Giants

Phillies fire Gabe Kapler, who has history with Giants' Farhan Zaidi

Phillies fire Gabe Kapler, who has history with Giants' Farhan Zaidi

Farhan Zaidi has a number of important decisions to make this offseason, with the search to find Bruce Bochy's replacement as Giants manager leading the list.

A number of names already have been floated as potential Bochy replacements, including A's bench coach Mark Kotsay and Dodgers special assistant Raul Ibanez. While Ibanez reportedly will not seek a managerial job at this time, another name hit the market Thursday when Gabe Kapler was fired after two disappointing seasons as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. 

Kapler might not be out of work for very long, though. Kapler worked alongside Zaidi in LA and the Giants president of baseball operations gave him a glowing recommendation, which helped him land the job in Philadelphia.

With Kapler no longer at the helm of the Phillies, he could be a candidate to come to the Bay and manage the Giants, USA Today's Bob Nightengale mentioned Thursday after Kapler was canned. 

When Zaidi and Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman were looking for a new manager in 2015, it came down to Kapler and Dave Roberts. Roberts got the job and Kapler continued to help shape the Dodgers' farm system before landing the Phillies job

[RELATED: Zaidi believes in prior experience for Giants managerial opening]

Kapler was 161-163 in two seasons in Philadelphia. Despite being given a roster deemed by many to be the class of the NL East, Kapler was unable to get the Fightin' Phils to the postseason in 2019, leading to his departure. While injuries were a big reason for the Phillies down year, Kapler faced criticism for the way he handled the pitching staff from his very first game as Phillies manager and the questions about his ability to be a successful major league manager never dissipated.

There now are eight teams with managerial openings, which will make the decision that much more difficult for Zaidi.

Kapler is a polarizing figure in the baseball world. Zaidi once quipped that "75 percent of that was the Google image search."

His stint in Philadelphia didn't do much to change the narrative surrounding him. But Kapler and Zaidi have a connection and that's at least enough to put his name firmly in the running to take the reins from Boch.

The process, however, is just getting started.

Giants get 2020 MLB Draft pick with Madison Bumgarner going to D-backs

Giants get 2020 MLB Draft pick with Madison Bumgarner going to D-backs

The Giants are looking to the future, one that will exist for them without Madison Bumgarner. There should be plenty of young players to choose from, though. 

Because the Giants made a qualifying offer to Bumgarner, they will get an additional pick in next June’s draft. They already got one when Will Smith left for Atlanta, and both picks should be somewhere in the 75-80 range, giving them four selections in the top 80 picks of the draft. The Giants will also get additional pool money to spend on their draft picks. 

This week is a tough one for the organization with Bumgarner leaving for the division-rival Diamondbacks, but the move is the second one that helps set the team up for the future. On Tuesday, the Giants took on Zack Cozart’s contract — which has about $12 million remaining — to acquire shortstop Will Wilson, the No. 15 overall pick in last year’s draft. 

Wilson joins what has become a pretty good farm system, with Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos expected to debut next year and Marco Luciano showing flashes of being a future star. Hunter Bishop, Sean Hjelle and others are also on the way.

[RELATED: Vogt reacts to Bumgarner joining D-backs]

The Giants decided not to stretch too far for Bumgarner, who reportedly will get $85 million over five years from the Diamondbacks. But if all goes according to plan, they’ll use their financial might to back the next young core. They could have traded Bumgarner in July but instead held on in case of an unlikely second-half run with the existing core, knowing that they could always make the qualifying offer at the end of the season and recoup a draft pick. 

Madison Bumgarner leaving shows Giants now in full-blown rebuild mode

Madison Bumgarner leaving shows Giants now in full-blown rebuild mode

During one of his media sessions at the Winter Meetings in San Diego, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was asked about the team being in a rebuild. Zaidi turned the question around, asking the reporter how he would define a rebuild.

This. This is a rebuild. 

Madison Bumgarner reportedly agreeing to a contract with a division rival for $85 million at the end of a week where the only team he has ever known spent $12 million to buy a first-round pick and $9 million on a pitcher who has never had sustained big league success but might turn into a back-end starter and might turn into a trade chip in July. That’s a pretty good definition of a rebuild.

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with this plan. 

The Giants brought Zaidi in because they were in an unmanageable situation. The big league team had hit new lows on the field, the farm system wasn’t producing, and far too much money had been given out to declining veterans. Zaidi was given a blank slate, and he has proven to be creative and unwavering in his commitment to making the roster better. 

He will do it, too. Executives around the league believe the Giants will be a powerhouse again in a few years, the kind of sustainable winner Zaidi helped build in Los Angeles.

But that process takes time and brings pain, and today is the most hurtful day yet for a fan base that has taken one hit after another over the last year. A rebuild is energizing when you’re behind the scenes, but it’s not easy on those actually paying for the tickets and swallowing $18 sandwiches and $13 beers.

The Giants know that, Zaidi included. Despite what many in the fan base might think, he is well-aware of how difficult this is to watch. Ownership is, too. The Giants know their fans won’t show up next year, but they’re also confident they’ll return when the rebuild is over. 

Whenever that is, we’ll see just how much damage has been done. This is not as bad as it would have been had Bumgarner signed with the Dodgers, but this is still a crushing blow for a fan base that showed its displeasure last season by simply not showing up to the ballpark.

It is fair to ask if there would have been space in a rebuild for Bumgarner. It doesn’t always have to be about stats and future budgets. Sometimes it’s simple. He’s Madison Bumgarner, a player who dragged a third title back to San Francisco and might have a statue outside the ballpark one day. And now he’s no longer a Giant. 

Sure, there’s a vision for the future, but fans just want to be entertained, and even the last three years, most Bumgarner starts remained an event.

[RELATED: Vogt reacts to Bumgarner joining D-backs]

The Giants could have done both. They are a behemoth with plenty of bad contracts coming off their books in the next two years. They could have signed Bumgarner and continued to build, but that’s not the path they will follow.

This is a rebuild, a significant one. The Giants are tearing it down with the hopes that they’ll soon build another winner and perhaps find a player as beloved as the one who walked out the door Sunday.