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.”

Giants win first series of 2018 season thanks to Cueto, Longoria and Belt

Giants win first series of 2018 season thanks to Cueto, Longoria and Belt

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM -- Brandon Belt hung in for an epic 21-pitch at-bat before flying out, but later homered to lead Johnny Cueto and the San Francisco Giants over the Los Angeles Angels 4-2 on Sunday.

Belt fouled off 11 straight pitches from rookie right-hander Jaime Barria in the first inning in the majors' longest at-bat since records began in 1988. The previous high of 20 pitches in a plate appearance since 1988 was when Houston's Ricky Gutierrez struck out against Cleveland's Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, according to Retrosheet.

In all, the left-handed Belt peppered the crowd with 16 foul balls his first time up. He hit two long fouls down the right-field line before lining out to right fielder Kole Calhoun, ending an at-bat the Giants said lasted 12 minutes, 45 seconds.

It took nine pitches for Belt to work the count full, as he fouled off five pitches in the process. He swung and missed just once, and was greeted with high-fives when he returned to the dugout.

Angels pitching coach Charles Nagy made a mound visit to check on Barria (1-1) after Belt batted. Barria had thrown nine pitches to Joe Panik, who hit a leadoff single, before throwing 21 to Belt.

Belt singled and scored in the third and launched a leadoff homer to right against Blake Parker in the fifth. Belt saw a total of 38 pitches in his first three at-bats, then hit the first pitch his last two times up.

Cueto (2-0) allowed only two hits in six shutout innings against cleanup batter Shohei Ohtani and the Angels. Cueto took a no-hitter into the sixth and struck out seven.

Cueto twice fanned the lefty-hitting Ohtani by getting the Japanese two-way sensation to flail at change-ups. Cueto also struck out Mike Trout twice.

The Giants right-hander walked two, hit two batters and lowered his ERA in four starts to 0.35.

The Angels were scoreless until Trout hit a two-run homer in the eighth, his big league-leading ninth and his third in as many games. The opposite-field shot to right-center came off Cory Gearrin.

Los Angeles had runners on the corners with two outs in the ninth before Hunter Strickland got Ian Kinsler to fly out to center for his third save in five chances.

Kinsler led off the sixth with a single for the Angels' first hit. Ohtani singled with one out to load the bases, but Cueto got Luis Valbuena to ground into a 3-6-1 double play. Cueto excitedly pumped his right fist after taking the throw from shortstop Brandon Crawford.

Ohtani batted cleanup for the first time because Albert Pujols got his first day off this season. He finished 1 for 4.

Panik also had three hits apiece for the Giants, who took two of three for their first series win of the season.

Barria threw 49 pitches in the first inning. He loaded the bases on three singles with one out before retiring Evan Longoria and Pablo Sandoval.

Barria loaded the bases with no outs in the third before making way for Noe Ramirez. Joe Panik scored on Buster Posey's double-play ball and Evan Longoria followed with a two-run homer, his fourth.

Barria allowed two runs and six hits, struck out one and walked one. He got only six outs on 77 pitches.

OHTANI WATCH:
The 23-year-old threw a bullpen session some 90 minutes before first pitch and is scheduled to make his next start Tuesday at Houston. A blister on his right middle finger forced him out of his start after just two innings Tuesday night against Boston.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Angels: SS Andrelton Simmons suffered a bruised right forearm when he was hit by a pitch by Cueto in the second. He was replaced in the top of the third by Jefrey Marte.

UP NEXT:
Giants: RHP Chris Stratton (1-1, 2.22) is scheduled to start Monday night in the opener of a home three-game series with Washington, which counters with LHP Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 2.49).

Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs (2-1, 3.98) looks to go 3-0 on the road this season when he opens series at Houston versus UCLA product Gerrit Cole (2-0, 0.96).

Brandon Belt sets modern MLB record with 21-pitch at-bat

Brandon Belt sets modern MLB record with 21-pitch at-bat

ANAHEIM -- Brandon Belt of the San Francisco Giants saw 21 pitches in an epic plate appearance against Los Angeles Angels rookie right-hander Jaime Barria in the first inning Sunday, the most since records began in 1988.

The previous high of 20 pitches in a plate appearance since 1988 was when Houston's Ricky Gutierrez struck out against Cleveland's Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, according to Retrosheet.

The left-handed Belt peppered the crowd with plenty of souvenirs by fouling off 11 straight pitches, including two long fouls down the right-field line, before lining out to right fielder Kole Calhoun.

Belt was greeted with high-fives when he returned to the dugout.

It took nine pitches for Belt to work the count full, as he fouled off five pitches in the process. He swung and missed just once.

Angels pitching coach Charles Nagy made a mound visit to check on Barria after the Belt at-bat. Barria had thrown nine pitches to Joe Panik, who hit a leadoff single, before throwing 21 to Belt.

Barria threw 49 pitches in the first inning. He loaded the bases with one out before retiring Evan Longoria and Pablo Sandoval.