Giants

Did Stanton turn down Giants because of Dodgers?

Did Stanton turn down Giants because of Dodgers?

ORLANDO — The baseball world spent the month of November waiting for Giancarlo Stanton to narrow his list and find a new home. It turns out the finalists were decided on the field in October.

Stanton’s agent, Joel Wolfe, confirmed Monday that the National League MVP preferred to play for the Yankees, Astros, Cubs or Dodgers. On the first day of the annual Winter Meetings, Stanton donned the pinstripes for the first time, and he talked about why he felt New York was the right fit in the end. He also talked about why he bothered meeting with the Giants and Cardinals if they were not on his original wish list. 

“(The Marlins) went to San Francisco and the Cardinals and struck deals with them,” Stanton said during a press conference. “So I was open to listening to them, but those were not my teams. Those are great people. They were great meetings and a great organization and culture there, but that just wasn’t the fit for me.”

The Giants flew their executives down to Los Angeles to meet with Stanton and his representatives and they felt the meeting went well. They had already agreed to terms on a package with the Marlins, with mid-level prospects being sent over in return. They were ready to assume the vast majority of the $295 million left on Stanton’s deal.

But this process was controlled by the player, and Stanton called the Marlins’ bluff. He said repeatedly on Monday that he wants to win and he’s tired of rebuilding, and he forced his way to a team that looks ready to kickstart another lengthy run of October appearances. 

The Giants and Cardinals have been postseason mainstays over the past decade, and surely that intrigued Stanton a bit, even if he had other plans. He said he wanted to learn what both organizations were about and that was part of the meeting process. 

“All I’ve experienced is the Marlins and basically one way of going about things,” he said. “So I wanted to see how other organizations went about their business and how the city and everything would appeal to me if that was a way that I wanted to go.”

During an appearance on MLB Network after his press conference, Stanton said he hopes Giants and Cardinals fans don’t hold the process against him. For the Giants, at the very least, Stanton is not a Dodger, and that played a part in this process, too. Wolfe compared Stanton — a Los Angeles native — to Brandon Crawford (another of his clients) potentially playing for the Dodgers. When he met with a scrum of reporters, Stanton said playing for his childhood team’s rival played a small part in the process. 

“I wouldn’t base a decision off that but also I wouldn’t want to go to the team that (the Dodgers) dislike the most, and I wasn’t sure if (the Giants) were going to beat that team, either,” Stanton said. “But at the same time if they were in the right position that I wanted, I would have done it.”

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

SAN FRANCISCO — The field at AT&T Park is covered with patches and small piles of dirt right now, showing the signs of a winter hosting holiday parties and concerts, and a week with plenty of rain. 

For Evan Longoria, though, that grass was a beautiful sight.

A month after a trade that had him switching coasts, Longoria was introduced at a press conference at AT&T Park and ran the usual gauntlet with team employees and season-ticket holders. He spent some time this week looking for housing in the Bay Area, but soon he’ll be back in Scottsdale, getting to know new teammates and preparing his body for the 2018 season. 

Longoria said his workouts have been a bit different with a new staff, but the goal remains the same. He is a player who prides himself on taking the field every day, and that’s one of the traits that drew the Giants to Longoria. He has played at least 156 games in five consecutive seasons, and 160 in four of those seasons. 

It’s no accident that Bruce Bochy has mentioned durability during every media session this season. Andrew McCutchen has a similar track record, and the Giants lineup certainly could use some stability, especially at third base, where seven different players made double-digit starts last season. Longoria will change that. 

“I have a desire to play every day, and I think that that is infectious,” he said. “Players that may feel the grind of a long season or might be in a little bit of a funk offensively or defensively or with pitching, something like that can give you a boost when you have guys around that you know come to play and compete on a daily basis, no matter what the circumstance is.”

[RELATED: Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster]

For Longoria, who turned 32 early in the offseason, the circumstance has changed for the better. After years on the unforgiving turf at The Trop, he comes to a park and division featuring nothing but natural grass. 

“I hope it helps,” he said. “Going on the road (with the Rays), my body definitely felt better when I played on grass. I’m sure that it will help. It’s definitely not going to be a negative. Not playing on the turf anymore is something that crossed my mind as soon as the trade happened.”

Longoria expects to benefit from another aspect of AT&T Park, too. The Rays finished dead last in the majors last year with an average of 15,670 fans per game. Even though their sellout streak ended, the Giants still had an average of more than 40,000 per night. Asked about playing outdoors, Longoria smiled and added, “in front of fans.”

“The environment here is obviously much different, so it’s going to be nice to step into that on a daily basis and play in front of a fan base that’s obviously very storied,” he said. “It helps with energy. It helps with motivation.”

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

Andrew McCutchen has been one of the best players in the National League for years now. The 31-year-old is a five-time All-Star and was named the 2013 NL MVP. 

Not only do his stats stand out, McCutchen is also one of the most entertaining players in baseball. And that's clearly going to continue in San Francisco. 

On Thursday, McCutchen was asked about the famous seagulls of San Francisco flying around the outfield at AT&T Park. 

"I definitely made a few friends out there over the years. Steve the Seagull out there, I know him," McCutchen said on KNBR. "He comes in every now and then. We have a little pow-wow when I come to San Francisco. Yeah, we get along well, me and the guys, me and the birds. They know when to come in that's for sure." 

Denard Span, who the Giants traded to acquire Evan Longoria, had a much different relationship with the seagulls. 

McCutchen is clearly the opposite of Span in this regard though. He seems about as calm as can be when it comes to the birds paying him a visit. 

"They chill, we have some conversations. It's all good," says McCutchen. 

One other aspect McCutchen can't wait for in the outfield at AT&T Park, is getting to know all the fans. Specifically, not being a part of a special chant Giants fans have for opposing outfielders. 

"I'm lookin' forward to fans not callin' me bums anymore," McCutchen said with a laugh. "I'm glad I'm on the winning side. I'm glad I'm on the San Francisco Giants side. I can't wait to meet all the fans."