San Francisco Giants president is an MLB team owner’s dream
Now that Major League Baseball is on lockdown, the San Francisco Giants have once again had a relatively weak offseason so far. Fans who expected the Giants front office to create a free agency sensation after the teams’ breakout campaign in 2021 are starting to voice their grievances against team president Farhan Zaidi on social media. However, Farhan Zaidi does exactly what he has always done throughout his career as a front office executive; it makes money for the owners.
While Zaidi’s approach to free agent spending can be maddening for fans aspiring to the championship, Zaidi has done an exceptional job of controlling costs while simultaneously building a competitive squad. Not to mention, the Giants were set to make the move to the NLCS with a motley crew of veterans and junkies.
In fact, Farhan Zaidi is perhaps the most valuable front office executive in Major League Baseball right now. He’s an “owner president”, so to speak.
Like most teams, the San Francisco Giants are no longer owned by a single owner, but a group of owners led by majority owner Charles Johnson. As franchise valuations began to skyrocket and profit margins began to explode in Major League Baseball, ownership groups became the norm as very few individuals can afford to buy a team by. themselves.
So, ownership groups have become the norm and despite industry-wide losses from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the estimated value of the San Francisco Giants franchise has increased in 2021. .
The San Francisco Giants are not only one of the most valuable franchises in the major leagues, but they are also one of the major sources of income for the major leagues. It’s safe to say that the ROI of the San Francisco Giants’ ownership group has to be a pretty worthy investment.
Pair that with the San Francisco Giants ‘surprising achievement in 2021 and the league’s 9th payroll (up from 5th in 2019 when Zaidi took office as chairman), the Giants’ ownership group must be more than happy with the job. accomplished by Farhan Zaidi. as president of baseball operations.
The Los Angeles Dodgers owner group would likely agree, too. However, the current incarnation of the Dodgers might wish they still had Farhan Zaidi as they have failed to win a championship in the last two non-COVID seasons since Zaidi left, while also breaking the luxury tax threshold. in pursuit of the championships.
It also created a list crunch in Los Angeles as they are on the verge of seeing Clayton Kershaw leave the franchise and they also just lost Corey Seager to free agency. A high price to pay for a short season championship.
While the luxury tax threshold has become a de facto salary cap for most teams, Farhan Zaidi has been extremely successful in keeping the Giants’ payroll at a safe distance from that cap. Additionally, cutting player costs further helps Zaidi gain the likes of the Giants’ ownership group.
Even more surprising though, was the Giants’ ability to make the most of higher-priced veterans like Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford, while getting added value from players like Darrin Ruf, LaMonte Wade Jr. and Logan Webb.
Sadly, Zaidi now finds himself between a rock and a hard place between continuing to appease ownership, while simultaneously trying to build a roster that will make the Giants an exciting commodity on the pitch as well.
One factor that seems to be getting lost in the free agent frenzy is that home attendance has been declining steadily since 2015, and the Giants’ 2021 post-pandemic numbers could have been much worse had they not been competitive. However, they were competitive, but the fans once again have high expectations.
In some ways, Farhan Zaidi is a miracle worker. By making better investments in the team’s infrastructure by spending on coaches and analysts, the Giants were able to achieve a high level of return on the majority of their investments in 2021. As the big names in free agents came along from the board – those that a casual observer may think is a perfect fit – fans moaned over Zaidi’s reluctance to spend more on players he might be able to create. facsimiles for low risk commitments.
The fact remains; a facsimile of a great player is not the same as having a great player. This is what ultimately led to the demise of the Giants in the 2021 NLDS. Having players statistically similar to Max Scherzer or Mookie Betts is not the same as having Max Scherzer or Mookie Betts.
If the Giants are serious about winning, they will have to spend. Sadly, Farhan Zaidi’s job is to make sure the Giants win enough to appease the fan base, while continuing to make the team as profitable as possible for the owners.