Giants

Cain keeping tabs on Hamels and Philly

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Cain keeping tabs on Hamels and Philly

SCOTTSDALE,Ariz. Their words were so similar, they couldve been reading from the samescript.OnMonday in Phillies camp, left-hander Cole Hamels spent 44 minutes tellingreporters how he loves Philadelphia and hopes to commit long term. But whenasked about accepting a hometown discount, he gracefully dodged the question.He talked about his passion for winning, instead.Youwonder if he called Matt Cain and asked him to send over his transcript fromthe Giants FanFest earlier this month.Iliked the part when they asked if his agent was talking to the team right now,Cain told me. And he said, I know theyre supposed to. That was pretty funny.Yes,Cain is paying attention to Hamels. And for good reason. Swap out their names,change Phillies to Giants and replace left-hander with right-hander.Then try to spot the differences in the two stories.Bothare highly regarded, highly intelligent, durable aces. Both are decorated inthe postseason. (Cain has a 0.00 ERA in three playoff starts, while Hamels is aWorld Series MVP.) Both will hit the open market after making 15 million thisseason. Both have spent their entire careers with the same organization, andtheir well-heeled clubs are keen on bringing them back. Yeah,but hes got longer hair, said Cain, a reference to Hamels Hollywood flair.I dont have as good a figure.Thefigures that really matter are impressive and similar. Hamels, 28, is 74-54with a 3.39 ERA in five seasons. He has a 2.92 ERA and struck out 405 battersthe last two years. Cain, 27, is 69-73 with a 3.35 ERA in six-plus seasons. Hehas a 3.01 ERA and struck out 356 batters the last two years.Theresalso a shared assumption that both are comfortable where they are and wouldaccept a friendly deal to stay something in line with the five-year, 85million that Jered Weaver signed with the Angels. Its not an entirely accurateperception and its certainly not helpful to either pitcher, although Hamelscamp has taken more aggressive steps to combat it.Hamels'agent, John Boggs, told CSN Phillies Insider Jim Salisbury in January thatWeaver was not a fair comparable.Thatcontract is great for Jered. I understand it. But he took a different path andleft a lot of money on the table, Boggs said. He came up through the Angelssystem and grew up in their backyard. Hes pitching where he grew up. Thatsituation appeals to him. Its a similar situation to when I had Tony Gwynn.Without getting into specifics of what were looking for, the Weaver situationis unique to Weaver.Hamelsis a SoCal kid pitching in Philly. The speculation is that hed love pitchingin Dodger blue. Cains motivations are a little different. He is from the Memphisarea, but he met his wife, Chelsea, in Scottsdale and they spend most of theoffseason in Arizona.ItsChelsea who made sure to monitor everything Hamels said on Monday.Oh,shes good about that, Cain said. Ive never been a huge guy to readeverything. She tells me whats going on all over the league. She keeps me inline and thats good for me.Baseballis about to be very good to the Cain clan, whether they reach free agency ornot. Some agents believe that if Cain hits the open market, he'd command a contract greater than the six-year, 137.5 million that Johan Santana got from the Mets in 2008. More recently,C.J. Wilson signed afive-year, 77.5 million deal with the Angels in December but only after turning down sixyears and almost 100 million from the Florida Marlins.AndWilson doesnt have the resume to match Cain or Hamels, who would be the clearstars of the free-agent pitching class next winter. If one signs a long-term deal this spring, it will provide a clear template for the other.
Sois Cain waiting for Hamels to set the market with an extension? Or vice versa?Itdoes seem like it happens that way, Cain said. You end up waiting on otherguys to get a deal done. But you never really know whats going on with them,and they dont know whats going on with us.Soyou cant sit there and wait. Youve got to do your homework on your own.Cainlaughed.Idont know, he said. I guess I should call him and see whats going on,right?

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

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AP

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

SAN FRANCISCO -- A familiar face is returning to the Giants organization to serve a key front office role.

The Giants announced Friday that David Bell, their former third baseman, has been hired as Vice President of Player Development. General manager Bobby Evans said Bell will oversee all aspects of player development, including hitting, pitching, strength and conditioning and the operations of the minor league affiliates. 

"He was the perfect fit," Evans said. "His experience is so strong and encompasses so many aspects of the game. He’s got a really strong base of experience and background and understanding of the game, and he has a passion for the game and working with young players. He really showed a desire to pursue this opportunity." 

Bell, 45, played 12 major league seasons and spent 2002 with the Giants. He hit 20 homers that year as the starting third baseman and scored the winning run in the final game of the NLCS. Since retiring, Bell has served as a minor league manager for the Reds and a big league coach for the Cubs and Cardinals. He spent last season as the bench coach in St. Louis. 

Shane Turner had previously served as farm director, but at the end of the minor league season he was asked to take a role as a special assistant in baseball operations. While Evans did not announce any other changes Friday, there are expected to be other moves within the organization's depth chart. At least one member of the coaching staff is still in the running for a managerial opening. 

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

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AP

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

Firing a manager is easy, and there are lots of ways to do it.

Dusty Baker, for example. He worked this year on the last year of a contract, which usually means there won’t be another one, and he relied on his players to deliver the goods.

Which, as we remember from our reading, they didn’t do. Again.

But Baker was marked for the chop unless those players did deliver, and when they didn’t, general manager Mike Rizzo did the expedient thing.

He fired one person rather than several. And changed exactly nothing.

Baker’s managerial career is probably over now, as most teams don’t look at 68-year-olds to fix their teams. He will never manage a  World Series champion, something he ached for, and he was always be caricatured in part as the guy who didn’t speak metric, and who believed in players as men whenever in doubt.

And the Nats didn’t betray him, either. They were always not as good in the big moments because someone else was, and they became part of Washington’s new fetish – Why Can’t We Win One? It’s as if having a cringeworthy President isn’t good enough for them.

So the time came, and he will be replaced by someone who will either win and get credit for work that was largely his, or he won’t win and the town can continue to wallow in its tedious We’re-The-New-Cubs pity. It is the circle of life.

At least it is for groups of people. For individuals, the circle of life is actually nothing more than a straight line that ends abruptly. For Dusty Baker, as it did for Tony La Russa in Phoenix two days earlier, that day came today. He deserves to be remembered as a very good manager who won a lot more than he lost, made more friends than enemies, and was honest from Day One until the end.

Which, as we also know, doesn’t matter a whole lot on days like this.