Giants secure Sabean, Bochy for 2012

Giants secure Sabean, Bochy for 2012

Giants secure Sabean, Bochy for 2012
SAN FRANCISCO -- Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy, the brains behind the Giants' remarkable run to their first World Series title since 1954, will be guiding the ballclub's fortunes for at least two more seasons.

Both Sabean, the team's GM for 14 years, and Bochy, its manager for four, already were signed for this year but had their contract options for 2012 picked up by the club on Friday.

Managing general partner Bill Neukom made the announcement, raining praise on the two men who provided leadership on and off the field for San Francisco's first World Series championship since the Giants' move west in 1958. And Neukom was clearly feeling the joy of rewarding two big reasons for the team's success.

"This is the best day of my life since the last pitch of World Series Game 5," Neukom said in introducing Sabean and Bochy to the media gathered at AT&T Park.

Much like keeping the World Series roster returning mostly intact, getting Sabean and Bochy wrapped up through the next two seasons is an indication the organization knows it has a good thing going.

"I really, really appreciate the vote of confidence," Sabean said. "It really gives us a chance, Boch and I, with the bar raised to see what's next, and we hope that's defending the Western title, getting to the playoffs and trying to make another run at winning another trophy."

Added Bochy: "We know we have some work ahead of us, but to have this team still intact says a lot about what ownership and Brian want to do -- to not just do this one time, but to try and to it again."

The extensions are part of the contracts the two signed prior to the 2010 season, when the Giants were coming off a bounce-back campaign following four losing seasons. Neukom, who praised Sabean and Bochy for working through the last guaranteed year of their previous contract in 2009, indicated there were no discussions about extending the contracts beyond 2012 at this point.

Sabean, 54, has worked in professional baseball for 26 years, and has been GM of the Giants for 14 -- by far the longest tenure in Giants history and the longest current tenure among baseball's GMs. In his 14 years at the helm, the Giants have the third-highest winning percentage in the National League, behind only the Braves and Cardinals. Sabean's teams have won two NL pennants, four NL West titles and one Wild Card berth. This offseason, he was named MLB's Executive of the Year by the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

And now the organization has honored him with another year of breathing room on his contract.

"It's humbling, it's a real honor obviously to be shown this kind of confidence," said Sabean, who enlists a veteran crew of advisers that includes Dick Tidrow, Bobby Evans and John Barr. "Over the years, we've grown to appreciate the loyalty that the ownership has extended to the baseball group. It's especially gratifying to go back and think that the same group of people that were so big in putting together our teams in the 2000s, including the 2002 [World Series] team, and now this year's run is pretty much intact, whether it's the front office, or key people in player development and scouting. That's very unusual. We've had a lot of continuity."

The one big change over those years was Bochy, who took over for Felipe Alou prior to the 2007 season. Since Sabean was elevated from assistant GM at the end of the 1996 season, he has worked with just three managers -- Dusty Baker, Alou and Bochy.

Bochy, 55, became the sixth manager to guide at least two NL franchises to World Series appearances, and he became the fourth skipper to win a title at the helm of the Giants, joining John McGraw (1905, 1921-22), Bill Terry (1933) and Leo Durocher (1954). His 16 consecutive years as a manager, including 12 with the Padres, rank second only to Tony La Russa's 32 years.

Bochy was named NL Manager of the Year in 1996 as part of a 24-year stay as a player, coach and manager in the San Diego organization that left him well atop the Padres' managerial wins list with 951. Along with four postseason appearances, including the 1998 World Series, he has a career 1,274-1,300 (.495) regular-season record, which ranks fourth among active skippers for wins and 33rd on the all-time list. The Giants are 323-325 (.498) under Bochy.

"This has been an incredible ride," Bochy said. "What a year, but not just this year. Coming up to San Francisco, I've just fallen in love with this city. I'm grateful to Brian giving me the resources to help us accomplish what we did last year. We made a lot of changes and ownership allowed us to make the moves that were necessary. That's the way it gets done."

What the organization from Neukom on down and anyone else who was paying attention during the postseason knows, Bochy has not only the leadership chops needed to bring a band of players together, but also the strategic know-how to get the most out of his particular group.

"Bruce is so respected by the coaches and the players and the trainers and everybody else in that clubhouse, and that was a big part of why we won this year," Neukom said. "But he also, more publicly as we all observed, found ways day in and day out with a constantly shifting landscape to solve the Rubik's cube and to put people in positions where they'd have a chance not just to succeed but to excel as players. That's how we got to where we are."

And now that they are where they are, the Giants want to stay there -- and they look at their braintrust of Sabean and Bochy as a key to achieve that result.

"It's a great place in time," Sabean said. "Everybody's on the same page. We understand how difficult this is to do. We understand how difficult it is to go forward, because of how we've raised the bar."

John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.