SAN FRANCISCO -- Though the Giants' course has changed through the years, the men at the helm haven't. And, through at least the near future, they won't. The team's hierarchy saw to it that general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy will maintain their longevity, announcing Tuesday that both received contract extensions through 2013 with club options for 2014. Sabean, approaching his 16th season at his post, and Bochy, who has managed consecutively since 1995, are the longest-tenured individuals at their respective positions in the Major Leagues. Giants president and newly crowned chief executive officer Larry Baer explained their status simply:
"I strongly believe that Brian and Bruce are the best at their crafts in the game," Baer said. Other current GMs have assembled more winning teams than Sabean, who has built five postseason qualifiers (1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2010). A handful of active managers have tasted triumph more consistently than Bochy, whose teams have finished 1,360-1,376, including 409-401 by the Giants since 2007. But Baer indicated that the efforts of Sabean and Bochy transcend the bottom line -- though professional sports is a bottom-line industry. "We all know we're in a business with 'up' cycles," Baer said. "You have to look at that and look at how long-term performance plays out. You look at what resources you have. Brian has overseen the operation through all sorts of environments." Inheriting a dreadful team that finished 68-94 in 1996, Sabean constructed a team that won the National League West the following season in his first full year as GM. That marked the first of four postseason appearances in seven years for the Giants. Supervising a renewed emphasis on scouting and player development while San Francisco slouched through four losing seasons in a row (2005-08), Sabean gradually improved the Giants, whose streak of three winning seasons includes the 2010 World Series title. Under Sabean, the Giants' long-term performance that Baer mentioned has evolved. Formerly led by slugger Barry Bonds and complemented by decent pitching, San Francisco metamorphosed into a unit that's almost totally reliant on pitching. During the Bonds era, Sabean frequently grabbed free agents to fill player personnel needs. But the World Series winners had 10 homegrown players on the postseason roster, including all four starting pitchers. "We're proud and thankful," said Sabean, 55. "We don't take the extension lightly. Baseball's a tough game to succeed in." Bochy is among six managers to steer at least two different National League teams into the World Series. He's also one of four Giants managers to win the Fall Classic, along with John McGraw (1905, 1921-22), Bill Terry (1933) and Leo Durocher (1954). "I'm just thrilled to continue to be part of the Giant family and look forward to the quest of bringing another championship to San Francisco," said Bochy, 56. Though the club options on the 2012 contracts for Sabean and Bochy were exercised after the Giants won the Series, some observers questioned why neither one received a longer contract extension. Baer, who officially succeeded Bill Neukom as CEO on Nov. 17, indicated in September that Sabean and Bochy would receive additional job security. Still, Baer was asked Tuesday why Sabean and Bochy didn't receive two-year contracts. Baer cited precedent, pointing out that offering extensions before the contract's final year was the team's recent "format." Added Baer, "All parties were comfortable with it." Baer said that the lengthy stints enjoyed by Sabean and Bochy reflect part of the franchise's character. "It's sort of our hallmark," said Baer, himself a member of the Giants' front office since December 1992. "We like to think of it that way, not just with our executives and our manager, but kind of throughout the organization. We've had a lot of people who have served the organization long term. Different organizations have different imprints. I think one of our key imprints is that we're stable, we have continuity, and for our fans to see that and know that and understand that sends an important message."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.