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Harris returns home to become new Giants GM

(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

By JOE STIGLICH

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) After playing a role in the Chicago Cubs' transformation from rebuilding club to World Series champion, Scott Harris aims to guide the San Francisco Giants along a similar path.

Harris was introduced Monday as the Giants' new general manager, the first of what should be two significant hires for the franchise in the coming days.

President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi said he expects to announce a new manager sometime this week to succeed Bruce Bochy, who stepped down after the season. The Giants have narrowed their list of candidates to former Phillies manager Gape Kapler, Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro.

Zaidi and Harris will work in tandem atop San Francisco's front office, though Zaidi remains the primary decision-maker.

Harris, 32, had served as the Cubs' assistant general manager since 2018 after five seasons spent as the team's director of baseball operations. He contributed to a turnaround that saw the Cubs go from a 101-loss team in 2012 to winning the World Series in 2016.

The Giants have finished at least eight games under .500 each of the past three seasons, but they're optimistic about a promising farm system that can help them eventually turn the corner after a 77-85 season.

"One thing I will say about my experience in Chicago is it can happen really fast," Harris said. "I know it's happened really fast in Farhan's career, too, and that's certainly the goal for us. We're going to try to compete as much as possible on and off the field to put us in position to transform like we did in Chicago."

Harris grew up in Redwood City, just 27 miles south of San Francisco, in what he called a "split household." His father, Rob, is from Chicago and a Cubs fan who steered Scott to root for the Cubs. Harris' mother, Joanne, is a Giants fan and raised Scott's brother, Chris, to root for the Giants.

Zaidi shared how Harris gave his 2016 World Series ring, won with the Cubs, to his father.

"Our goal's going to be to get a ring for Mom now," Zaidi said with a grin.

Harris broke in with the Cubs' front office at age 25, an extremely young hire with little front office experience. But he quickly impressed Chicago's head of baseball operations, Theo Epstein, with his smarts and work ethic.

As detailed in a story by The Athletic, Harris spent one spring training taking a red-eye flight every Saturday from Phoenix to Chicago, where he was taking weekend business school classes at Northwestern, and returning on a Sunday red-eye to resume his Cubs duties.

"As we got to know each other through this (interview) process, I was just really impressed with the person, the character, the creativity," Zaidi said.

As the Cubs' assistant GM, Harris was involved with player development, and amateur and international scouting among other responsibilities.

Zaidi, declining to go into detail on the Giants' managerial search, said Harris has had a chance to speak with all of the Giants' remaining managerial candidates to offer his input.

Harris has an interesting prior link to the Giants. Through his grandmother, Harris struck up a friendship with Al Rosen, who served as the Giants' GM from 1985-92.

He considered Rosen an adviser, and Rosen once helped Harris land an internship with the Washington Nationals.

Harris thanked his family for their "relentless pursuit to get me back to the Bay Area," and he expressed how grateful he was to land his new position so close to home.

"It's such a privilege to be here, a privilege to come back home," he said. "It's a privilege to work with such a flagship organization with such a passionate and deserving fan base."

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Updated November 11, 2019

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