Giants won't make it official yet, but Span will play center


Giants won't make it official yet, but Span will play center

SAN FRANCISCO — Social media has led to some awkward moments for teams recently. Coaches sometimes find out over the phone that they’re getting fired, and players often hear the news of trades and deals on Twitter before a team official can dial their number.

The Giants go out of their way to avoid such instances, and thus Denard Span was introduced to the media Friday and was never explicitly called the team’s opening day center fielder or leadoff hitter. Bruce Bochy won’t make that declaration before speaking to Angel Pagan, the incumbent, and the two have only been able to exchange texts in recent days.

You didn’t need a public declaration, though: Denard Span will be the center fielder, and he will hit atop the lineup.

In his opening remarks, Bochy noted Span’s ability in center and hitting leadoff. Later, he was asked directly about his opening day lineup.

[RELATED: Krukow: Denard Span 'the whole package' for Giants]

“I always like to get with my players when there could be a change or a tweak,” Bochy said. “It’s a very workable situation. (Span is) one of the best center fielders in the game and as I mentioned, a proven leadoff hitter. I would like to, out of respect, touch base with Angel.”

Span’s agent, Scott Boras, marketed him as a premier leadoff hitter and center fielder, saying he’s “like a defensive back” when he breaks on a ball and comparing him to Jacoby Ellsbury. Asked about the crowded outfield market, Boras said Span was in a different lane. “The difference is he’s a leadoff hitter and a center fielder," Boras added.

Span has made 778 out of his 923 career starts in center, but he let others speak to the situation Friday.

“I told Boch I’ll do whatever,” he said. “I’ve been a center fielder for a lot of my career. Center field is sentimental to me, but at the same time, I’m at the stage of my career where I want to do whatever it takes to help me win a championship. If that means me being in center field, I’ll take that with pride and will do the best I can. If they need me in left field, if they need me to catch for Buster a couple of games, I’ll do that as well.”

The Giants, in chasing Span, never even discussed a move to left, and now it will be up to Bochy to smooth things over with Pagan, who takes great pride in playing center and hitting atop the lineup. They made one change last year when Nori Aoki took the No. 1 spot, but a move to left will be complicated by the fact that Pagan is entering his contract year. He wants to play center, but for his sake, showing the ability to be a plus or average defender in left instead of a below-average one in center may help his cause. It will certainly help the Giants. 

With Span in center, the Giants will be as strong up the middle as any team in the National League. Brandon Crawford is a Gold Glove winner at short, Joe Panik likely would have been a finalist had he not gotten hurt, and Buster Posey should unseat Yadier Molina one of these years and win his first Gold Glove. Span was a Gold Glove finalist for the Nationals in 2013 and 2014.

“We’re set everywhere right now,” Bochy said. “Usually you go to spring training and you have some question marks, but across the infield and outfield this is as set as we’ve been. And not just set, but as good a defensive club as I’ve ever had. If we all play up to our capabilities, I think we have a chance to be one of the best defensive teams in baseball.”

It shouldn't be long before the Giants make the outfield changes official, but just in case, one last hint was dropped Friday afternoon. About an hour after his press conference, team officials led Span onto the field at AT&T Park to take some shots in his new No. 2 Giants jersey. The photo shoot took place in center field.

Beede, Garcia among Giants protected from Rule 5 draft


Beede, Garcia among Giants protected from Rule 5 draft

SAN FRANCISCO — A top pitching prospect highlighted the list of Giants added to the 40-man roster before Monday’s deadline. 

The Giants put right-hander Tyler Beede on their 40-man roster, along with Aramis Garcia, Tyler Herb and D.J. Snelten. The four players were protected from the Rule 5 draft, held in December on the final day of the annual Winter Meetings. To clear roster spots, the Giants designated Orlando Calixte and Micah Johnson for assignment and outrighted Dan Slania to Triple-A. 

Beede, a 24-year-old former first-round pick, likely would have ended up on the roster earlier if not for a groin injury that ended his Triple-A season early. The Giants anticipated him making a September debut, but he ended up needing time in the Arizona Fall League to make up for lost innings. Beede was sharp in the AFL once he knocked the rust off, allowing three runs over 10 innings in his final two starts. He is expected to compete for a rotation spot at some point next year, although he also stands as one of the organization’s best offseason trade chips. 

Garcia, 24, has struggled with injuries at times in the minors, but he hit 17 homers in just 402 at-bats in 2017 and earned a promotion to Double-A Richmond. Garcia is currently one of just two catchers on the 40-man roster. 

Herb was essentially the player to be named later in the Chris Heston deal. The 25-year-old had a 2.76 ERA in 10 starts for Double-A Richmond last season. Snelten is a lefty reliever who had a 2.20 ERA across two levels last season and could break into the big leagues as a bullpen weapon next year. 

The roster now stands at 40 after the churn, which included a couple of players picked up as flyers because the Giants are at the front of the waiver process. Johnson was added in October and infielder Engelb Vielma, added during the season, was claimed by the Phillies on a  waiver claim. Slania, who made his big league debut during the season, cleared waivers and joins Triple-A Sacramento’s offseason roster. 

Report: Giants discussed Panik, top prospects in potential Stanton trade


Report: Giants discussed Panik, top prospects in potential Stanton trade

On Monday morning, some important details emerged.

The Giants discussed Joe Panik and top prospects Tyler Beede and Chris Shaw with the Marlins in a potential trade for Giancarlo Stanton, according to sports radio host Craig Mish.

Last week, San Francisco reportedly made an actual offer for Stanton.

The Giants selected Beede, 24, in the first round (14th overall) of the 2014 draft.

The right-handed pitcher went 6-7 with a 4.79 ERA over 19 starts in Triple-A last season.

[RELATED: Healthy Tyler Beede shows why he's Giants' top pitching prospect]

The Orange and Black took Shaw, 24, in the first round (31st overall) of the 2015 draft.

In 37 games for Double-A Richmond in 2017, he hit .301 with six home runs and 29 RBI.

He was promoted to Triple-A and hit .289 with 18 home runs and 50 RBI in 88 games.

Shaw recently played in the Arizona Fall League, but only saw action in five games because of a sore shoulder.