SAN FRANCISCO – Giants general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy were awarded contract extensions through the 2016 season Thursday, and the man they answer to was clear about why it happened.
“The glory days of the franchise are now,” Giants CEO Larry Baer said. “I think it’s important to acknowledge that and pay tribute to the people who have done it. You take the entire longevity of this franchise -- 131 years -- we probably haven’t had a better stretch than the last three or four years.”
That’s lofty praise, but it’s quite justifiable considering the Giants have won two World Series championships in the past three seasons. Sabean and Bochy previously were signed through 2014.
A World Series ring glistened on Sabean’s right hand as he addressed reporters before the Bay Bridge Series opener against the A’s at AT&T Park. He’s in his 17th season running the Giants baseball operation, making him the longest tenured G.M. in the major leagues.
The Giants have a .537 winning percentage under his watch (1,392-1,198-1) and have claimed three National League pennants, five division titles and a wild card playoff berth.
“There’s a lot of continuity, and I think that’s what defines this organization,” said Sabean, 56.
Terms of the deals weren’t disclosed, but Sabean mentioned that “a unique type of contract” was drawn up for both men.
“They did some things they didn’t have to do to really get us in a place where we feel good about our accomplishments.”
Bochy, 57, has led the Giants to their only two World Series crowns in their San Francisco history during his six years as manager. He holds a 503-469 record and is one of just 23 managers in big league history to win two championships.
“I’m thrilled to continue to be a part of the Giants family,” Bochy said. “We have a great thing here -- great city, great fans, great staff. I couldn’t be in a better situation.”
Both men talked of the solid friendship and decision-making chemistry that has developed between them, interesting in that they hardly knew each other before Bochy was hired prior to the 2007 season after a 12-year run managing the San Diego Padres.
They’re also different personalities. Bochy comes across as laid-back and easy going, while Sabean is the fiery one who isn’t afraid to express his displeasure with his staff – and players -- if things aren’t going well.
“Bruce is a tough S.O.B. but he doesn’t come off that way, and I think that’s what’s really appreciated by his players,” Sabean said. “He’s really a stand-up guy.”
Bochy was asked to compare their personalities.
“I think we’re different personalities,” he said. “Brian has an edge to him, as you all know, that’s who he is. He can get emotional and he’s all about winning.”
So what can the duo accomplish over the next four seasons? The Giants return most of last year’s championship club but are expected to face a stiff challenge from the big-spending Los Angeles Dodgers.
Sabean emphasized his efforts are concentrated on simply winning the National League West. “I think we’ve proven that if we can get through the first round, good things are going to happen,” he said. “The days of being the big bad Yankees with Joe Torre, you can’t walk around that tall anymore. The game’s changed so much as far as parity.”