EXTRA BAGGS: Pence, Aramis not likely for Giants


EXTRA BAGGS: Pence, Aramis not likely for Giants

SAN FRANCISCO Giants GM Brian Sabean left no doubt whyMarco Scutaro was an important piece to add to the roster.

Its his versatility and experience, Sabean said Fridaynight. This is not to disparage players on our team, but you look at theDodgers bench and you look at our bench.

It wasnt a bench player who beat the Giants with a two-runhome run in the Dodgers 5-3, 10-inning victory Friday night. It was former NLbatting champ Hanley Ramirez, acquired from the Miami Marlins when the Dodgersagreed to take on the 30 million still owed to him.

But Sabean tempered expectations that the Giants would makea countermove.

Its not a real good year for us to match up on a biggerpiece, Sabean said. We found that out early, given the number of clubsinvolved, how our roster is situated, and how were constituted payroll-wise,too.

Yes, the payroll: It stands at roughly 130 million, andSabean said on KNBR earlier in the week that he is not getting feedback fromownership that hell get a line of credit to answer the Dodgers by absorbingsalary to take on a big-time hitter.

(The Rockies even kicked in a portion of the 2.2 millionowed to Scutaro in order to get a better player in Triple-A infielder CharlieCulberson.)

That means Aramis Ramirez and his backloaded contract-- 10 million next year, 16 million in 2014 -- probably wont leave Milwaukee for San Francisco. Ive also been told that anyconversations between the Giants and Phillies over outfielder Hunter Pence have not been initiated by Sabeans cabinet.

Yet the Giants will have new faces on the roster soon. Therecould be multiple moves on Saturday as Scutaro joins the roster. PabloSandoval, who wasnt available Friday night, still could go on the disabledlist with a strained left hamstring.

I wasnt going to use him tonight, Giants manager BruceBochy said. Hes making progress and well talk tomorrow. We may have anothermove tomorrow. We do have to make a call. We have to do whats right forPablo.

The Giants could activate Aubrey Huff as well to provide apower threat off the bench, perhaps creating room by demoting Justin Christianor Emmanuel Burriss, who would seem to be less mecessary on the roster now thatScutaro is able to back up at three infield positions.

The roster is in a state of flux, Sabean said.

Scutaro hasnt played third base since 2008 but Sabean saidhed be surprised if the 36-year-old couldnt handle the position.

This guy has been a starting player, Sabean said. This isnot going to threaten (Ryan) Theriot at all, but we do need depth. Hopefully thisis the first of a couple moves. Well see.

I asked Sabean if he sees the potential to acquire a powerthreat for the bench.

Right now Im not sure that exists, Sabean said. Maybesome will come available late. A lot is being bandied about that is not exactlyfactual.

This much is known: The Giants want more bullpen depth,especially from the right side. They might not want to part with the package ofprospects it would take to pry away controllable Cleveland Indians closer ChrisPerez, but perhaps this years version of Ramon Ramirez is lurking out there.

The Scutaro trade was the news to follow in the postgameclubhouse, but Matt Cain did not brush aside a question about Hanley Ramirezsbody language as he circled the bases after his home run in the 10th.

Ramirez posed and watched his shot, then made the lo vistegesture something he carried with him from Miami in the direction of theDodgers dugout.

Yeah, Cain said. Thats something that definitely, guysnotice.

What about the 3-2 pitch to Andre Ethier that Sergio Romodidnt get? (It came two pitches before Ramirezs home run, in case you werentwatching)

Yeah, I think he thought the pitch was there, Bochy saidof Romo. Its one of those pitches you hope you get and we didnt get it. Youput it behind you. He just made a pitch against the next hitter.

There were a few calls there and pitchers were a littlefrustrated. He was calling the same on both sides, I think.

Nate Schierholtzs father, Vai, commented on Twitter thathed seen Dodgers starter Stephen Fife before. His younger son, Vai, got twohits against him while playing for Air Force against the University of Utah.

Its hard to imagine the younger Vai squared one up betterthan his big brother did in the fourth inning with two aboard. But Matt Kempmade the catch on the dead sprint at the wall. There arent many Matt Kemps inthe Mountain West Conference, Id imagine.

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.