SAN FRANCISCO -- At the end of a long and emotional day, Bruce Bochy got one last question that hit him hard. He was wrapping up his final press conference as manager of the Giants when he was asked what he would tell his successor.
Bochy smiled and started tapping a water bottle against the podium. He fiddled with his sunglasses as he tried to keep the emotions in.
"He's got the best job in baseball," he said, his voice cracking. "And I mean that. I talked about the owners and our front office and this city, the surrounding areas, the ballpark and the fans. He's getting the best job in baseball."
Bochy was speaking after a 9-0 loss that capped a 77-85 season, which followed two losing seasons. The roster showed some promise this year, but also is filled with aging core players who have seen their numbers drop dramatically. But still, there's plenty of merit to what Bochy said.
The ballpark is as good as any and the fan base remains more supportive than most, even though attendance has dropped. Drawing 27,000 is considered a bad night at Oracle Park, but would be cause for celebration in most MLB cities.
The roster needs plenty of work, but some new pieces -- Mike Yastrzemski, Mauricio Dubon, Logan Webb, Shaun Anderson, Tyler Beede etc. -- started to flash this season, and the farm system is vastly improved from previous years. With Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos, Marco Luciano and others on the way, there's hope for the future.
Then there are the resources. The Giants had the fifth-highest payroll in the Majors this year even after finishing second in the bidding for Bryce Harper, who got an offer of $310 million. If they want to, they can afford any free agent, and those decisions will be made by a relatively new head of baseball operations, Farhan Zaidi, who is widely viewed by peers as one of the sharpest front office minds around.
There are reasons for concern about the 2020 club but still plenty to like for those who come in for interviews. The Giants are expected to have a drawn-out process, possibly going well into November before hiring Bochy's replacement. Zaidi is expected to interview more than a dozen candidates, and some within the organization believe there will be surprises and creative names on the list.
Zaidi will lay out part of his vision on Tuesday when he meets with the media in the morning. But as he puts his list together and looks for the right hire, he certainly has a pretty good salesman a phone call away.
"He's going to not just appreciate it, he's going to love it," Bochy said of his successor earlier in the week. "It's just a great place. It changed my life when I came up here."