Giants

Giants, Andres Torres agree on one-year deal

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Giants, Andres Torres agree on one-year deal

SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants already brought back World Series heroes from 2012 when they re-signed Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro and Jeremy Affeldt.

Now they’re bringing the band back together from the 2010 World Series championship, too – one of its most popular members, at least.

The club is saying hello to Andres Torres, agreeing to terms with the fan-favorite outfielder on a one-year contract. CSN Bay Area has learned that Torres will receive a major league deal worth $2 million and will be added to the 40-man roster once he passes a physical.

The Giants began talking to Torres as soon as he was non-tendered by the New York Mets on Nov. 30. He’s expected to provide depth at all three outfield positions and push Gregor Blanco for time in left field.

A switch hitter, Torres would be suited to form the right-handed portion of a platoon with Blanco. He hit .286 with a .382 on-base percentage against left-handed pitchers last season with the Mets. (He hit .195 against right-handers.)

Torres also provides more athleticism off the bench as a pinch hitter and pinch runner on days he does not start.

“He’s been a good Giant, he’s good against left-handed pitching and can play truthfully all three outfield positions,” Giants vice president Bobby Evans told CSN Bay Area. “We’ve won with pitching and defense and that’s a clear strength of his.”

Torres, who turns 35 on Jan. 26, provided a vital spark to the Giants in 2010 after joining the team a year earlier as a non-roster free agent. He hit .268 with a .343 on-base percentage and smacked 43 doubles and 16 home runs while scoring 84 runs. Torres began to fade down the stretch that season and missed a month because of an appendectomy, but returned in the playoffs.

Torres also became a beloved figure with fans who appreciated his all-out style on the field, his humility off the field and the candid way he discussed his battle to conquer attention-deficit syndrome during his long career in the minor leagues. The native of Puerto Rico is the subject of a documentary, “Gigante,” that delves into his life story.

He was the 2010 recipient of the Willie Mac Award as the most inspirational player, as selected by his fellow players and coaches.

Torres’ training methods include jumping up muddy hills and throwing tires, all barefoot while wearing designer jeans.

Last winter, the Giants, concerned about Torres’ high strikeout totals in 2011, traded him to the Mets along with right-hander Ramon Ramirez for Pagan. That trade turned out to be one of the most important deals of the offseason, as Pagan played to an All-Star level and was particularly effective after moving back into the leadoff role on Aug. 3.

Now that Pagan is back on a four-year, $40 million contract, the Giants essentially obtained him for Ramirez and a one-year rental of Torres. Not too shabby.

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

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AP

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

SAN FRANCISCO -- A familiar face is returning to the Giants organization to serve a key front office role.

The Giants announced Friday that David Bell, their former third baseman, has been hired as Vice President of Player Development. General manager Bobby Evans said Bell will oversee all aspects of player development, including hitting, pitching, strength and conditioning and the operations of the minor league affiliates. 

"He was the perfect fit," Evans said. "His experience is so strong and encompasses so many aspects of the game. He’s got a really strong base of experience and background and understanding of the game, and he has a passion for the game and working with young players. He really showed a desire to pursue this opportunity." 

Bell, 45, played 12 major league seasons and spent 2002 with the Giants. He hit 20 homers that year as the starting third baseman and scored the winning run in the final game of the NLCS. Since retiring, Bell has served as a minor league manager for the Reds and a big league coach for the Cubs and Cardinals. He spent last season as the bench coach in St. Louis. 

Shane Turner had previously served as farm director, but at the end of the minor league season he was asked to take a role as a special assistant in baseball operations. While Evans did not announce any other changes Friday, there are expected to be other moves within the organization's depth chart. At least one member of the coaching staff is still in the running for a managerial opening. 

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

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AP

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

Firing a manager is easy, and there are lots of ways to do it.

Dusty Baker, for example. He worked this year on the last year of a contract, which usually means there won’t be another one, and he relied on his players to deliver the goods.

Which, as we remember from our reading, they didn’t do. Again.

But Baker was marked for the chop unless those players did deliver, and when they didn’t, general manager Mike Rizzo did the expedient thing.

He fired one person rather than several. And changed exactly nothing.

Baker’s managerial career is probably over now, as most teams don’t look at 68-year-olds to fix their teams. He will never manage a  World Series champion, something he ached for, and he was always be caricatured in part as the guy who didn’t speak metric, and who believed in players as men whenever in doubt.

And the Nats didn’t betray him, either. They were always not as good in the big moments because someone else was, and they became part of Washington’s new fetish – Why Can’t We Win One? It’s as if having a cringeworthy President isn’t good enough for them.

So the time came, and he will be replaced by someone who will either win and get credit for work that was largely his, or he won’t win and the town can continue to wallow in its tedious We’re-The-New-Cubs pity. It is the circle of life.

At least it is for groups of people. For individuals, the circle of life is actually nothing more than a straight line that ends abruptly. For Dusty Baker, as it did for Tony La Russa in Phoenix two days earlier, that day came today. He deserves to be remembered as a very good manager who won a lot more than he lost, made more friends than enemies, and was honest from Day One until the end.

Which, as we also know, doesn’t matter a whole lot on days like this.