Giants

Rebuild or reload? Giants make their choice loud and clear with Longoria trade

Rebuild or reload? Giants make their choice loud and clear with Longoria trade

SAN FRANCISCO — There are two sides of the Giants’ fan base at this point, and your view of Wednesday morning’s Evan Longoria trade likely depends on which path you embraced during a 98-loss season. 

Should the Giants rebuild or should they reload?

It’s the question that started hanging over the franchise in May, when it became clear that the second half of 2016 was not an aberration. It lingered through an offseason that was remarkably quiet until Denard Span, Christian Arroyo and two low-level pitching prospects were shipped to Tampa Bay. The question will be asked after the next move, and Giants officials hinted Wednesday that another addition is coming soon. 

Should the Giants rebuild or should they reload? Well, which version of events do you believe?

Do you believe that a championship roster simply moved past the prime years, a reality of baseball? Or do you believe that Brandon Crawford’s offensive production will bounce back after some rough breaks on and off the field, that Buster Posey’s power will resurface with better lineup protection, that Hunter Pence will be rejuvenated by a new offseason plan, and that all the others who were part of a horrifically bad offense in 2017 will put up bigger numbers a year later?

Do you believe that Johnny Cueto will stay healthy and be an ace again? That Jeff Samardzija simply needs better outfield defense? That Mark Melancon will be a frontline closer after having a minor elbow procedure to clear out an issue that hampered him in his first year in San Francisco? 

Finally, do you believe that Longoria is the hitter who slugged 36 homers and posted an OPS+ of 127 in 2016, or the one who had a 100 OPS+ a year later and hit 20 homers in a season where power surged? 

You can make a case either way. Longoria, Crawford, Brandon Belt, Joe Panik and Posey might form the best defensive infield in the game, and there are legitimate reasons to believe that Belt and Panik in particular have much more to offer at the plate. Just two years ago, Madison Bumgarner and Cueto were on Cy Young ballots, and Samardzija’s peripheral numbers were off the charts most of last season. On paper, a bullpen led by a healthy Melancon and Will Smith and a full season of Sam Dyson should be much improved. 

The Giants still have moves to make — a defender in center field, another power hitter, another reliever — but Longoria certainly fills two huge holes: A power right-handed bat and an everyday player at third base. The front office believes it is bolstering a core that should be in win-now mode given the roster and Bumgarner’s looming free agency. 

But the first significant move of the offseason also terrified anyone who believes in taking a step back. Arroyo is just 22 years old and showed flashes of being an impact hitter, and his departure further depletes a poor farm system. While the inclusion of Span makes the deal basically cash-neutral for 2018, the Giants are still taking on the bulk of a contract that guarantees Longoria $86 million into his mid 30s. The 2019 Giants owe about $125 million to seven players and the 2020 budget situation is about the same. The 2021 Giants already owe about $94 million to five players, all of whom will be at least 33 years old. 

So, rebuild or reload? 

The Giants emphatically made their choice on Wednesday. 

“We’re convinced that this player is still a player of stature,” vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean said, “And as we preached, we’re not the type of organization or fan base that can go through a rebuild. We need to press the reset button and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Giants fall short in Anaheim thanks to big Angels bats

Giants fall short in Anaheim thanks to big Angels bats

ANAHEIM -- Albert Pujols drove a go-ahead, two-run home run into the seats in right-center for career hit No. 2,992, and Mike Trout and Jefry Marte also went deep for the Los Angeles Angels, who beat the San Francisco Giants 4-3 Saturday night to snap an ugly four-game losing streak.

Pujols, 38, hit a no-doubt, opposite-field shot to right-center on an 0-1 pitch from lefty Derek Holland with one out in the sixth. He needs eight hits to become the 32nd member of the 3,000-hit club. He went 1 for 4 as the designated hitter.

Pujols came up with runners on the corners and one out in the eighth and grounded into a double play.

