Is Bruce Bochy perfect? No.He was damn close to it last fall, though, wasn't he? Every button he pushed, every lever he pulled, every hunch he played, every move he made -- they all worked out as though he'd somehow banked a lifetime of good karma and cashed it all in over the course of one magical month.Cashing out means the account is empty, however, and while the Giants got off to a great start this season thanks to many memorable close, late and thrilling wins at perpetually sold-out AT&T, Bochy's star, which was as high and bright as its ever been in the wake of the World Series win, slowly and inexorably dimmed as the season wore on.He couldn't control the injuries -- 25 disabled-list trips among 21 players, many of them easily classified as "key" -- or the underachievement of 2010 stars such as Cody Ross, Andres Torres, Aubrey Huff and Jonathan Sanchez, but the one consistent criticism of Bochy since he's been at the helm on the shores of McCovey Cove again came to the fore as the Giants slipped from the fore of the National League West.You know the knock. Bochy gives the veterans too much rope, and the veterans often hang themselves with it.It seemed a concept of the past last season, when highly paid but ineffective Aaron Rowand was planted on the bench in favor of Torres, and higher-paid Barry Zito was left off the playoff roster for all three rounds. But it reared its ugly head again this season in the form of Bochy's borderline obsessive compulsion with assuming Huff would wake from his season-long slumber with the lumber.So Bochy, particularly of late, has come under fire from the same fans who sang his praises to high heaven less than a year ago, and that should strike any right-minded fan as somewhat unfair.As stated above, Bochy isn't perfect. No manager is. They all have tendencies that will occasionally or eventually bite them in the butt. They also, because their baseball acumen has led to their hiring as a big-league manager, make a ton of brilliant decisions on a daily basis, many of which most observers are unaware.It might be a quick chat at a struggling young player's locker. It might be a pitching change in the sixth inning of a mid-May afternoon game. It might be dropping someone from second to seventh in the batting order, just because. Heck, It might be something as subtle as a look .Whatever they are, Bochy makes them work more often than not, which is why any criticism leveled at him as the season winds down is unfounded and unfair.Yeah, he probably stuck with Huff a little too long, but if you're going to focus on that as the reason for the Giants' failure to make the playoffs, you're ignoring about a thousand other reasons.In some ways, Bochy has had as good a year in 2011 as he did in 2010. The results have been dissimilar, but not as dissimilar as the circumstances. The man's had to come up with nearly as many lineups as the number of games his oft-fractured team has played, and consistency is a cornerstone of success in the bigs. Yet the lineups with which Bochy came up, came through more often than not, and as such a team that was flawed in many ways still managed to play meaningful baseball into the last week of the season.Perfect? No. Bochy is, though, damn near perfect for the Giants, and to a man they'll tell you that.And isn't that good enough?
Former A's left fielder/DH and Bay Area native, Jonny Gomes, last played Major League Baseball in 2015. The next year, Gomes looked to continue his career in Japan with the Rakuten Golden Eagles.
Gomes struggled in Japan, batting just .169 in 18 games. While in Japan though, Gomes saw firsthand the two-way talent of Shohei Ohtani.
"The dude throws 100 miles per hour consistently," Gomes said Tuesday to MLB Network Radio. "That plays."
With MLB, the Players Association, and the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization agreeing to a new posting system, Ohtani should soon be available as a free agent to MLB teams. Gomes was adamant that Ohtani will live up to the hype.
"If you have the arm speed to throw 100 miles per hour, guess what your slider's gonna do -- yikes. And he also has a split, which is yikes with that arm speed. And he also has a changeup, and he also has a curveball. You're talking about five plus, plus, plus pitches.
"If he was in the draft, I think it would be a no-brainer right now that he'd be No. 1 overall," Gomes said.
Since turning pro as an 18-year-old, Ohtani has been a dominant force on the mound. The 6-foot-3 right-hander owns a 42-15 career record with a 2.52 ERA and 1.076 WHIP.
What makes Ohtani, 23, so intriguing is that he's not only the best pitcher in Japan, he may be the best hitter too. In 2017, Ohtani hit .332 with eight home runs in 65 games. The left fielder/DH owns a .286/.358/.500 career slash line with 48 home runs.
"Now hitting wise, is it gonna transfer, is it not? I've seen the dude hit a fly ball that hit the roof of the Tokyo Dome," Gomes remembers. "So, what does that tell you? That bat speed's there, that power's there, that he's generating a lot out front.
"To be able to hit the roof of the Tokyo Dome is way more impressive than hitting any other roof in the states. It would be like hitting the roof in Seattle when it was closed, it's way up there."
Everyone knows about Ohtani off-the-charts talent. The stats are there. What we don't know as much about is his personality. Gomes does and he believes his leadership will make him be a star in the states.
"I'm a big fan of the dude," Gomes says. "I saw his work ethic, I saw how players treated him, I saw how respectful he was. Over there it's all about seniority. Granted he was the biggest star on the field at any given moment, but still gave the utmost respect to seniority guys on his ball club."
SAN FRANCISCO -- As the Giants continue to wait for a resolution to the Giancarlo Stanton chase, they may soon find themselves bidding on another superstar talent they have long coveted.
According to multiple reports, Major League Baseball, the Players Association, and the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization agreed to a new posting system that should allow Shohei Ohtani to be made available in about 10 days. Joel Sherman of the NY Post reported that MLB owners must ratify the agreement next Friday and Ohtani would then be posted that day or the following day.
The Giants have made no secret of their desire to jump feet-first into that process, and general manager Bobby Evans and assistant GM Jeremy Shelley visited Japan in September to scout Ohtani, a potential two-way star. Ohtani wants to be a starter and a hitter in the big leagues, as he was in Japan, and after watching tape of the 23-year-old, Bruce Bochy said he would be on board.
"He's good," Bochy said after a game at Dodger Stadium late in the season. "I absolutely would play him every day."
There has been little clarity over the past two months as MLB teams have waited for the negotiations to play out. Per Sherman, there will be new posting rules in future years but Ohtani will operate under the old system. That limits the Giants to a $300,000 bonus because they went over their spending limit in 2015, but club officials don't believe that will disqualify them. Very little is known about Ohtani's preferences, but by coming to the United States in 2017, he is potentially forfeiting a $200 million deal as a free agent. That alone is enough to validate the fact that the Giants can safely chase Ohtani, knowing that the signing bonus won't be a deal breaker.