EXTRA BAGGS: Crawford prefers large portions, etc


EXTRA BAGGS: Crawford prefers large portions, etc

PHILADELPHIA Brandon Crawford has six major league homeruns. Two are grand slams. Two others are three-run shots. Hes got one of eachon this road trip.

I like to get my moneys worth, I guess, he said.

Note to all-you-can-eat buffets in the SoMa area: If atousled kid with beard stubble and piercing blue eyes walks through your door,do not seat him.

RECAP: Baggs' Instant Replay -- Giants 7, Phillies 2

Crawford is having a road trip to remember, and now its theGiants turn to get greedy and fill the plate. Theyve already guaranteed noworse than a split on this road trip to Atlanta and Philadelphia, two of thetoughest places to play in the NL regardless of where the home clubs sit in thestandings. Now they can go after these next two games with house money and tryto make it a banner trip, beginning with Matt Cain against Cole Hamels onSaturday.

Tim Lincecum rushed up to Crawford at some point after theslam, reminding the young shortstop that his other one came in a Lincecum startat Milwaukee. Lincecum was just as grateful for the pair of highlight playsthat Crawford made, including a diving stop on Placido Polanco that used allthe meaning of full extension.

Incredible, Lincecum said. I gave him a golf clap.

I feel hes just growing and hes a great competitor.

BAGGARLY: Lincecum refuses to be the wimpy kid against Phillies

How did Crawford view the play he made on Polanco?

Off the bat, I wanted it, he said. Thats basically how Iapproach every ground ball. I want to make a play on it.

As mentioned here a few weeks back, Giants officials nowacknowledge they made a mistake last season when they traded for OrlandoCabrera at the end of July and sent Crawford to the minor leagues. Although thetrade market can be unpredictable, they have no plans to supplant Crawford thistime around. They plan to ride it out with him, knowing how much his defensestabilizes the entire infield.

It helps that Crawford entered Fridays game with a .292average in his last 17 contests. And while he hasnt turned on many pitches,his 17 doubles are third on the club behind Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera. Sohe hasnt exactly been a singles swinger.

Now Crawford is implementing a few adjustments that allowhim to use his pull side.

Hes quieted down at the plate, Giants manager Bruce Bochysaid. He was overstriding a little and getting out in front, and consequently,was tying himself up a little bit.

Crawford followed up his slam in the sixth by collecting atwo-out, RBI single to right field in the eighth. He was very much aware ofhis .197 average with runners in scoring position that he carried into the game,as well as his .077 mark (3 for 39) with RISP and two outs.

So that last hit felt as good as the grand slam, he said.

Crawford is sporting two gnarly, purplish nebula-lookingbruises on or above both knees, both sustained on foul tips in the last week.

Cutters, he said. All of them cutters.

Ryan Theriot quietly had four hits, which deserves amention. Call it a quiet riot.

And Eli Whiteside contributed with an RBI double and a solideffort with Lincecum. I know it wasnt a popular decision to start him today,but give him credit for a solid start. There isnt a soul in the clubhouse whois unhappy to see Whiteside back among them.

OK, so Im officially overexposed after my Jeopardy! appearance. But Ill leave you with one thought from todays episode:

If Matt LeBlanc ever stars in a silent movie, count me IN.

Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency


Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency

With free agency set to begin five days after the World Series ends, two hitters that played for the Giants during the 2017 season have put their names on the open market.

Veteran third baseman Conor Gillaspie and longtime minor league outfielder Carlos Moncrief have both elected for free agency, according to Baseball America.

The 30-year-old Gillaspie appeared in 44 games for the Giants this past season. He hit just .168/.218/.288 with four doubles, two home runs and eight RBI. He was designated for assignment on August 3 and outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento on August 5. With the River Cats, Gillaspie hit .375 with four doubles in 15 games in August.

Prior to the 2017 season, Gillaspie signed a one-year, $1.4 million deal with the Giants.

