I feel good about us graduating some players to the Major League roster who are going to help us."