SAN FRANCISCO -- The better the Giants fare, the longer Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy will stick around. That goes without saying. But club management may have put it in writing anyway. Finalizing moves that had been anticipated for weeks, Giants managing general partner Bill Neukom officially announced two-year contract extensions Tuesday for Sabean, San Francisco's general manager, and Bochy, the club's field manager. Both deals include club options for the 2012 season.
The agreements also include performance bonuses -- a staple of many player contracts. Stating his belief in the concept of "incentive compensation," Neukom did not divulge specifics of the bonuses, but it's believed they're tied to the Giants' victory totals and any postseason appearances the club might make. Neukom indicated as such by describing the bonuses as "psychic as well as monetary awards [for] a job well done, baseball well played." Asked during a conference call if the option year in both contracts would become guaranteed if enough performance levels were reached, Neukom neither confirmed nor denied this was so, saying that he "will bring all that together in the second year [of the deals]." Regarding the two-year base length of each contract, Neukom said that upper managemnt "wanted to afford Brian and Bruce some reasonable job security and have them understand that we're committed to their leadership going forward. ... It seemed like the right balance in terms of providing two critically important people with time to take us to the next level." The Giants reached a new level in 2009, improving to 88-74 from 72-90 and remaining in postseason contention through 158 games. Their surge, which ended a stretch of four consecutive losing seasons, virtually guaranteed that Sabean and Bochy would be retained, though Neukom stuck to his initial declaration that both men would be evaluated after the season ended. The performance of San Francisco's Minor League affiliates also reflected well upon Sabean. They finished a combined 463-305 for a .603 winning percentage, the best in organized baseball. Three of the seven teams won league titles. Said Neukom, "At the end of the day, it's your general manager who's in charge of player development and baseball operations and finding the right field manager. If anybody deserves credit for this year's turnaround, it's these two people, Brian and Bruce." In his 13th year as GM, Sabean not only has remained in his post longer than any of his Giants predecessors but also has the longest tenure with the same club among active general managers. His teams have compiled a .532 winning percentage (1,120-984), 12th highest among all GMs since 1950. Sabean, 53, expressed sincere appreciation for the "vote of confidence" Neukom bestowed. "We knew the importance of this year," Sabean said, thanking Bochy, Giants players and "so many people behind the scenes" for their "hard and consistent work." Bochy, 54, enters his fourth year as Giants manager after steering the San Diego Padres to four postseason appearances in 12 years. His 15-year streak as a manager is the fourth longest among active skippers, trailing Tony La Russa (31 years), Bobby Cox and Joe Torre (20 apiece). Echoing Sabean, Bochy called himself "deeply honored" but added, "We do have some work to do." Despite its improved record, San Francisco finished third in the NL West behind Los Angeles, which has reached the League Championship Series, and Colorado, which outlasted the Giants to win the Wild Card. Bochy insisted that he didn't dwell on his employment future during the season. "I was more caught up in making sure [the players] knew how good they are," he said. Scattered speculation had circulated regarding the Giants' possible interest in La Russa, who hasn't confirmed whether he'll return to the St. Louis Cardinals. But Neukom indicated that he didn't seriously consider alternatives to Bochy or Sabean. "This was relatively easy since the team played so well and the results were positive," Neukom said. Sabean said he anticipated no major changes in his front-office personnel. Bochy said he and Sabean would continue to discuss the futures of the members of the coaching staff.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.