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.

Shaun Anderson's cheering section includes Mets sensation, NL West rival


Shaun Anderson's cheering section includes Mets sensation, NL West rival

SAN FRANCISCO -- Social media has added a cool twist to big league debuts. When a top prospect comes up for the first time, the congratulatory messages from former college and minor league teammates are no longer fully private. If you took a spin around Twitter or Instagram last Wednesday, you saw a vast collection of Giants minor leaguers and former Florida Gators shouting out Shaun Anderson, who had a solid debut against the Toronto Blue Jays.

There was one surprising shoutout, though. San Diego Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer posted on Instagram that he was watching Anderson's debut. It turns out the 29-year-old Hosmer and 24-year-old Anderson are workout partners in the offseason at BioCore Sports Performance in Davie, Florida. 

"I guess he was watching, which was pretty cool," Anderson said on this week's Giants Insider Podcast. "He texted me after and we talked about if for a little bit."

Anderson had a lot of well-known (in the baseball world) players watching. He was part of a loaded roster at Florida that had eight players drafted in the first 10 rounds of the 2016 MLB Draft. Anderson went to the Red Sox in the third round. Top pitching prospects A.J. Puk (A's) and Dane Dunning (White Sox) were part of that class, along with budding Mets star Pete Alonso.

Anderson said he still keeps in touch with most of his Florida crew and is looking forward to the rest making it to the big leagues. Alonso is the most successful thus far, and if Anderson sticks in the rotation through the next road trip, he could face his former teammate in New York early next month. 

"I faced him a lot throughout college and in intrasquads and then last year (in the minors). I kind of have a good gameplan on him," Anderson said, smiling. "I can't tell anybody yet. He's been swinging the bat (well), so I'm kind of looking forward to that matchup."

For more on Anderson, including his thoughts on his debut, a breakdown of his fastball variations, and the knowledge he's trying to soak up from Madison Bumgarner, you can stream the Giants Insider Podcast here or download it on iTunes here. 

Andrew Suarez has quality start in return, will stay in Giants rotation

Andrew Suarez has quality start in return, will stay in Giants rotation

SAN FRANCISCO -- Andrew Suarez's return to the big leagues was very nearly overshadowed on a national scale. 

Mike Soroka, the 21-year-old right-hander on the other side, had a perfect game going before Brandon Crawford launched a solo shot in sixth just as it was getting interesting. Suarez, on the other hand, gave up a solo homer to Ronald Acuña Jr. on his first pitch back in the majors.

But the 26-year-old settled in, showing the kind of stuff that made him so dependable for long stretches of his rookie year. Against Soroka, it wasn't nearly enough. The Giants lost 4-1 in their first meeting of the year with the Braves. But Suarez did show enough that manager Bruce Bochy said he'll be in the rotation for now. 

"After that (homer) he really pitched great," Bochy said. "He did what we were hoping, kept us in the game and gave us a chance. He was a strike away from a great start."

Suarez was working quickly, sometimes in and out of trouble, through five. After the solo shot in the first, he didn't allow another run until the sixth, when he walked Nick Markakis with two outs and then hung a curve that rookie Austin Riley blasted to center. Suarez was trying to bury it in the dirt but left it up. 

"I wish I got that one back," he said. "I just left it down the middle."

Suarez was charged with three earned runs in six innings, walking four and striking out five. In recent weeks the standard hasn't been that high for Giants starters, though, and Suarez gave the staff just the 11th quality start in 46 games. Madison Bumgarner has six of the other 10, and no starter other than Bumgarner had thrown a quality start since April 24. 

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Suarez said he did not view this as an audition, but if it was, he passed. At the moment, he is in the rotation with fellow young starter Shaun Anderson and veterans Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija and Drew Pomeranz. That could leave the Giants with a fascinating decision to make before Tuesday's game.

They do not intend to carry 14 pitchers as they did Monday, and they may have to dump a veteran to add another infielder before Anderson takes the mound Tuesday night.