What is taking so long with Giants' manager search?
SAN FRANCISCO — Despite knowing since February the organization would be tasked with hiring a new manager this offseason, the Giants are one of two teams left that have yet to finalize a decision.
Of the eight franchises that set out to hire a manager this fall, only the Giants and Pirates are still searching for their desired candidate.
After a horrible second half, the Pirates recently fired their team president and general manager and remain in total disarray. The Giants aren’t in shambles, but many fans have wondered what’s taking the team so long to hire their next manager.
With the vacancy remaining unfilled longer than many expected, we’re evaluating the state of the search and attempting to provide answers to the most common questions about the Giants’ process.
Where does the search currently stand?
President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi indicated from the get-go that he planned to be as thorough as possible in interviewing a variety of candidates and eventually selecting Bruce Bochy’s replacement.
The Giants are reportedly down to three finalists, including former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler, current Astros bench coach Joe Espada and current Royals quality control coach Pedro Grifol. With MLB’s general manager meetings looming next week, it would make sense for the Giants to complete their search by the end of this week.
Zaidi has already met in person with each of the three finalists at least twice and it’s possible he’s spent part of this week engaging in a third round of discussions. It shouldn’t take much longer to settle on a hire.
Why has the search taken so long?
It’s actually mildly surprising six other teams reached decisions so quickly, in part because interviewing a wide range of candidates should give executives insight into how other teams conduct their business.
By interviewing Mark Kotsay of the A’s, Matt Quatraro of the Rays, Will Venable of the Cubs and Espada of the Astros, Zaidi has gained perspective as to how some of the more successful, forward-thinking organizations make decisions in the dugout.
Many other teams such as the Cubs and Angels didn’t appear to be as deliberate with their searches, settling on candidates who were immediately considered the favorites to land their respective jobs entering the offseason. That’s fine if the hire works out, but it’s unclear why more organizations aren’t attempting to do their due diligence and learn more from some of the many bright, up-and-coming minds that work in their opponents’ dugouts.
Additionally, Zaidi told reporters he also expected to hire a general manager this offseason. No information has been leaked about that process and where the team currently stands, but if the Giants have conducted concurrent searches, it’s natural that it would take longer to handle all of the interviews required.
How did the Giants settle on these three finalists?
The organization has attempted to keep the details of the search under wraps and it’s largely unclear how the candidate pool was whittled down.
We know the Giants talked to a pair of internal candidates, bench coach Hensley Meulens and third base coach Ron Wotus, but neither advanced to the second round of interviews. On the surface, it would seem both Meulens and Wotus are more qualified than both Espada and Grifol and likely as knowledgeable as Kapler, but the search has led the Giants to have discussions with many coaches with less experience working in major league dugouts.