Giants

EXTRAS: Burriss plans to bring the leather this time

617126.jpg

EXTRAS: Burriss plans to bring the leather this time

Emmanuel Burriss wasnt so well equipped last season.

No longer limited to the middle infield, Burriss became a utility-man extraordinaire, getting experience at left field, third base and even first base. He did surprisingly well at all positions, giving him an edge to win the last spot on the Giants opening-day roster as he enters spring training.

But he always seemed to be playing with a borrowed glove.

He used catcher Chris Stewarts first basemans mitt, bench coach Ron Wotus third basemans glove and he snagged some extra leather from Nate Schierholtz whenever Bruce Bochy pointed him to the outfield.

When Burriss played the outfield at Triple-A Fresno, he raided the locker of Grizzlies teammate Tyler La Torre.

Wait. Isnt La Torre a catcher?

Uh yeah, Burriss said.

Now Burriss has a whole new collection of gloves on order. Hell enjoy breaking them in this spring and never needing to rely on the charity of his teammates.

Not that Stewart minded handing over his first basemans mitt.

He kept it warm for me, Stewart said. When I needed it, it was ready to go.

You might wonder: Why does Stewart own a first basemans mitt in the first place? Well, he has his own glove story to tell. He had been called up by the Chicago White Sox in 2006 and joined the team at Fenway Park.

Ozzie (Guillen) called me over from the bullpen, so here I think Im coming in to catch, Stewart said. I get to the dugout and Ozzie says, If (Paul) Konerko gets on, youll pinch run and youll play first base. Oh, and do you have a glove?

Stewart couldnt just say no, could he? Of course not. He told Guillen he would find a glove, then he began to envision all the ways he could look like a total spaz in his major league debut.

Then Konerko lined out, Stewart said. And I took a deep breath and I sat down on the bench.

Stewart has one more message to pass along to Burriss:

Tell him he can borrow my catchers mitt if he wants to, he said, grinning. Anytime.

--

As expected, Buster Posey did not catch any bullpens Monday. He did take batting practice without his ankle brace and participated in other drills. He iced down his ankle after the workout.

--

Ryan Vogelsong is not having a great spring thus far. In addition to his strained back, which could force him to sit out the first two weeks of camp, Vogelsong was sent home Monday with flu-like symptoms.

REWIND: Back strain slows Vogelsong's spring

Were getting it all out of the way early, Bochy said.

--

With Vogelsong out, the Giants are looking at their starting pitching depth and maybe even scanning the free-agent ranks to find a last-minute arm or two. For now, Ramon Ortiz and Brian Burres will be stretched out along with Eric Surkamp.

--

Another player who will be sidelined is minor league infield prospect Charlie Culberson. He broke the tip of his left index finger when he dropped a dumbbell on it in the weight room a week ago. Culberson is wearing a splint and said he should be OK to take ground balls in a week.

--

Maybe it wasnt such a good idea that Brian Wilson threw off a bullpen mound one spot over from flamethrowing prospect Heath Hembree, who has been known to dial it up in the 99 mph range.

I thought the same thing, Manager Bruce Bochy said. Two power arms next to each other, first bullpen, the last thing you want is for them to compete and see who throws the hardest.

Clear advantage: Hembree.

That was pretty neat, said Hembree, who was drafted by the Giants four months before Wilson clinched the World Series championship. I cant say I was watching what he was doing. I was just trying to focus on getting my own work done.

--

In case you hadnt heard, Aaron Rowand, now a non-roster player in Florida Marlins camp, was able to get his familiar No. 33. The player who gave it up was none other than Scott Cousins, the baserunner who injured Buster Posey with his spearing collision at the plate May 25.

Cousins decided to switch to No .6, saying it was in homage to J.T. Snow his favorite Giant while growing up a huge fan of the team.

Heres the weirdest part: It was Snow, remember, who once famously collided with a catcher in Florida Pudge Rodriguez in a failed effort to knock the ball out of his glove. The play was the final out as the Marlins clinched the NL Division series in 2003.

--

The Giants will play an intrasquad game on March 1, Bochy said.

Offseason can be tense on other side of Giancarlo Stanton rumors

beede-stanton-ap.jpg
USATI

Offseason can be tense on other side of Giancarlo Stanton rumors

SAN FRANCISCO — Just around dinner time on Monday, Tyler Beede got a call he had been waiting for. General manager Bobby Evans informed Beede, the Giants’ top pitching prospect, that he was being added to the 40-man roster, a significant step toward making his big league debut. Earlier that day, however, Beede’s phone brought him some unwanted news. 

Like most Giants fans, Beede woke up to a report out of South Florida that he was one of several names the Giants and Marlins had discussed in Giancarlo Stanton trade talks. For fans or team employees, it would be painful to give up a Beede or a Chris Shaw or a Joe Panik, but images of Stanton taking aim at the Coke bottle at AT&T Park would soon wash away most concerns. 

