SAN FRANCISCO -- As he sat at the podium Tuesday and talked about all the work ahead of him, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi laughed while telling a story about 2014. Zaidi was a rising star in the industry and had just been hired by Andrew Friedman, a similar talent, to serve as general manager of the Dodgers.
"There was a lot of talk that this seems like a game of title inflation," Zaidi recalled. "'Nobody ever needed a president and a GM before, how's this going to work?' I feel in five years baseball has come a long way because there's a tremendous amount of alarm that we don't have a GM at this point. I think it shows the evolution of front offices and how sophisticated, and at times complex and involved, running a baseball operations department is."
Giants officials got that sense every time they walked into Dodger Stadium in recent years. To get to the visiting clubhouse you have to walk past the old clubhouse, which now houses the organization's massive analytics department. Baseball operations has become big business, and the Giants -- who mostly have had the same group in place for a couple decades -- plan to keep up.
After being somewhat coy about the process during the season, Zaidi came out Tuesday and made it clear he will hire a general manager. He called it a high priority and said he would move as quickly as possible, but insisted "there's no favorite, let alone somebody who has either (the GM or manager) job in the bag."
Some in the Giants organization might disagree. There's a sense that Zaidi has a clear favorite for his GM after a year of thinking about it, and it's possible that Billy Owens -- an assistant GM in Oakland -- is that guy. Owens, who worked with Zaidi previously, was in consideration for the job last offseason but the Giants ultimately didn't make a hire.
No matter who the Giants choose, it's clear the new GM will have considerable influence on all areas of baseball operations. Zaidi said he views the front office hierarchy as "sharing the load of managing the overall operation." The Giants aren't necessarily looking for someone known for excelling in one specific area.
"I think by not defining it specifically, it opens up the candidate pool," Zaidi said. "Whether that's somebody that has experience and expertise in scouting or player development, administration, whatever their strengths are, hopefully, we can complement each other and work well."
That person will also have to work well with the new manager, although it's possible a GM won't be hired in time to take part in managerial interviews. Zaidi said the processes would be done concurrently.
"You want to know how the GM is going to work with the manager but you also want to know how the manager is going to work with the GM," he said. "It's a little bit of a 'chicken and egg,' but we will very much have it in mind that those two are going to have to have a close relationship and we have to have confidence they're going to be able to work together."