A surprise name has been thrown into the Giants’ hunt for a new head of baseball operations. Earlier this morning, Bob Nightengale tweeted out that Amiel Sawdaye has interviewed with the Giants and will continue to be a contender for the job.
The #SFGiants brought in Arizona #Dbacks senior vice president Amiel Sawdaye to interview for their VP/head of baseball operations opening, and is expected to be among the finalists for the prized position.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 15, 2018
This of course comes with the Nightengale caveat, so the specific details might not be 100 percent accurate. Sawdaye might be expected to be a finalist in the same way that Ned Colletti was expected to return. Sawdaye’s name wasn’t included in Alex Pavlovic’s original list of potential candidates, but if the Giants are serious about him, and he’s serious about the Giants, this should be a welcome development.
For the past two years, Amiel Sawdaye has been the assistant general manager of the Diamondbacks. He was part of the new front office that transformed the Diamondbacks after Dave Stewart ran the organization in the ground. He helped turn the Diamondbacks from the team that traded Dansby Swanson, Touki Toussant, and Ender Inciarte into the team that got JD Martinez from the Tigers for a cardboard cutout of Paul Goldschmidt.
Before he was with the Diamondbacks he spent the previous fifteen years working with the Red Sox. He began as an intern in 2002 and worked his way up to become the vice president of amateur and internationals scouting. During his six years in that role, the Red Sox drafted and developed players like Matt Barnes, Travis Shaw, Blake Swihart, and Mookie Betts. Would the Giants get their own Mookie Betts if Sawdaye joined the organization? Probably not, but it’s something to hope for. It would at the least indicate that Sawdaye would foster more bleeding edge scouting techniques. Remember that the Red Sox liked Mookie Betts because he performed well on visual acuity tests.
Sawdaye is an analytically-oriented baseball mind, and most of his time with the Red Sox was spent in the scouting department, so he fits Larry Baer’s “get you a GM who can do both” edict. He has a track record of success, and he appears to be well-liked and well-respected within the game. His hand in turning the Diamondbacks around so quickly also fits with the Giants’ desires to not rebuild. The Diamondbacks similarly had the pieces there to be competitive but needed to make better decisions in filling out the roster.
Currently, the Mets haven’t shown interest in Sawdaye, but the Orioles, who are looking to replace Dan Duquette likely have him on their radar. Sawdaye is Baltimore native, so he might want to return home or play his job on hard-mode. He could also decide that he’s happy in Arizona working with Mike Hazen who had also come over from the Red Sox.
The Giants could certainly do worse than Sawdaye. If they do land him, he ought to help the Giants catch up with the rest of the league.