How Giants used Cubs connection to get Bryant at deadline

Kris Bryant

Networking is the key to success in many areas of the professional world. Prior relationships can lead to new job offers, exciting opportunities or any number of things that would be improbable without that previous connection.

The MLB trade deadline, as it turns out, is no different, and it was an established relationship that helped the Giants land their big fish at the 11th hour on July 30.

Giants general manager Scott Harris spent seven years in the baseball operations department with the Chicago Cubs before heading to San Francisco, including serving as assistant general manager under Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. Harris believes that his relationship with Hoyer, who now serves as the Cubs president of baseball operations, helped bring Kris Bryant to the Bay.

“I think so," Harris told KNBR's "Murph and Mac". "I think you have an opportunity to be more blunt with people you’ve worked with because you have trust on both sides. I think [Cubs GM Jed Hoyer] and I were pretty blunt with each other throughout the week with guys who were off-limits and how we were going to match up to make this happen.” “I feel very fortunate to have a group of players in the clubhouse who put us in this position to have the best record going into the deadline, and then I feel very fortunate that we were able to grab a piece to give us a boost down the stretch and Tony Watson, who has been a huge presence in our bullpen for a number of years and we’re lucky to get him back.”


Harris and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi have turned the Giants into contenders faster than most anticipated. In position as a realistic World Series contender, Harris felt the pressure to improve the team and targeted Bryant as someone who could help manager Gabe Kapler's club.

“I think there’s always pressure going into the deadline," Harris said. "It was a challenge for us this year because we felt that we had an evenly talented team that was performing in all facets of the game. Given the way [Gabe Kapler] deploys players each night, there was only a narrow [list] of players that could help us, and [Kris Bryant] was one of those players. He stuck out as a guy who is a rare combination of versatility and impact-performance.” “His versatility could help give Kap more options and to help manage the workloads of our veterans. I think we felt a little added pressure knowing that he was the guy that was the perfect fit. I think as the minutes counted down towards the deadline we felt like we were getting pretty close with the Cubs. I have a strong relationship with a bunch of guys over there in Chicago, so I felt like I could read them pretty well and I felt like they could read me pretty well. This wasn’t one of those that slips in a second before the deadline, I think we had a good feeling heading into the last hour that we were going to be able to get this done. I’m glad we were able to execute right before the deadline.”
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Bryant had a goosebump-inducing first game as a Giant on Sunday, in which he launched a solo home run in a 5-3 win over the Houston Astros.

The 2016 NL MVP gives the Giants another right-handed power bat who can play multiple positions and has World Series experience.

Harris had Bryant targeted as the player he wanted to add at the deadline, and his connection with the Cubs helped get it done.

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