A lot changed in the Giants' orbit over the last two-plus weeks, and now the franchise feels like it is floating aimlessly in outer space.
On Sept. 14, Giants owner Greg Johnson spoke to The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser and voiced public support for manager Gabe Kapler and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. But on Friday, Kapler was fired, and not allowed to finish his fourth season in San Francisco.
That leaves Zaidi as the man responsible for finding the next Giants manager, as well as trying to figure out how to change the team's fortunes in 2024.
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Shortly after the Giants announced Kapler's dismissal on Friday, Zaidi met with local reporters and was asked about Johnson's previous comments to Slusser.
"Greg's sort of voiced support publicly, for me and the expectation that I'll be back next year," Zaidi said. "I guess I would clarify that, you know, that support does not constitute an endorsement of what we've done the last two seasons or any degree of happiness or satisfaction with the results we've had. I think Greg is pretty dissatisfied with us being around .500 and not being in the playoffs the last couple of years as all of us are."
The Giants missed the MLB playoffs in three of Kapler's four years as manager, including this season, in which they were 13 games over .500 in early August. But a two-month collapse doomed San Francisco and they won't even finish at .500.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants' lack of roster talent is evident and it is incumbent on Zaidi to rectify the issue, whether that's through MLB free agency or trades.
And since Zaidi only has one year left on his contract, the pressure is immense.
"We've had a lot of conversations about how we get back to where we want to be and we need to be," Zaidi said. "We want to have a product that our fans are excited about a product that our fans come to the ballpark to see. And I recognize that I think that's what ownership wants to see."
Fans and media pundits have openly pointed out the absence of excitement and star power on the roster. That's something Zaidi is well aware of as he heads into a vitally important offseason.
"I know a lot of you all personally and a lot of good people in this group and you haven't had a lot of positive things to write frankly over the last couple of seasons," Zaidi said. "And I think from the ownership standpoint, from my standpoint, it's our responsibility to change the narrative around this team. We want people to feel good about it and excited about the team. We've had a lot of conversations about that."
But as Zaidi saw with Kapler, a vote of confidence from ownership isn't ironclad. Opinions can change very quickly in professional sports.
"To answer your question, I know Greg's addressed it before and I've gotten support to do what we need to do," Zaidi said. "But again, that doesn't indicate that -- shouldn't suggest that the board is happy or that Greg is happy with how the teams played the last couple of years because nobody is."
Zaidi needs to pick a new manager soon, likely in the next month or so before free agency begins after the World Series concludes. Then he has to tweak a roster that appears to be regressing. Coming off a franchise-record 107 wins in 2021, the Giants finished 81-81 last season. This year, the best they can do is 80-82 depending on how the final two games play out.
In order to compete with the juggernaut Los Angeles Dodgers, the upstart Arizona Diamondbacks and the star-studded San Diego Padres in the NL West, the Giants need upgrades across the roster and throughout the minor league system.
If Zaidi can't get that done quickly, Johnson might have to pull his support.