Giants fire GM Bobby Evans; Brian Sabean expected to return next year

Giants fire GM Bobby Evans; Brian Sabean expected to return next year

SAN FRANCISCO -- The planned offseason shakeup at AT&T Park began in a big way Monday.

General manager Bobby Evans was let go, kick-starting what is expected to be a significant shift in the organization's baseball operations department. Evans, who had one year remaining on his contract, was second in command on the baseball ops side to Brian Sabean, who is expected to return for the final year of his contract.

Evans was informed of the decision Monday afternoon. He said he was proud of the work he did to help the Giants win three World Series titles, and appeared to take the news in stride.

“I got designated for assignment,” Evans said. “We’ll see what’s next, what happens on waivers.”

The Giants said in a statement that Evans will be reassigned, with responsibilities to be determined.

“I want to thank Bobby for his tireless work on behalf of the Giants,” president and CEO Larry Baer said in the statement. “He played an important role in our team’s success throughout his tenure, which includes three World Series championships, four NL pennants and eight playoff appearances. We look forward to new leadership to continue our historic record of success.”

Added Sabean in the statement: “I take great pride in the longstanding continuity of our baseball department. I want to express my thanks to Bobby for all he has given to the Giants over the past 25 years and for his countless contributions. I’ll be working closely with with Larry as the organization finds its next leader of baseball operations.”

Evans was in his 25th season with the organization and his fourth as GM. He was just the eighth person to hold that title since the franchise moved to San Francisco, and his tenure was not as successful as his run as assistant GM. Evans had his hand all over the building of a dynasty, and he had significant power in personnel decisions even before he took over as GM in 2015. From that point on, the moves didn't work out nearly as well. 

The Giants have made a series of high-profile moves since Evans took over and whiffed a high percentage of the time. The $62 million Mark Melancon deal has blown up in the Giants' faces. Johnny Cueto was given $130 million, and while he was a star in his first season, the next two were injury-riddled, and he'll miss all of next season after having Tommy John surgery. The $90 million deal for Jeff Samardzija hasn't worked out as hoped, and he's also currently injured. The Giants had to dump players like Denard Span and Austin Jackson just to clear salary. 

The most notable trade of the Evans tenure was the one for Matt Moore, and the Giants eventually had to dump Moore's salary, too. In addition, they dealt away popular third baseman Matt Duffy, who has had a good year for the Rays and left a hole in the Giants' clubhouse. 

Farhan Zaidi says Giants keeping options open in pursuit of new closer


Farhan Zaidi says Giants keeping options open in pursuit of new closer

The Giants lost an All-Star early in free agency when closer Will Smith signed with his hometown Atlanta Braves last week.

Smith's departure left a clear void in San Francisco's bullpen, as he tied for fifth in MLB with a career-high 31 saves in 2019. Replacing Smith is a clear priority for Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, but he told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on Tuesday that he is in no rush to name a new closer.

"We've got some time to figure that out," Zaidi said on "The TK Show" podcast. "I don't think we need to decide that before Thanksgiving here, but one of the benefits for us of having made some of the trades we made at the deadline is it gave us the opportunity to see some of the younger relievers in our organization. Guys like Tyler Rogers, Jandel Gustave and Sam Coonrod. [These are guys] that could work their way into the picture and work their way into late-inning [situations] in 2020."

Rogers, Gustave and Coonrod were bright spots as rookies last season. None of the trio pitched more than 30 innings, but each showed potential pitching out of the bullpen in August and September. Rogers pitched the fewest innings of the three (17 2/3), but was worth nearly a win above replacement in his appearances, according to Baseball Reference's metrics.

[RELATED: Former Giants hitting coach Powell takes job in Japan]

No matter which of the three emerges, the Giants are going to have a different look in the late innings next season. That could include a free-agent acquisition as well, according to Zaidi.

"Our closer may be in the organization right now," Zaidi continued. "We're going to continue to shop around and see what options are out there, but we at least like the depth that we have in our group of relievers."

Former Giants hitting coach Alonzo Powell takes new job in Japan

Former Giants hitting coach Alonzo Powell takes new job in Japan

SAN FRANCISCO -- As Farhan Zaidi and the rest of the front office started the search for a new manager, the coaching staff was given time to look for new jobs. Hitting coach Alonso Powell ended up across the ocean, but his new job will still be a familiar one. 

Powell will join the staff of the Chunichi Dragons, a Japanese team based in Nagoya. He played for the Dragons for six seasons, hitting .355 in one of them and won three straight batting titles while starring in Nagoya from 1992-97. Powell is reportedly already working with the team:

The Giants had kept quiet about Powell's status, but they are expected to have nearly a completely new staff under Gabe Kapler, who was hired last week. Ron Wotus will return as third base coach, but he was the only holdover to attend Kapler's press conference. 

Bullpen coach Matt Herges has already joined the Arizona Diamondbacks as pitching coach and former bench coach Hensley Meulens has been offered a job by the Marlins. Meulens was also thought to be a candidate for the Mets bench coach job, and he has not officially been announced as a staff member for the Marlins. It's unclear where pitching coach Curt Young, assistant hitting coach Rick Schu, and first base coach Jose Alguacil currently stand.

[RELATED: Harris details meaningful trip to Wrigley bleachers

Powell, a Bay Area native, came to the Giants after the 2017 season with the task of getting an aging lineup to hit for more power. There were success stories, and Powell was popular within the organization, but he was unable to squeeze much more out of a veteran group. Powell came from Houston and brought some new methods to the Giants, and they're expected to go even further in that direction. The addition of Kapler, along with former Cubs executive Scott Harris, indicates the Giants will dive even deeper into analytics.