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.