The San Francisco Giants hired former Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi as their president of baseball operations after the 2018 season. Zaidi's ascension went from assistant GM of the Oakland A's to GM of the Dodgers to his current role.
Zaidi didn't have the best situation to inherit, but he also didn't have the worst. The Giants had an aging core, but they only missed the playoffs two straight years and won three World Series since 2010. Their payroll was crowded but it wasn't a disaster.
On the surface, Zaidi's only made things worse, whether it was directly his fault or not. The Giants have just one season above .500 from 2019-2023, and it proved to be a fraudulent 107-win campaign that resulted in an NLDS loss to the Dodgers. Outside of that, they haven't finished better than third in the NL West.
His first managerial hire, Gabe Kapler, oversaw 2019-2023 and was just dismissed. But what help did he have? Zaidi's hardly added to this roster and definitely hasn't maintained a shred of continuity. He had opportunities after the 2021 and 2022 seasons to sign star free agents, and he botched it both times.
But he got manager Bob Melvin from the division-rival Padres because San Diego was done with him, and that somehow earned Zaidi a contract extension through 2026.
Giants extending Farhan Zaidi shows refusal to admit Dodgers bamboozled them
Are the Giants not ready to admit they were perhaps wrong? Are they scared to show a former Dodgers front office executive may have worsened their attempt at a turnaround? What has Zaidi done to earn a contract extension?
Kapler, whether he's good or not, simply isn't the difference between a winning and losing team. He might be the difference between a good team and a contender, but he's not making the Giants 10-15 wins better. That's up to the front office.
Zaidi's lone achievement was locking up Logan Webb on a five-year, $90 million extension. Other than that? He let Kevin Gausman go. He missed out on Aaron Judge, signed Carlos Correa and then let him go, and couldn't lure Trea Turner. These are his most notable free agent signings:
- Anthony DeSclafani - three years, $36 million
- Michael Conforto - two years, $36 million
- Taylor Rogers - three years, $33 million
- Mitch Haniger - two years, $28 million
- Sean Manaea - two years, $25 million
- Alex Wood - two years, $25 million
- Ross Stripling - two years, $25 million
- Joc Pederson - qualifying offer
- Carlos Rodón - one year, $21.5 million
- Kevin Gausman - one year, $9 million then qualifying offer
A whole lot of literal nothing.
Some of his trades have been hits, though. He managed to acquire Mike Yastrzemski, Wilmer Flores, LaMonte Wade Jr., JD Davis and Kris Bryant. This is more so the behavior of a poverty franchise trying to make the most out of nothing. The Giants aren't that. They should be close to a version of the Dodgers, blending big money with forward-thinking analytics. Instead, Zaidi has treated the Giants like the A's.
And that's earned him another three years in the Bay Area, matching Melvin's contract, which should be the final stand for Zaidi. It's already been five years on the job, and the better part of a decade will provide enough evidence for ownership that without the help of Friedman, Billy Beane or a considerable amount of money to spend, Zaidi isn't as cutting edge as they had hoped.