The Giants have a new general manager. They do not have a firm idea of what that entails.
Scott Harris will not be a traditional transaction-maker. He will not arrive at the GM Meetings this week in Scottsdale, Ariz., with the freedom to unilaterally swing players and prospects around.
Just like he was in Chicago, Harris is part of a collective, his job free to grow or shrink or develop naturally. With the Cubs, Harris was behind Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer in the hierarchy. He’s taken a step up with the Giants as No. 2 to boss Farhan Zaidi, but that doesn’t mean he automatically defers to the team’s president of baseball operations.
“Anywhere [the Cubs] found opportunities to compete, they would encourage you to do that,” Harris said Monday at his introductory Oracle Park news conference. “And so that’s how I saw my job in Chicago, and I don’t see it differently here in San Francisco.”
With the Cubs, Harris said he did not have a firm, day-to-day job description, but one that kept expanding. What does an assistant general manager do, exactly?
“I certainly got to work on all major league transactions,” said the Redwood City native. “I was traveling with the team, working with Joe [Maddon] and the coaching staff, and also working in player development. International scouting, amateur scouting when the draft came up, our high-performance department, was leading our research and development department.”
In doing so, he had an eye on the moving and shaking at the trade deadline, trying to gauge how everyone around the league fared. Zaidi and the Giants caught his attention — Harris cited the Giants offloading Mark Melancon and the $14 million left for his 2020 season for a pair of prospects as an “interesting” deal that “struck” him.
The Giants also received Mauricio Dubon from Milwaukee for Drew Pomeranz and Ray Black and acquired three prospects from Minnesota for Sam Dyson.
“I thought [Zaidi] did an excellent job with the trades that he made. We were we were targeting several of the players that he acquired, which was impressive to us from afar,” Harris said.
Now he will join the same brain trust that he admired from a distance. Zaidi, first in Oakland and then in Los Angeles, worked in a free-flowing, nebulous front-office setting that he has brought to San Francisco. Somewhere within that realm, a young, rising star with a background that includes working for the MLB office and bouncing around so many departments will fit.
“We should have the opportunity to free each other up to work on some of the bigger ideas, some of the concepts and philosophies that will push the Giants forward,” Harris said, “which is really hard when it’s only one person in the job. I know Farhan expressed that was a little bit of a challenge for him.
“… As far as other ways that I complement him, I don’t know yet. I’m excited to find out.”
Zaidi could think of one.
“It was really important to get someone with good hair,” he said.
Zaidi said Brian Sabean will remain with the organization as an adviser.