San Francisco Giants improving after 1 year of Farhan Zaidi

San Francisco Giants (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
San Francisco Giants (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco Giants hired Farhan Zaidi to be their president of baseball operations in November of 2018

It’s easy to see that the San Francisco Giants signed exactly zero headline-making free agents. Fans love the big names but look at the Cleveland Browns. Everyone got so excited when they built up their team through free agency, only to have it crumble back into another losing season. Or look at the Phillies or Padres who made two of the biggest free-agent pick-ups, only to both fail once again.

Meanwhile, Farhan Zaidi’s San Francisco Giants have been one of the most active teams in adding players. ESPN reported, “Zaidi made nearly twice as many moves — 165 — in his first nine months as the Giants made in the same period one year earlier.” Their additions have nearly all been young with some potential future breakout possibilities.

Prior to Zaidi, the Giants had a farm system ranked between dead last and 25th out of 30 teams. Today, the Giants’ farm system is ranked as high as ninth (by ) to 16th (by ESPN)

Farm system rankings can vary greatly but all are in agreement that the Giants have had substantial growth since Zaidi took charge.

Last year, the Giants added useful pieces to the majors by trading or signing the following: Mike Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson, Donovan Solano, Mauricio Dubon, Kevin Pillar, and Stephen Vogt to name a few.  Dubon, Dickerson, and Yastrzemski are looking likely to be starters again this year.

The Giants also got rid of older player contracts when they moved Mark Melancon, Sam Dyson, and Drew Pomeranz. Kevin Pillar was cut loose this year, and Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith received qualifying offers but chose to move on leaving the Giants with two more draft picks in 2020.

The Giants tied a record of using the most major leaguers in one season at 64. This has played havoc with the once steady clubhouse. There were lots of ships passing in the night and probably no one on the Giants can name their 63 teammates from 2019.  Kevin Pillar and Brandon Belt were the only Giants to play in more than 150 games and 11 players played in less than ten games.

So with the moving of veterans and the adding of youngsters, how did the Giants’ 2019 fare?   They were in the playoff race longer and they won more games than the previous year. All the while, they were building their farm system from disaster to respectable.

There is little hope that the 2020 Giants will compete for the playoffs, but there is increasing optimism that the Giants organization is turning the right direction. With the top ten prospects Joey BartHeliot RamosMarco LucianoHunter BishopLogan WebbSean HjelleAlexander Canario, Mauricio Dubon, Seth Corry, and Luis Toribio the Giants are set for bigger things in about three years. The trade from the Angels, of last year’s first-rounder, shortstop Will Wilson, adds to their vault of good youngsters. Of those 11 rookies, ten are age 22 or younger and three are teenagers.

I would not doubt that some help will be coming as early as this year, but a lot of the key future Giants are two or three years away.