Giants

Giants working to get GM in place as search for new manager begins

Giants working to get GM in place as search for new manager begins

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."

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

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."

Giants' Mauricio Dubon needs jersey number after Gabe Kapler took his

Giants' Mauricio Dubon needs jersey number after Gabe Kapler took his

Gabe Kapler had his introductory press conference as the Giants' new manager, and he's chosen his uniform number as well.

The skipper has chosen No. 19 to sport this season, which means young infielder Mauricio Dubon will have to choose a new number -- and he needs your help.

He recently took to Twitter and asked what number he should wear now that he has to make the switch: 

No. 21 appeared to stand out from a Milwaukee Brewer's fan account, since Honduras became a country in 1821. Dubon was born in Honduras in 1994 (sorry to make you guys feel old).

[RELATED: Dubon gets engaged at Disneyland Paris]

Five-time All-Star second baseman Jeff Kent also sported the number with San Francisco.

We shall see ... 

Giants continue Triples Alley construction, moving bullpens off field

Giants continue Triples Alley construction, moving bullpens off field

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gabe Kapler and Scott Harris both went through the same drill earlier this week, standing near the home dugout at Oracle Park as a team photographer grabbed shots from their first days on the job. Behind the two new members of the brain trust, construction workers continued the work that started last month.

The Giants plan to make an official announcement about the changing dimensions of their ballpark, and the new locations of the bullpen, soon, but those who attended the press conferences this week -- and a TopGolf event the park hosted last week -- got a sneak preview. 

A chunk of the bleacher seats in right center have already been ripped out to make room for the new bullpens, and some seats have also been taken out in left center to accommodate other changes to the ballpark. But team president and CEO Larry Baer said the changes won't be drastic for hitters. 

"Triples Alley will still be Triples Alley, just with some refinements," Baer said. 

The Giants are still figuring out some of the exact details, but they know the bullpens will be side-by-side in center and right center. The kale garden will remain, although it sounds like there will be some changes to the dimensions out there because the center-field wall is coming in about six feet, which should please hitters. 

The deepest part of the park -- the nemesis for Brandon Belt and other left-handed hitters -- is 421 feet and will ultimately be closer to 410 feet when the construction is done, the Giants think. The Giants put a bar underneath the new scoreboard last season and plan to have additional changes, including a terrace, out there this year, continuing a trend around the game -- seen across the bridge in Oakland -- of having more gathering spots for fans. 

[RELATED: What Kapler learned from Phillies tenure]

Even as they held two press conferences last week, the Giants remained coy about their exact plans for the dimensions, but they expect to take out about 400 seats.

Some of those may be made up for in other spots. There is a short wall separating the old bullpens from the first row of seats and about 80 feet of that wall has been taken down on both sides of the park, which would seem to indicate that the Giants are going to add some premium seating in some of that territory.