How Scott Harris' love of transactions made him right fit for Giants

How Scott Harris' love of transactions made him right fit for Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris had met just once before Zaidi started his search for a general manager. Their initial meeting last month lasted five hours, and it’s easy to see how they hit it off.

When he was hired last November, Zaidi talked a lot about making the organization incrementally better with every transaction, even if the move was a small one. When he was introduced as the new GM earlier this month, Harris said something similar after he was asked what he learned from working for the Chicago Cubs. 

"One of the reasons why these jobs are so inspiring is there are endless opportunities to compete, whether it's blockbuster trades or even those smaller back-page minor league trades,” Harris said at the time. “Major league free agency but also minor league free agency, first-round picks in the draft, but also 17th-round picks and 23rd-round picks. They just taught me to stay open-minded no matter what, to find talent at all corners of this league and just compete as hard as you can to go acquire that talent.”

Zaidi’s methods were on display in his first year, as the Giants constantly churned the back end of their 40-man roster and used an NL-record 64 players. A lot of the minor moves ended up making a major impact. 

Mike Yastrzemski was picked up in a deal nobody thought much of at the end of the spring and ended up being one of the National League’s best rookies. Alex Dickerson turned the Giants’ season around briefly after he was acquired for a minor league pitcher. Trevor Gott was a big part of the bullpen’s success early on; he was acquired from the Nationals for cash considerations. A lot of the other moves the Giants made were designed to get better players onto their Triple-A roster. 

[RELATED: Three under-the-radar free-agent possibilities for Giants]

Harris and the Cubs had much more high-end talent than the Giants, but they still turned over their roster quite a bit. The Cubs used 52 players last season, one more than the previous Giants franchise record. 

With Zaidi and Harris now running things together, you can expect much more of the same as they try to get the Giants back into contention. 

Bruce Bochy reveals favorite Madison Bumgarner memory as Giants manager


Bruce Bochy reveals favorite Madison Bumgarner memory as Giants manager

Bruce Bochy spent a lot of time with Madison Bumgarner over the last decade. San Francisco's former manager was there in the dugout for Bumgarner's MLB debut and his last game as a Giant. 

Despite all of Bumgarner's World Series heroics, it's fitting that Bochy's favorite memory of the former Giants ace comes off the field. And it's about bear hunting of all things.

"Well my favorite -- I'm pausing for a second because I can't tell my favorite," Bochy recently said to ESPN's Buster Olney on the "Baseball Tonight Podcast." "It's a bear hunting trip and I swore to secrecy on that. Hopefully he'll let me tell it one day." 

Bochy's favorite Bumgarner story certainly fits, too. It's more about the left-hander's unmatched mentality than anything else. 

"On the baseball side, my favorite of course is 2014," Bochy said. "The incredible run that he had between the wild-card game and of course what he did in Game 7 [of the World Series]. It was after Game 5, he had just shut out the Royals and I had switched it a little bit, because I felt like we just had to go into Kansas City up a game instead of down a game.

"I was taking some heat for not pitching him in Game 4 and then starting him in Game 7, but [Ryan] Vogelsong started Game 4 against their fifth starter and I wanted Bumgarner to pitch against [James] Shields." 

Listen and subscribe to the Giants Insider Podcast:

It clearly was the right decision to start Bumgarner in Game 5. He threw a complete game shutout in San Francisco while striking out eight in a 4-1 Giants win. What he did in Bochy's office before traveling to Kansas City, was even more vintage MadBum. 

"He shuts out the Royals and now we're going to Kansas City. We're up 3-2, we're a game away from being the World Series champions and guys are starting to pack because we've got to go to KC and he comes into my office," Bochy said. "He goes, 'You know I just wanna tell you, if you wanna win this thing, you're gonna put me out there. You're gonna start me.' I says, 'Start you when?' And he goes, 'After [my] day off.' He meant Game 6.

"I said, 'No, I'm not starting you with one day's rest!' He goes, 'I'm telling you, if you wanna win this thing.' And I said, 'Well, we haven't set the pitcher for Game 7. Right now it's [Tim] Hudson.' He looked at me and said, 'No, no. You gotta start Huddy. I want him to start this game. But you have me ready if you wanna win this thing.' " 

The rest is history. Hudson lasted just 1 2/3 innings before Jeremy Affeldt relieved him for 2 1/3 innings. And then, Bumgarner opened the bullpen gates and gave us all one of the greatest performances in baseball history. 

Bumgarner threw the final five innings and didn't allow an earned run as the Giants outlasted the Royals, 3-2, to win their third World Series title in five years. His masterpiece on the mound forever will be remembered in the history of the Giants and baseball as a whole. 

To put it in context, Bumgarner had a 0.43 ERA in the 2014 World Series. Here's how the rest of the starting staff fared: Tim Hudson (6.14 ERA), Ryan Vogelsong (9.82) and Jake Peavy (12.79).

[RELATED: Giants, fans got Oracle Park's design right, and here's why]

"It's just this guy who had this maniacal focus on winning that World Series, and he wasn't gonna hold back on his feelings," Bochy said on Bumgarner.

Bochy's two favorite Bumgarner stories, both on and off the field, truly couldn't be any better.

Giants' Mike Krukow, Duane Kuiper tell hilarious Will Clark sushi story

Giants' Mike Krukow, Duane Kuiper tell hilarious Will Clark sushi story

Not everyone has a taste for sushi, especially Will Clark.

The Giants legend is the guy who simply orders a steak at dinner -- he’s simple and to the point.

Giants broadcasters Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper told a funny story in a recent interview with Giants reporter Amy Gutierrez from a night out at dinner with "The Thrill."

Clark glanced at the menu at the sushi restaurant and was nice about it of course, but it wasn’t his cup of tea. Where Clark is from in Louisiana, they refer to that type of food as “bait.”

That's fair. 

The Giants announced they will retire Clark’s No. 22 jersey this season -- and rightfully so.

His sweet swing and swagger made him one of the organization’s most well-known players to ever wear orange and black.

[RELATED: PlayStation, Zoom helping Giants work in hiatus]

Clark is a six-time All-Star selection, a Gold Glove Award winner and two-time Silver Slugger Award recipient across his 15-year career, eight of them with the Giants.

A great career, just perhaps no salmon for him in the future? 

Listen and subscribe to the Giants Insider Podcast: