Giants

What the search for new Giants front-office executive could look like

What the search for new Giants front-office executive could look like

SAN FRANCISCO — This is not how the Giants hoped to spend October. 

For a second straight year, the team’s top decision-makers will spend the month conducting interviews rather than watching postseason games. Last October, the Giants underwent coaching changes. This time around it's the general manager who is gone, and Larry Baer and Brian Sabean are looking for a new head of baseball operations to carry the department forward. Bobby Evans was just the eighth person to hold the GM title since the franchise moved to San Francisco, so the process is a new one for ownership, and Baer said he plans to be meticulous. 

The Giants hope to have a new executive in place by the GM meetings in early November and certainly will have their search done well in advance of December’s winter meetings in Las Vegas. Until then, Sabean will handle any day-to-day responsibilities. 

“I don’t want to set a timetable,” Baer said Monday. “We have the benefit of Brian being able to steer the ship here until we have somebody.”

Given the timing of the Evans move, the Giants can afford to be patient. There are no major decisions to be made until late November when 40-man moves must be made and contracts must be tendered to arbitration-eligible players. While free agency starts soon after the World Series ends, few players sign before Thanksgiving, and the Giants don't have any major decisions to make with their own free agents. 

There’s another reason for the Giants to be patient, too. Their wish list is expected to include several executives on teams headed to the postseason, and often times it’s difficult to conduct interviews until a team is eliminated. In the meantime, ownership is busy building the list. Initially, the Giants expect to hire just one executive to report directly to ownership, although over time that person surely would want to revamp the baseball operations department. 

Baer said Monday that he would be open to becoming the first team to have a female run the baseball operations department, and there are several highly qualified candidates, including MLB’s Kim Ng and the Yankees’ Jean Afterman, a San Francisco native. 

The Giants also are expected to look at executives who currently serve as the No. 2 for successful organizations. Often times you’re not given permission to interview someone for a lateral move, but because this will be a head of baseball operations role, the team could potentially poach a GM from an organization like Tampa Bay or Atlanta, for example, arguing that the Giants’ job is a promotion. 

The initial list also will include those who have served as general managers in the recent past but no longer do so. Ownership believes this is an all-in, 24/7 job, and there is some preference to hire a person who has previous experience with the demands of leading a baseball operations department.

MLB rumors: Nationals plan to make strong push to re-sign Bryce Harper

MLB rumors: Nationals plan to make strong push to re-sign Bryce Harper

There was the Summer of George, and now there's going to be the Winter of Bryce. 

Bryce Harper is about to dominate the MLB offseason with rumors swirling until he either re-signs with the Nationals or begins a new chapter in his career. The big question on everyone's mind is if the 26-year-old is ready to move on from Washington D.C. 

Before Harper makes his decision, the Nationals are not ready to move on from the 2015 NL MVP. Once the offseason begins after the World Series, the Nationals will make a strong push to re-sign their star outfielder, reports Jon Heyman

It's anyone's guess if the Nationals can convince Harper to stay after a season in which the team disappointed everyone by missing the postseason with an 82-80 record. But, the front office has had success with Harper's agent Scott Boras in the past. 

Boras was able to get a $210 million deal for Max Scherzer from the Nats and $175 million for Stephen Strasburg. However, people believe Boras and Harper will be looking for a deal as high as $400 million. 

After the final regular season game of the 2018 season, Harper became visibly emotional when talking about the Nationals and the team's fans. "If I'm back, I'd love to be," Harper said. "If I'm not, then we'll see what happens."

If he's not back, is San Francisco Harper's next destination? In September, the Giants were given the eighth-best odds to sign him and Harper has shown multiple times on social media how much he loves The City

Strap in Giants fans, the Winter of Bryce has just begun. 

Giants Review: In limited time, Avelino was 'a breath of fresh air'

avelino.jpg
AP

Giants Review: In limited time, Avelino was 'a breath of fresh air'

SAN FRANCISCO — Abiatal Avelino had just 11 at-bats in the big leagues in 2018, three of which resulted in singles. He left a much larger impact on the front office, though. 

When Larry Baer, Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy met with beat reporters before the season’s final day, Bochy smiled as he recalled a conversation he had with the rookie in his office a day earlier. Sabean called Avelino “a beautiful young kid” and “very passionate.”

“He has a lot of fun playing the game, and that’s half the battle,” Sabean said. “He’s an interesting personality and I mean that in a positive way. He was a breath of fresh air, even though he didn’t play that much.”

Giants coaches noticed how Avelino seemed to grow two feet the second he got that first hit out of the way, brimming with confidence in subsequent at-bats. They noticed that he was often the first one out of the dugout, greeting teammates who had never heard of him a week or two earlier. He did all the right things off the field, and on the field, there’s plenty of talent. 

Here, Avelino is the latest profiled in our look at the 2018 Giants. If you missed any of them , here are Pablo Sandoval, Ty Blach and Nick Hundley. You can find the rest of them here

What Went Right

Avelino broke through with Double-A Trenton, hitting .337 with 10 homers, 28 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 49 games. That earned him a promotion to the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate. His numbers took a dip there, but overall, he hit .283 in the minors in 2018, totaling 15 homers, eight triples, 13 doubles and 27 stolen bases for three affiliates. 

Avelino made his MLB debut on Sept. 8 and picked up his first two hits on Sept. 26. He singled off Clayton Kershaw in his second-to-last appearance of the season. 

Avelino did not play enough to make any kind of real determination about his defense, but he appears to be a true shortstop with the skills to play other infield spots, and team officials want to see if he can play the outfield, too. 

(Also he had one of the funniest celebrations of the season.)

What Went Wrong

It’s hard to take too much away from the Major League numbers. At two Triple-A stops, Avelino struggled a bit, posting a .663 OPS after a promotion with the Yankees and then going 2-for-13 with the River Cats. He was 23 and repeating Double-A, so perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that he dominated the level in 2018.

The Giants would like to see more from him in Triple-A early next season. 

Avelino is certainly fast, but some on staff believe he’s more of an above-average runner than the elite burner that his minor league stat lines say he is. That’s to be determined. He didn’t get to run much in September. 

Contract Status

Avelino was added to a 40-man roster for the first time in September. He has not used any minor league options. 

The Future

Avelino, acquired in the Andrew McCutchen trade, will play winter ball this offseason and the Giants will be open-minded about him when he arrives in Scottsdale. But a number of things will have to go wrong elsewhere for him to be in the big leagues early next season. He needs more minor league at-bats, but he should be a factor at some point in 2019.

It’s been a while since the Giants had a true backup for Brandon Crawford, and Avelino could become interesting quickly if he shows he can be a super-utility player.