Giants

Given another look at fastball, Williamson gets revenge against Kershaw

Given another look at fastball, Williamson gets revenge against Kershaw

LOS ANGELES — Mac Williamson was sent up to pinch-hit when the Giants faced Clayton Kershaw earlier this month, and on a two-strike count, he watched as Kershaw shook off five different signs as he stood on the mound. Kershaw then froze Williamson with a fastball. It was a good lesson for Williamson, a player still trying to find his footing at the big league level.

“He’s a guy you can’t really guess with,” Williamson said. 

The outfielder admits he tends to overthink things. “I’m a perfectionist,” he said Sunday. But given a start against Kershaw, Williamson let his talent — and a little luck — take over. Williamson’s first hit off Kershaw was a bleeder that resulted in an infield hit. His second bounced through the middle of the infield for a single. The third one was the highlight of the day for the Giants. 

Kershaw had a shutout going when he tried to sneak a first-pitch fastball past Williamson in the eighth. He blasted it to dead center. It was the only run for the Giants in a 3-1 loss to the Dodgers. 

“It’s good to see him get those swings off,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “That homer was to the big part of the park. It shows how strong he is.”

The Giants have always known Williamson has the strength and raw talent. He hasn’t stuck for a number of reasons, including injuries and that aforementioned tendency sometimes to overthink at the plate. It probably hasn’t helped, either, that the Giants tend to sit him for days at a time and then play him against the Kershaws and Zack Greinkes and Rich Hills of the world. 

Williamson took advantage of the tough assignment on Sunday, joining a small group of Giants who have three hits in a game off Kershaw. 

“Hunter was ahead of me,” he said, smiling. “He beat me to it.”

Pence also had three hits, giving the Giants six from the corners against the best pitcher in the game. It wasn’t enough, but for Williamson, it was something to build off as the offseason approaches. He said it’s a winter he doesn’t plan to take lightly. Williamson’s agents are working to line up a Winter Ball job in the Dominican Republic.

Cain, Moustakas on Giants' radar? Sabean: 'My vote would be a no'

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USATI

Cain, Moustakas on Giants' radar? Sabean: 'My vote would be a no'

ORLANDO — In a world without qualifying offers, a lot of offseason moves would be easier to swallow. Put Lorenzo Cain in center, giving the Giants an elite defender at a time when outfield defense is their biggest flaw. Put Mike Moustakas at third, adding power to the worst home-run-hitting team in the majors. Many around the game, perhaps not familiar with the Giants' desire to rebuild their minor league system, think both players make sense in orange and black. 

But nine players received — and turned down — qualifying offers, including Cain and Moustakas, the former Royals stars. That’s why you can just about cross them off the winter wish list. The Giants, being over the luxury tax, would forfeit two draft picks and international bonus money if they signed either player. Asked about that possibility on the first day of the winter meetings, vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean left no doubt about where he stands. 

“If you’re asking me personally, my vote would be a no, being that we wouldn't want to get involved with somebody like that,” Sabean said.

VIDEO: Sabean -- Not a surprise Stanton, Ohtani went elsewhere

Sabean’s vote, of course, carries significant weight, but he’s not alone in his thinking. Sources said others in the front office, including general manager Bobby Evans, are just as protective of the picks that would be surrendered. The Giants would give up the second pick in the second round and the second pick in the fifth round. Because they lost 98 games and will pick second overall in every round, every pick in next June’s draft will mean a bit more. The Giants would also have to give up $1 million in international bonus pool money at a time when they are focused on becoming bigger players in that market. 

“That would be a huge hit in a year (we have) the second pick in every round,” Sabean said. “We really have a chance to make hay in this draft and we expect to do so, so that would be a stretch.”

The other players who rejected qualifying offers last month were Eric Hosmer, Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis, Alex Cobb, Greg Holland, Lance Lynn and Carlos Santana. 

Stanton turn down Giants because of Dodgers? 'If they were in the right...'

Stanton turn down Giants because of Dodgers? 'If they were in the right...'

ORLANDO — The baseball world spent the month of November waiting for Giancarlo Stanton to narrow his list and find a new home. It turns out the finalists were decided on the field in October.

Stanton’s agent, Joel Wolfe, confirmed Monday that the National League MVP preferred to play for the Yankees, Astros, Cubs or Dodgers. On the first day of the annual Winter Meetings, Stanton donned the pinstripes for the first time, and he talked about why he felt New York was the right fit in the end. He also talked about why he bothered meeting with the Giants and Cardinals if they were not on his original wish list. 

“(The Marlins) went to San Francisco and the Cardinals and struck deals with them,” Stanton said during a press conference. “So I was open to listening to them, but those were not my teams. Those are great people. They were great meetings and a great organization and culture there, but that just wasn’t the fit for me.”

The Giants flew their executives down to Los Angeles to meet with Stanton and his representatives and they felt the meeting went well. They had already agreed to terms on a package with the Marlins, with mid-level prospects being sent over in return. They were ready to assume the vast majority of the $295 million left on Stanton’s deal.

But this process was controlled by the player, and Stanton called the Marlins’ bluff. He said repeatedly on Monday that he wants to win and he’s tired of rebuilding, and he forced his way to a team that looks ready to kickstart another lengthy run of October appearances. 

The Giants and Cardinals have been postseason mainstays over the past decade, and surely that intrigued Stanton a bit, even if he had other plans. He said he wanted to learn what both organizations were about and that was part of the meeting process. 

“All I’ve experienced is the Marlins and basically one way of going about things,” he said. “So I wanted to see how other organizations went about their business and how the city and everything would appeal to me if that was a way that I wanted to go.”

During an appearance on MLB Network after his press conference, Stanton said he hopes Giants and Cardinals fans don’t hold the process against him. For the Giants, at the very least, Stanton is not a Dodger, and that played a part in this process, too. Wolfe compared Stanton — a Los Angeles native — to Brandon Crawford (another of his clients) potentially playing for the Dodgers. When he met with a scrum of reporters, Stanton said playing for his childhood team’s rival played a small part in the process. 

“I wouldn’t base a decision off that but also I wouldn’t want to go to the team that (the Dodgers) dislike the most, and I wasn’t sure if (the Giants) were going to beat that team, either,” Stanton said. “But at the same time if they were in the right position that I wanted, I would have done it.”