For players, the reality this time of year is much different. The Giants are the only organization that all of the rumored pieces have ever known. Panik is a New Yorker, but he and his wife have grown to love San Francisco. Beede and Shaw have spent years dreaming of debuting at AT&T Park and playing in front of sellout crowds. That makes the Hot Stove Season a particularly tense time of year. 

“I try to be a guy who doesn’t look those kinds of things up too frequently, but obviously I’m a normal guy, so I tend to dig into it a little bit more and see what’s going on and see what people are saying,” Beede said on this week’s Giants Insider Podcast. “It’s funny. I don't really know how to handle it. It’s my third year going through the trade deadline and trade talk. I’ve just go to keep telling myself it’s a realistic possibility and not to be shocked if anything were to come out or a trade were to be made.”

The rumor mill is nothing new for these players. Panik acknowledged several times during the season that he could be the odd man out. Shaw actually already once thought he got traded to Florida. For a few minutes at the 2016 deadline, Twitter had him as a key piece in the Matt Moore deal. The outfielder came out of a hotel bathroom right after the deadline to see two teammates staring at him in disbelief as Twitter rumors flew. 

Five minutes later, he got a call from Bobby Evans. “You’re still a Giant,” Evans told him. “Don’t take your jersey off.”

“It’s a little tense for sure,” Shaw said earlier this year. “It’s not something you can try to predict. You can have a feeling but that means nothing.”

Evans has always communicated to players and their agents that they can reach out any time they have a question or concern about what they might be hearing, but when it comes to getting on the phone himself, he treats the trade deadline and offseason differently. There’s more urgency to clear the air in July when players might have to take at-bats or throw pitches with rumors weighing on their minds. In the offseason, Evans will wait to reach out until deals are closer to being agreed upon. He tries not to worry as much about “hot stove banter,” he said. 

“In the offseason I think it’s a little less of an issue because a lot of things get thrown out there that don’t have validity,” he said. “We certainly don’t try to respond to every single rumor with an update because there are new rumors every hour, so it’s hard to keep up. A lot more names are mentioned this time of year.”

Players try to find different ways to get away from it all. Every year, several Giants prospects talk of playing golf during the trade deadline to stay away from MLB Network and their phones. For veterans, it’s often easiest to just take offseason vacations, and Panik planned to visit Europe with his wife. 

Beede has a somewhat unique distraction as rumors trickle out. He’s getting married on Saturday, which along with the holiday, has kept him busy all week. Still, he knows the rumors will be out there. 

“After a couple of days I start to just understand that (my) name is going to be in rumors or there may be things that people say or speculate,” he said. “(If) Bobby tells me something, or my agent says something, then I can start to maybe engage in it a little bit more. But as of right now, I’m just trying to go about my preparation and I’ll continue to enjoy being a San Francisco Giant.”

Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park

stanton-ap.jpg
AP

Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have made a habit in recent winters of “kicking the tires,” so to speak, on as many free agents as possible. General manager Bobby Evans is committed to being thorough, but at times there is probably no need. 

Hitters have made no secret of the fact that they prefer friendlier confines, and if you’re a power hitter, you’re going to ask Evans for a significantly larger check to play 81 of your games at the harshest power park in the majors. That’s what makes Giancarlo Stanton, readily available via trade, so intriguing. But would Stanton be fully immune to the realities of AT&T Park?

The numbers, at least in a small sample, suggest he would. Stanton has played 27 games in San Francisco and taken 108 at-bats. He has nine homers, 11 doubles and a triple. His .676 slugging percentage at AT&T Park isn’t far off his mark at Coors Field (.714), and his 1.048 OPS is higher than his OPS during the 2017 season, when he hit 59 homers. 

The damage has been done in limited time, but the Giants clearly believe it’s fully sustainable, and a recent study done by ESPN’s Dan Szymborski backs that up. Szymborski ran his ZiPS projection system to estimate Stanton’s stats over the next 10 years for a variety of suitors. The numbers in orange and black are overwhelming. 

The projections have Stanton at 46.2 WAR over the next 10 seasons, including 7.1 in 2018 and 6.8 in 2019, the two seasons the organization should be focused on given Madison Bumgarner’s contract situation. ZiPS projects Stanton at 46 homers next season if he plays for the Giants, followed by 43, 42, 39, 35 over the following four years. For comparison’s sake, Brandon Belt led the Giants in homers each of the last two seasons and he has 35 total during that span. 

Any sort of projection system needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt, especially with a player who has had injury issues in the past. But ZiPS believes Stanton -- who plays in a huge park already -- is a rarity, the kind of power hitter who can keep crushing well into his 30’s and put up huge numbers even if he is limited by the realities of getting older and getting hurt. Szymborski’s projections have Stanton playing just 102 games in 2025, but he’s still projected to hit 23 homers, 20 doubles and post an OPS+ of 121. Even in the 10th year of the projections, ZiPS has Stanton down for 16 homers. 

There are no sure things in this game, but as Evans continues to chase a blockbuster deal, he can be confident that Stanton is one player who should be able to provide power for years to come, no matter what AT&T Park does to hold hitters down.