Grading Zaidi, Putila and the San Francisco Giants front office at the season’s midway point

Nov 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Francisco Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi answers questions from the media during the MLB GM Meetings at The Conrad Las Vegas. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Francisco Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi answers questions from the media during the MLB GM Meetings at The Conrad Las Vegas. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports /
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When San Francisco Giants general manager Scott Harris was wooed away by the Detroit Tigers following the firing of Alex Avila last season, team president Farhan Zaidi was forced to look for a new executive partner. Zaidi found him in Pete Putila, a 33-year-old assistant to former Houston Astros boss Jim Click.

The team of Zaidi and Putila swiftly went about restructuring a disappointing Giants team that had dropped 26 games in the NL West standings between 2021 and 2022. Whatever they did, it has seemed to work; at this season’s halfway point, the Giants are 46-36 and solidly in contention for both the division title and Wild Card.

Grading the San Francisco Giants at the midway point of the 2023 season

What follows is a mid-term assessment of the Giants’ personnel decisions since the conclusion of the 2022 World Series with a particular focus on the extent to which those decisions have helped or hindered the team’s performance.

The standard of measurement is Wins Above Average (WAA), a variant of Wins Above Replacement (WAR). For this purpose, WAA is preferable because unlike WAR, it is zero-based. That means the sum of all the decisions made by Zaidi and Putila impacting the 2023 team gives at least a good estimate of the number of games those moves have improved (or worsened) the team’s status this season.

A team’s front office impacts that team’s standing in five ways. Those five are:

1.       By the impact of players it acquires from other teams via trade, purchase or waiver claim.

2.       By the impact of players it surrenders to other teams in those same transactions.

3.       By the impact of players it signs at free agency or extends.

4.       By the impact of players it loses to free agency or releases.

5.       By the impact of players it promotes from its own farm system.

Here’s how Zaidi and Putila stack up by those five yardsticks.