Giants

Buster Posey wins fourth Silver Slugger Award

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USATI

Buster Posey wins fourth Silver Slugger Award

SAN FRANCISCO — Limited time behind the plate might have kept Buster Posey from winning another Gold Glove Award, but it didn’t keep him from picking up a prestigious hitting award. On Thursday, Posey won his fourth career Silver Slugger Award and his third in four seasons. 

The Silver Slugger is given to the top-hitting player at each position, and in a down year for the Giants lineup, Posey stood out. He finished fifth in the National League with a .320 average and posted a .400 on-base percentage, his highest mark since his MVP season of 2012. Posey had only 12 homers, but he led National League catchers with 34 doubles and finished third with 67 RBI. 

Posey joined Brian McCann, Mike Piazza, Benito Santiago and Gary Carter as the only National League catchers with at least four Silver Slugger Awards. 

The other National League winners were: Paul Goldschmidt, Daniel Murphy, Corey Seager, Nolan Arenado, Giancarlo Stanton, Charlie Blackmon, Marcell Ozuna and Adam Wainwright. 

Giants gain payroll flexibility, trade Matt Moore to Texas

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AP

Giants gain payroll flexibility, trade Matt Moore to Texas

On the first night of the Winter Meetings, Giants officials indicated they planned to stay under the $197 million luxury tax line. On the last night of the Winter Meetings, general manager Bobby Evans said he had offers in hand that would allow the club to shed payroll. Friday, it all came together. 

The Giants traded Matt Moore and international bonus pool money to the Texas Rangers in exchange for minor league right-handers Sam Wolff and Israel Cruz. The deal costs them their No. 4 starter, but also gives the Giants an extra $9 million to play with as they look to fill multiple holes. The Giants previously had only about $10 million to spend before reaching the tax line for a fourth straight year, but they now have nearly $20 million as they look for upgrades in center field, right field and third base. 

“This move allows us to reallocate our resources to address our position player needs,” Evans said. “In addition, we are pleased to add two power arms to our system. Our focus remains to strengthen our outfield defense and our everyday lineup.”

Moore, 28, was acquired at the deadline in 2016 in exchange for Matt Duffy, Lucius Fox and Michael Santos. The results were mixed. Moore was a boost to the rotation down the stretch that year and would have gone down as a postseason hero for the Giants had the bullpen not blown Game 4 of the NLDS. He had a 5.52 ERA in 2017, but at the same time, the Giants always felt the trade was worth it. Duffy missed the entire season with an Achilles issue and Fox, while an intriguing prospect, remains far from the big leagues. 

The Giants believed Moore could bounce back next year, and they never waffled with his 2018 option, even though at times it seemed they shouldn't pick it up. Team officials said this week that Moore was already in the Phoenix area working with new pitching coach Curt Young, and they expected big things. 

Instead, Moore is headed to the Rangers and the Giants will dive back into the free agent market. They can fill their starting hole internally, with Ty Blach and Chris Stratton as holdovers and top pitching prospect Tyler Beede viewed as being big league ready. Left-hander Andrew Suarez also is close to being ready for a big league shot. 

Wolff, 26, had a 2.98 ERA as a reliever in Double-A and Triple-A last season. Cruz is just 20 years old and spent last season in rookie ball. He is years away, but this was a deal made with 2018 in mind. 

The Giants dealt from a rare area of strength, and now they'll have a chance to try to bolster a lineup that failed their starters, including Moore. 

Giants hero Travis Ishikawa joins overhaul of minor league coaching staffs

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USATSI

Giants hero Travis Ishikawa joins overhaul of minor league coaching staffs

ORLANDO — At the winter meetings this week, David Bell spoke of what an impact his one year in San Francisco had on his playing career and life. The Giants are hoping their new Vice President of Player Personnel has a similarly long-lasting impact on their minor league system. 

Bell, hired earlier this offseason, has led a reboot of the minor league staffs and protocols, and on Friday the Giants announced some of the results. 

Several familiar names returned to join minor league coaching staffs, most notably Travis Ishikawa, the 2014 postseason hero who will now serve as hitting coach for an Arizona Rookie League team. On a larger scale, the Giants have added a fourth coach at every level, a second rookie team, changed their medical staff for the minor leagues, upgraded their facility in the Dominican Republic and put more of an emphasis on analytics and modern ways to take care of players. 

“We’re basically completing a pretty significant rebuild of our system,” general manager Bobby Evans said earlier this week. 

Bell, the former bench coach of the St. Louis Cardinals, was put in charge. Evans said the focus was on giving players the best possible chance to succeed, noting that they now enter professional ball in an age when many prospects have their own mental coaches and come from college programs with state of the art facilities. The Giants built a dynasty on player development, but they have fallen behind in recent years and failed to adequately restock the big league club. This will take time, team officials admit, but they feel the results will be there. 

“This is about our farm system in 2020 and beyond,” Evans said. “I really want to see David set up an environment and culture in our minor league system that is consistent with who we are as an organization and who David is as a baseball man.”

In addition to Bell, former Padres hitting coach Alan Zinter joins the organization as assistant director of player development in charge of offense. Matt Buschmann, a former Diamondbacks pitcher, has the same role and is in charge of “run prevention.” After two years as Angels hitting coach, Dave Hansen will be the minor league hitting coordinator. Julio Rangel, a former Indians pitching coordinator, will have the same role for the Giants. Some already in the organization were given new roles, including Double-A manager Kyle Haines (now assistant director of player development, instruction) and Geoff Head, who will leave his clubhouse position to oversee the medical system in the minor leagues. 

Here are the new full-season coaching staffs:

Triple-A Sacramento: Dave Brundage (manager), Steve Kline (pitching), Damon Minor (hitting), Nestor Rojas (fundamentals), David Getsoff (trainer), Andy King (strength and conditioning), Travis Higgs (bullpen catcher).

Double-A Richmond: Willie Harris (manager), Glenn Dishman (pitching), Francisco Morales (hitting), Hiro Sato (trainer), Jon Medici (strength and conditioning), Eliezer Zambrano (bullpen catcher).

High-A San Jose: Lipso Nava (manager), Matt Yourkin (pitching), Wilfredo Romero (hitting), Gary Davenport (fundamentals), Ryo Watanabe (trainer), Mark Spadavecchia (strength and conditioning), CJ Picerni (bullpen catcher). 

Low-A Augusta: Jolbert Cabrera (manager), Clayton Rapada (pitching), Thomas Neal (hitting), Ydwin Villegas (fundamentals), Vito Maffei (trainer), Jesse White (strength and conditioning), Michael Johnson (bullpen catcher).