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.
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.