Giants

Manfred on pace issues: ‘Confident that we will have changes for next year’

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AP

Manfred on pace issues: ‘Confident that we will have changes for next year’

CHICAGO -- Major League Baseball is having conversations with the players' association over possible rule changes designed to speed the pace of play, and Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday he hopes to reach an agreement instead of implementing any measures unilaterally.

Manfred also said the Bruce Sherman-led ownership group trying to purchase the Miami Marlins has presented the league with a financial structure that would work for finalizing the deal, and he expressed confidence that a major league franchise can be successful in the market. Speaking at the conclusion of the owners meetings, he also expressed surprise with veteran umpire Joe West's reaction to his suspension for his comments about Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre.

The average time of a nine-inning game is a record 3 hours, 5 minutes this season, up from 3 hours last year and 2:56 in 2015, Manfred's first season as commissioner. Management proposed making changes for this year, such as installing pitch clocks and limiting trips to the mound by catchers, but players' association head Tony Clark said his side would not agree. The league can implement changes by itself with one-year advance notice.

"We met with Tony Clark and a group of players last week," Manfred said. "The tone of those conversations have been very positive. Hats off to Tony and the players on that, and I remain confident that we will have changes for next year on the issue of pace of game that will be significant."

Manfred declined to get into any specifics about possible changes or what the league might do if it is unable to reach a deal with the union.

"I think the best course for baseball - and by that I mean the clubs and the players - is for us to get an agreement," he said.

A message was left Thursday seeking comment from the players' association.

The owners had a light agenda for their quarterly meeting at a hotel in downtown Chicago, and one of the major topics was Sherman's signed $1.2 billion agreement to purchase the Marlins from Jeffrey Loria. Former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is a limited partner in the group and will take over Miami's business and baseball operations if the transaction is approved.

Sherman met with the MLB ownership committee on Wednesday, and the deal could be completed by the end of the season. Manfred brushed aside any concern over reports that the group is seeking more financing.

"The group led by Mr. Sherman has presented us with a financial structure that would allow them to close the transaction consistent with baseball's rules," he said. "That doesn't mean that they might prefer to have additional equity in the deal and might be out there looking for it. But they have a financial structure that would allow them to close the deal consistent with our rules."

West, 64, was disciplined this month after he told USA Today that Beltre was the biggest complainer in the major leagues. West, the majors' senior umpire, also said he told Beltre during a recent game that he may be a great ballplayer but that he was the worst umpire in the league.

Manfred said he met with West after his comments became public and they agreed a three-day suspension was appropriate.

"Unfortunately Mr. West decided he didn't want to live up to that agreement," Manfred said. "I assume in consultation with the (World Umpires Association), given the statements that they've made, and we had to proceed in a different way.

"But I did have a very specific understanding with Mr. West as to what was going to happen here and that he was in agreement with what was going to happen here."

The umpires' union announced West's suspension and said it strongly disagreed with the decision. It is seeking the restoration of West's lost salary.

A message was left Thursday seeking comment from the WUA.

While West's suspension and Detroit infielder Ian Kinsler's harsh criticism of umpire Angel Hernandez on Tuesday has put a spotlight on the relationship between players and umps, don't look for an electronic strike zone anytime soon.

Manfred said the technology isn't quite there just yet, and he sounded reluctant to make the move when it arrives.

"It would be a pretty fundamental change in the game to take away a function that has been performed by our umpiring staff really with phenomenal accuracy," Manfred said. "I know it's easy to say he missed that one, he missed the other one. The fact of the matter is they get them right well over 90 percent of the time. And there is a human aspect to that, a work aspect to it that's always been an important part of our game."

Report: Giants make trade offer for Giancarlo Stanton

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USATSI

Report: Giants make trade offer for Giancarlo Stanton

The hot stove is heating up. 

Giancarlo Stanton is the biggest name swirling in trade rumors and the Giants are reportedly pushing forward in their attempt to acquire the slugger. San Francisco's front office has proposed a trade to Miami for Stanton, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic

Details of what the Giants offered have not been reported yet. 

Stanton, who recently turned 28, is guaranteed $295 million over the next 10 seasons. His contract includes a full no-trade clause and an opt-out after 2020. 

On Thursday, Stanton was named the National League MVP after hitting .281 with a league-leading 59 home runs and 132 RBI. The last MVP to be traded in the offseason after winning the award was Alex Rodriguez from the Rangers to the Yankees before the 2004 season. 

How seven Giants prospects performed in the 2017 Arizona Fall League

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USATSI

How seven Giants prospects performed in the 2017 Arizona Fall League

The Arizona Fall League came to an end for seven Giants prospects on Thursday as the Scottsdale Scorpions (12-17-1) came up short from playing in Saturday's championship game. 

Let's take a look at how these seven names fared against some of the top young talent in all of baseball. 

The Hitters

As the Giants are linked to trade targets in center field like Billy Hamilton and Jackie Bradley Jr., a young in-house option only helped his case in the desert.

Steven Duggar likely would have seen the AT&T outfield this season, but his season was hindered by injuries, keeping him to only 44 games between three levels. With the Scorpions, Duggar took advantage of his opportunity with more at-bats. 

Duggar left Arizona with a .263/.367/.421 slash line over 20 games. The speedy lefty also stole nine bases and hit three home runs. Even if the Giants go for an experienced glove in center field this offseason and keep Duggar, the 24-year-old has also played 135 games in right field during his minor league career. 

For the second straight year, the Giants sent catcher Aramis Garcia to the AFL. And he's sure to be coming home much happier this go around with an up-and-down campaign.

Splitting time behind the plate with three other catchers, Garcia appeared in 13 games and slashed .259/.293/.333 and hit one home run. Garcia struggled to get one base with only one walk to 10 strikeouts, but showed his natural ability to drive runs in with 10 RBI. 

Rounding out the Giants' trio of bats they sent to Arizona is arguably their top prospect, but his time in the AFL was cut short. Chris Shaw only played in five games and hit .158. He dealt with a sore shoulder.

The Pitchers

The Giants sent two starting pitchers (Tyler Beede and Joan Gregorio) and two relievers (Tyler Cyr and D.J. Snelten) to the AFL. 

Pitching for the first time in nearly three months, Beede showed exactly why he's the Giants' top pitching prospect. Beede went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in four starts, but his final three show the potential he's full of -- 14 innings pitched, three earned runs, a 1.93 ERA, 10 strikeouts and only one walk. 

Gregorio, who was suspended this season for Performance Enhancing Drugs, pitched in eight games (three starts) for Scottsdale. He left with a 1-0 record and 5.87 ERA. In Triple-A, Gregorio went 4-4 with a 3.04 ERA this year over 13 starts. The 25-year-old presents an interesting arm that can help sooner than later in the bullpen. 

Cyr's stats don't look pretty (0-1, 5.63 ERA, 8 IP), but he's catching some attention. The right-hander was named to the Fall Stars Game and is most likely to start 2018 in Triple-A after converting 18 saves at Double-A in 2017. 

Snelten, a 6-foot-7 lefty, impressed in eight appearances out of the bullpen. He didn't allow an earned run until his final outing of the fall, bringing his ERA from a perfect 0.00 to 2.25 in 12 innings pitched.

After combining for a 2.20 ERA to go with an 8-1 record between Double-A and Triple-A in 2017, Snelten is a name to know as the Giants look to find more lefties for their bullpen.