The San Francisco Giants have hired former Chicago Cubs assistant general manager Scott Harris as their new general manager.
A native of Redwood City and a product of The Menlo School, Harris, 32, worked closely with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer in the Cubs front office, being promoted to assistant GM in 2018 after spending five seasons as director of baseball operations. Before that, he worked for the Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds and served as coordinator of minor league operations for Major League Baseball.
A 2009 graduate of UCLA, Harris caught on with the Cubs at the age of 25 in 2012, and then took his master’s degree from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management in 2015.
“I am so appreciative and honored to join the San Francisco Giants, a storied franchise with a loyal, passionate and deserving fan base,” Harris said in a statement. “I’m humbled by the opportunity to help bring the next World Championship to Giants fans and to San Francisco, a city that has always held a special place in my heart. I’m excited to get to work with Farhan, our baseball operations staff and the rest of the Giants family.”
Part of Eptsein’s front office in Chicago, Harris has experience in the kind of analytics-heavy operation governed by Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. Harris was said to be thought of as the next Hoyer — who worked closely with Epstein on many major decisions — as he and Zaidi would continue to remake the franchise’s minor league system and upgrade the major-league roster.
“I don’t really necessarily believe view it as a fixed division of labor, where my job is going to be to handle these few things, and the general manager is going to handle these others,” Zaidi said at his post-season press conference, when discussing the what he was looking for in a general manager. “It’s really about just sharing the load of managing the overall operation. And I think by not defining it, specifically, it opens up the candidate pool, whether it’s somebody that has experience and expertise in scouting, or player development or administration.
“Whatever their strengths are, you know, hopefully, you know, we can complement each other and work well, and we increase our overall kind of management bandwidth of the operation, which is, I think, what we really need at this point.”
During his time with the league office, he became intimately familiar with baseball’s inner workings, providing transaction support and analysis to all 30 clubs and working on the First-Year Player Draft, the Rule 5 Draft, the World Baseball Classic and various industry studies.
In a profile on The Athletic, Epstein said of Harris: “He’s really bright and a really hard worker. He has a strong, well-rounded executive background. But you wouldn’t know by hanging around him. He’s not one of these guys telling you where he got his degree, that he went to business school, that he worked in the commissioner’s office, that he knows the rules better than you.
“He’s really easy to get along with, people like being around him and he just makes the group better by being a great team player. That’s super important. And it goes a long way. Especially if you’re going to move fast at a young age. People can be jealous of that and look for ways for you to piss them off. But it’s hard to find a way for Scott Harris to piss anyone off.”
A Redwood City native, Harris majored in international economics and played club lacrosse at UCLA, and saw the new wave of front offices emerge during his undergraduate years. He studied at the London School of Economics in 2007, and in 2008, seeking to be a part of baseball’s changing landscape, he wrote letters to every Major League team. One of the letters he received back was from Al Rosen, the former American League MVP and Giants general manager. He provided advice and helped Harris get his first taste of the business at an internship with the Nationals.
After graduating, he took a baseball operations internship with the Reds, parlaying that into his full-time job with the league office, where he enrolled at Columbia Business School. A year later, the Cubs called, he transferred to Northwestern and found a way to balance his business school classes with the full-time job requirements. It was that kind of work ethic that got him the assistant general manager job which he now leaves.
Zaidi’s next task will be to hire a field manager that can work with Harris. Given that Zaidi said in his post-season post-mortem that the searches would happen concurrently, it’s likely that San Francisco will come to that decision soon.
Thought by many to be a rising star in the world of baseball executives, it’s entirely likely that Harris was a major part of the Cubs’ manager search to replace Joe Maddon. A man now widely thought to be the favorite to land the San Francisco job — Astros bench coach Joe Espada — was one of the favorites for the Chicago job before David Ross won out.