San Francisco Giants: New GM Will Have Their Work Cut out for Them

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: A general view during the third inning of the San Francisco Giants game against the Milwaukee Brewers at AT
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: A general view during the third inning of the San Francisco Giants game against the Milwaukee Brewers at AT /

The San Francisco Giants are committing to making a drastic change in the front office, and their new GM will have their work cut out for them.

With Bobby Evans’ dismissal as the San Francisco Giants general manager should come a new era of baseball for a team that was so successful in the early part of the decade. But whoever takes over the job and is tasked with returning the team to its former glory will be in an unenviable position.

As a club, the Giants are in bad shape. They’re less than a week from completing their second consecutive losing season, and with their ridiculous payroll, that’s unacceptable. Since the All-Star break in 2016, the Giants have gone 166-225, which is unacceptable for a team that was put together to be competitive.

Despite adding some valuable players to the farm system through trades, international signings, and the draft in the past year or so, the Giants don’t have a great farm system. They are caught between a rock and a hard place, and there doesn’t seem to be much room for escape.

Evans continued the pattern that Brian Sabean, the labeled general manager before Evans, used with great success during the earlier part of the decade. Trades and big money free agent signings would be used to fill gaps on the roster, and homegrown Giants would be rewarded with extensions. That formula’s magic ran out over the last two years, leaving the Giants with a huge payroll and small win total.

The farm system stopped producing players like Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey, and to a lesser degree Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford, and it hurt the major league club drastically. The team appears to be the team, and there isn’t really too much that can change.

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The next general manager, or “head of baseball operations”, as the team is calling it, will be dealt a difficult hand. The Giants still have a lot of money locked in to a rather small group of players next season, and many of those players have full or partial no-trade clauses. Many of those same players are coming off bad injuries or poor seasons, giving them little-to-no trade value.

Even the brightest baseball minds will have a hard time putting the Giants’ ship back on course. But someone out there will be tasked with doing so, and it will be someone not currently affiliated with the team. That might be a great thing, because there won’t be any previous loyalties. The new general manager may be more willing to trade away players that have been here a while, which is what the team would need to do if they want to jumpstart a full rebuild (if that’s where they decide to go, though it still seems unlikely).

There will be some payroll flexibility this offseason, having reset the luxury cap penalties this season, therefore reducing any penalties incurred for going over the cap next season or beyond. But throwing money at free agents was the modus operandi of the previous regime that got them into this position. Unless it’s a move that would make the Giants dramatically better, it’s probably a move they should avoid.

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Stability has been the key word for the Giants for a long time. But for the second straight offseason, the team is making big changes. Last year, it was the coaching staff that was gutted and remade. This year, Evans appears to be only the first domino to fall. Eventually, whether it’s this offseason or in the future, the roster has to change as well. The new GM will be the leader of that eventual change, and their work will be cut out for them.