The Giants are set to lose their second-most games in franchise history. After a troubling 2017 season, what are the team's plans headed into an important offseason?
Bench coach Ron Wotus joined the Marty Laurie Podcast on Sunday and gave a glimpse into Giants' gameplan.
"We obviously want to add power, we’d love to be able to do that in offense, Wotus said. "But you also need to improve defense, speed, maybe steal more bases and cover the outfield.”
One name Wotus brought up is not a power guy. Speed is his game. And he's not even a free agent.
"You get a Billy Hamilton type of guy, your pitching improves tremendously right there," Wotus said. "He’s saved more runs than he’s driving in. You can look at this year saying we let in too many runs. So that’s an easy way to help your pitching.
"Now, Billy Hamilton is already signed with a club, but if you can get speed and some other things, you can manage that type of player to help you win ballgames.”
The Giants have already talked with current center field Denard Span about moving to left field in 2018. Heading into final game of the 2017 season, Span, who will be 34 next season, has -27 defensive runs saved.
In comparison, Hamilton has saved eight runs for the Reds this season on defense while Span has allowed 27.
On the bases, Hamilton is a blur. Since his first full season in 2014, the 27-year-old has stolen over 50 bases every season.
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 most 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.
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. The Giants now have plenty of hires to make themselves.
Righetti's 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.
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.