As for Moncrief, the soon-to-be 29-year-old finally got his first call-up the majors this past season after eight and a half seasons in the minors. He debuted for the Giants on July 29. In 28 games, he hit .211/.256/.237 with one double and five RBI. While he didn't do much with the bat, Moncrief showed off a cannon for an arm when he patrolled right field.

Giants reassign pitching coach Dave Righetti, two other coaches


Giants reassign pitching coach Dave Righetti, two other coaches

SAN FRANCISCO — Late in a 98-loss season, general manager Bobby Evans met with members of the coaching staff to discuss new roles. The shakeup of the staff ended up being a stunning one. 

Pitching coach Dave Righetti was one of three coaches to be reassigned Saturday morning. After 18 seasons as pitching coach, Righetti will now serve as special assistant to the general manager. Bullpen coach Mark Gardner was given a “special assignment role to assist in pitching evaluations.” Assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will be a special assistant for baseball operations. 

The moves cap a 13-month run in which the coaching staff has taken much of the blame for a $200 million roster that was poorly constructed in places and played embarrassing baseball for long stretches of the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Third base coach Roberto Kelly was let go after the 2016 season and first base coach Billy Hayes was reassigned. More changes appear on the way. 

“It does raise the level of attention to change when you struggle as much as we have, but you’re always contemplating making changes to try to help keep pushing your guys and make sure you continue to have different perspectives and new voices and reflections on how to get the most out of them,” Evans said on a conference call. 

Throughout September, multiple coaches expressed concern about their future roles, but the Giants held off several weeks before announcing changes. At least two members of the staff were involved in managerial searches elsewhere, and third base coach Phil Nevin is reportedly still a candidate for the open job in Philadelphia. 

Evans confirmed that he has interviewed outside candidates for a hitting coach role, but he would not go so far as to say Hensley Meulens will be reassigned as well. He also would not speak to the future of Ron Wotus, although the longtime bench coach is expected to be mixed up in future changes as well. Evans indicated he would announce further moves after all the open managerial vacancies are filled.

For now, the Giants are in the process of trying to find a new pitching coach. They are focused on experienced outside candidates, and they have plenty of options, as several other teams have made changes this month. Evans hinted that he wants the next pitching coach to have a more analytical approach. 

Righetti's replacement will have massive shoes to fill. His run was the longest for a pitching coach in franchise history. The Giants, usually so reliant on pitching, finished 16th in the Majors with a 4.50 ERA, but it’s hard to see how Righetti takes the blame for that. Madison Bumgarner missed a chunk of the season after a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto had a brutal injury-plagued year, Matt Moore battled himself and had the worst ERA in the National League, and the bullpen struggled, with closer Mark Melancon pitching through an injury that required season-ending surgery. 

Righetti was credited with helping to develop a rotation and bullpen that won three titles, and the bond he shared with pitchers was on display during the final weekend of the year, when Matt Cain talked repeatedly about their close relationship and went straight for Righetti after he came off the field for the final time. While it’s often hard to figure out where to give credit, even in a down year for the staff, Righetti played a role in Sam Dyson’s resurgence, and he helped Ty Blach and Chris Stratton break in as big league regulars. 

“Ultimately a change for us in the clubhouse is really an opportunity just to put a new voice with our pitching staff and try to keep pushing to the heights that we aspire as an organization and a club,” Evans said. “Changes sometimes are needed as much for the sake of that new voice as anything, and I think that was really the priority here.”

Righetti will help Evans in a front office role. Evans admitted that Righetti’s “heartbeat is in uniform as a coach,” but said he was willing to take on a new role for an organization he loves. 

Gardner, a former Giants pitcher, had been on staff since 2003. He will now help to evaluate pitchers inside and outside the organization, and Evans said Gardner could serve an important role in evaluating trade options. Decker joined the big league staff in 2015 after a long run working in the minor leagues. The 2017 season was his 23rd with the organization. He will have a “blank canvas,” Evans said, working in different roles inside the organization. Decker will also help with draft preparation.