Bobby Evans

Mike Krukow worried about Giants making this mistake in front-office hire

Mike Krukow worried about Giants making this mistake in front-office hire

The Giants are looking for a "next-gen" hire to lead the team after getting rid of general manager Bobby Evans. That doesn't exactly sit well with Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow. 

"I'm concerned with it, and I'll tell you why," Krukow said Wednesday on KNBR about an outside hire. "You have a lot of 35-year-old general managers that don't want to be corrected by a bunch of 55-year-old scouts. They don't want to have a bunch of guys saying, 'Well, back in the day, we did it this way.' They don't want to hear that. So subsequently, they're gone." 

What "next-gen" means to Giants CEO Larry Baer, Brian Sabean and the rest of the decision-makers will be determined in the future with the hire.

Here's how Baer best described his vision to Alex Pavlovic: 

“The game has changed and evolved a lot. We’ve had a lot of consistency here, which I think has served us really well, and a lot of stability, but nothing goes forever. We have to have somebody that’s going to present the blueprint for the next five to 10 years of Giants baseball. It’s time to have a fresh look at that.

“We’ve had a tremendous cycle here starting in 2010, 2009, really. But you always have to re-pot. Next-gen is finding someone who can put a great blueprint on this franchise given the ballpark and given the amazing fan base.”

Krukow's main concern is that the next hire will not tear down a part of the franchise he considers a cornerstone to the Giants' success. 

"That [scouting] has always been I think one of the backbones to this Giants franchise," Krukow said. "I mean when you have a leader -- Brian Sabean -- who was a scout, who believes in scouting, it's one of the strengths that this organization had and certainly led to the success that the Giants had in 2010, '12 and '14." 

It might sound like Krukow is stuck in the past and only believes in the eye test. That isn't the case. At least he says that isn't the case. Whoever takes over must find the best in the future and the past in Krukow's eyes. 

"I do believe in sabermetrics, I do believe in the new numbers of evaluation, but I think that there has to be a healthy blend where you can use both, and I hope that to a degree the Giants go that way," Krukow said. "There are organizations that are completely all in on sabermetrics and they pay little attention to scouting. I just hope that we do not become one of those organizations." 

The Giants currently are second to last in the NL in home runs (131), on-base percentage (.301), slugging percentage (.370), and OPS (.671) behind only the rebuilding Marlins with four games to go. Those are traditional stats, but a "next-gen" mind will be in charge of revamping the way the Giants go about getting those numbers up. 

World Series trophies are to marvel at. But it's time to move on and make sure they aren't solely a reminder of what the Giants once were instead of a goal for the near future. 

Bobby Evans dismissal hard to swallow for Giants players

Bobby Evans dismissal hard to swallow for Giants players

SAN FRANCISCO — About 20 minutes before players took the field for batting practice Monday, the man who signed so many of them got in a car and headed home to tell his family he no longer was the general manager of the Giants. 

Ownership relieved Bobby Evans of his duties in the afternoon. Hopefully an executive who lived and breathed Giants for 25 years took a night off from watching them. The team lost 5-0 to the Padres, getting shut out by Bryan Mitchell, who entered with an ERA that started with a six. 

Before the game, Giants manager Bruce Bochy met with Evans one final time.

“I thanked him for all his help. Bobby and I spent even more time together the last couple of years, but he’s always been around and been helpful,” Bochy said. “Twenty-five years here, that shows you the continuity we have in San Francisco. He did a lot for the organization. I was glad I had a chance to talk to him before he left.”

There have been rumors for weeks, and when strength coach Carl Kochan was let go, the clubhouse became all too aware that two poor seasons on the field would lead to plenty of changes. Still, this was hard for some to swallow. 

Evans put this team together and believed in the group, and his fingerprints are all over the roster. He negotiated with free agents such as Mark Melancon and Tony Watson, signed non-roster invitees such as Dereck Rodriguez and Derek Holland, and traded for players such as Will Smith and Sam Dyson. When Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt and others got their extensions, Evans was the point man on the other side. When young players were called up this season, Evans often was on the other end of the first call they received. 

“Obviously something like that is part of the business side of baseball, but it kind of sucks that somebody like Bobby or somebody behind the scenes like Carl loses his job because we didn’t perform on the field,” Crawford said. “That’s always tough.”

The Giants now have let go of their strength coach and their GM this month. More changes are expected. 

“Change is tough,” Bochy said. “You have relationships with everybody. It’s that time of year.” 

Giants will need to catch up in game that has 'changed and evolved'

Giants will need to catch up in game that has 'changed and evolved'

SAN FRANCISCO -- For years, the Giants have talked about how everything done by the front office is a collaborative effort. They shared in the credit and the blame, and when the team lost 98 games last season, Larry Baer, Brian Sabean, Bobby Evans and Bruce Bochy sat side-by-side two days after the final game and tried to explain what happened. 

Eventually an axe had to fall, though, and on Monday afternoon, it was Evans, the general manager, who was let go first. In the aftermath, Baer, the president and CEO, said ownership and Sabean will look for a “next-gen” person to lead the franchise. 

So, what exactly does “next-gen” mean in this case? 

“The game has changed and evolved a lot,” Baer said. “We’ve had a lot of consistency here, which I think has served us really well, and a lot of stability, but nothing goes forever. We have to have somebody that’s going to present the blueprint for the next five to 10 years of Giants baseball. It’s time to have a fresh look at that.

“We’ve had a tremendous cycle here starting in 2010, 2009, really. But you always have to re-pot. Next-gen is finding someone who can put a great blueprint on this franchise given the ballpark and given the amazing fan base.”

If the Giants are to be successful, next-gen will mean finding someone who can catch up to the current generation of baseball executives. The outgoing regime won three World Series titles, but since the last one, the game has shifted. The Giants have fallen behind. Offenses now are built around homers, and this team won’t have a single player even hit 20 of them. While Sabean again mentioned the ballpark Monday, there’s no good explanation for how this same lineup can’t display power on the road. 

The Giants made a next-gen type of hire when they brought Alonzo Powell in as hitting coach after a stint with the slugging Astros, but the new head of baseball operations will need to find players Powell can mold. This current roster will finish last or second-to-last in the NL in homers. The first questions for any prospective hire should be about building a lineup that can handle AT&T Park, and perhaps the next set should be about doing so in part with international players. 

Even after opening a new academy in the Dominican Republic, the Giants still are woefully behind. When was the last time they developed their own international star? Well, it’s been a while since Pablo Sandoval’s debut. 

For as much as the Giants have done in recent years to address their gaps in analytics, they still are behind others, too. All you need to do to figure that out is walk past the old visiting clubhouse at Dodger Stadium. It has been turned into an office holding the analytics people working for a team that is about to win a sixth consecutive NL West title.

The Giants are aware of the gaps, and they believe their farm system will be in much better shape under David Bell. But they haven't done enough. The develop-while-contending model broke down at some point, and it has led to a purge. 

Baer said an increased emphasis on analytics and international signings is part of what he means by next-gen, but he said there still will be a blend. 

“If you look at the really successful franchises, I wouldn’t say they’re all analytics and they’re not all scouting-based,” he said. “You need to have good people in both areas and a leader who will come in and appreciate both and lead the organization into the future.”

The search for that leader became public Monday, and there’s a lot at stake. The next-gen hire will shape the next decade of this franchise, and while it will be a sought-after job, it’s one that also comes with plenty of work to do.

The Giants have fallen behind. It’s been clear for two years, and on Monday, it was acknowledged.