Matt Nerland, whose scouting touch helped lead the Giants to five World Series and three titles, died this weekend after being diagnosed with a liver condition in June. He was 53.
Nerland had started with the club as an intern in baseball ops in 1989 after graduating from San Francisco State. He worked his way up the ladder to become the Giants’ scouting director and was a key voice in drafts from 1998-2006, with 44 Giants players in that span reaching the majors. The ’06 draft’s first-round pick? Tim Lincecum.
Nerland worked 31 years with the Giants, let go in 2019 amid a changing regime.
“Matt was a kind and highly respected member of our organization and we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and all those whose lives he touched,” the Giants said in a statement. “We will miss him dearly and he’ll always be remembered as part of our Giants family.”
A former Giants scouting colleague had announced the news Tuesday night.
Our prayers & thoughts go out to the family of SF Giant Scout Matt Nerland and his passing last Saturday. He was a great guy who loved the Giants. He will be missed. RIP Matt ????. So sad. Giants family lost a good one.
— John Castleberry (@johncas336) December 23, 2020
Nerland, a longtime lieutenant of Brian Sabean’s, also was instrumental in scouting other clubs for signings and trades. He reportedly had influence in the 2012 deal that brought Hunter Pence to San Francisco.
“It comes down to meshing talent with clubhouse chemistry. Some of them might not have been the most glamorous transactions out there, but they were small pieces for us to get over the hump to the next level,” he told the Modesto Bee in 2016. “If there’s a malcontent out there, and he needs a change of scenery, more than likely if we’re in contention, he’s not coming to us. We don’t want anything toxic in our clubhouse.”