Giants CEO Larry Baer spent months away from the organization while serving an MLB-mandated suspension following a public altercation with his wife.
Baer returned to the Giants on July 2, in a slightly altered role.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly, Baer discussed how he spent his time off, what he learned from the incident and subsequent suspension. He told Baggarly he has been going to counseling and spent his first weeks back with the Giants meeting with people and answering questions. Doing a lot of listening and reevaluating from a personal perspective.
Baer also discussed the job president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi did at the MLB trade deadline, both to help the Giants make a run at a wild-card berth and set the franchise up for the future.
"I think Farhan has really done an excellent job in a tough, tough period," Baer told The Athletic. "And we knew it was going to be tough. In recruiting Farhan and talking to him, he has a great sense of calm, of perspective, and he’s always thinking a couple moves ahead. Transitions are tough. And the fact we were able to perform the way we performed in the last five weeks, and then at the trade deadline, to hit many needs for this year and beyond, it’s frankly remarkable. Because it’s just not that easy."
The Giants seemed like surefire trade deadline sellers early in the season, but a red-hot stretch from late-June through most of July caused Zaidi to pull back on the "Sell! Sell! Sell!" mantra, and look to get manager Bruce Bochy back to the playoffs in his final season.
With a number of people pushing to sell and others wanting to buy, Baer thinks Zaidi navigated the waters perfectly.
"He understood there was an imperative to wake up in 2020 with a decent chance of being better than in 2019, and also to set ourselves up to be better in 2021," Baer told The Athletic. "And there was also a chance at the deadline to continue a good run this season and not throw that out the window."
Zaidi's biggest decision was whether or not to deal left-hander Madison Bumgarner, a piece he likely could have gotten a decent return for. The decision to keep the ace was left to Zaidi and Zaidi alone.
"With Bumgarner, I think everyone really wanted it to be Farhan’s decision and for Farhan to own it," Baer told The Athletic. "He has all the data. I mean, we have opinions. You can walk into a restaurant and anybody could say whether they like the food or not, but not everybody can go in there and become the executive chef, right?
"But at the end of the day, to my knowledge, there was no imperative," Baer continued. "We told him he should do what is best for the organization, and that’s a balance of everything — the short and the long. I can say with a lot of clarity that we left that decision up to Farhan."
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With his moves at the trade deadline, Zaidi did what he was hired to do: Set the course for the future.
It's a course Baer is happy with.