Garrett Richards (3-0) struck out 11 in six innings and held San Francisco to two runs and five hits, with one walk.

The righty helped stop an embarrassing four-game pummeling. The Angels lost 8-1 to the Giants on Friday night after being outscored 27-3 in a three-game sweep by the Boston Red Sox.

Keynan Middleton got a four-out save, his fifth in as many chances.

All three Angels home runs were off Holland (0-3).

Trout homered into the rocks beyond the fence in center field an inning after nearly robbing Brandon Belt of a two-run homer. Trout's eighth homer, on an 0-1 pitch, tied the game at 2.

In the second, Trout leaped and had Belt's fly ball in his glove for a moment before it popped out when he hit the wall and it went over the yellow line. Pablo Sandovalwas on second base after a strikeout-wild pitch followed by another wild pitch by Richards. It was Belt's fourth homer.

Marte homered with two outs in the second, his first.

San Francisco closed to 4-3 on Sandoval's RBI double with two outs in the eighth. After Belt was intentionally walked, Middleton came on and struck out Evan Longoria. Middleton allowed Mac Williamson's leadoff single in the ninth before retiring the side.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: DH Buster Posey was a late scratch due to back tightness.

Angels: RHP Shoehei Ohtani is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday, and the Angels should know if he's definitely good to make his next start after a blister on his right middle finger forced him out after just two innings against Boston on Tuesday night.

UP NEXT

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto (1-0, 0.45) is scheduled to start the series finale. Angel Stadium is the last current ballpark he hasn't pitched in. He's 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA in two starts against the Angels.

Angels: RHP Jaime Barria (1-0, 0.45) will be recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake to make his second start. He won his big league debut at Texas on April 11.

Williamson goes deep, Giants bats explode for 8-1 win vs Angels

Williamson goes deep, Giants bats explode for 8-1 win vs Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Andrew McCutchen hit a towering, three-run homer, Mac Williamson hit a two-run homer in his first big league game this season and Nick Hundley also connected to back Jeff Samardzija in the San Francisco Giants' 8-1 win against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.

The Angels had only five hits, including a homer by Mike Trout, a double by Albert Pujols for his 2,991st career hit and two singles by Shohei Ohtani.

Samardzija (1-0) just made it through five innings to qualify for the win. He walked the bases loaded with two outs before manager Bruce Bochy came out for a mound visit. Justin Upton drove Samardzija's next pitch to the warning track in left, where Williamson caught it. Samardzija flinched at first, thinking it was gone, and then smiled as he walked toward the dugout. Bochy smiled and clapped his hands.

Samardzija opened the season on the disabled list with a pectoral strain suffered during spring training. He allowed two hits in five innings, struck out four and walked four.

Ohtani had the Angels' first hit off Samardzija, a single to center with two outs in the second. Ohtani had gone 0 for 4 with three strikeouts the night before as the Boston Red Sox completed a sweep. The designated hitter singled again in the ninth.

McCutchen, the designated hitter, drove a 1-2 pitch from Andrew Heaney into the Giants' bullpen beyond the left-field fence with one out in the fifth to chase the left-hander.

Heaney (0-1) allowed the first five batters to reach in the fifth. He allowed Williamson's homer to right and an RBI single by Austin Jackson.

Hundley hit an opposite-field shot to right in the second, his first. He added an RBI double in the eighth.

Trout homered to left-center off Pierce Johnson in the eighth, his seventh. Two batters later, Pujols drove a ball to the base of the fence in center before being replaced by pinch-runner Jefry Marte.

OHTANI'S BLISTER

Angels manager Mike Scioscia isn't sure if the seams on big league baseballs are what caused the blister on Ohtani's right middle finger that forced the Japanese two-way sensation out after just two innings Tuesday night against Boston in his third major league pitching start.

"He worked very hard getting used our baseball starting last winter," Scioscia said. "Blisters...come and go with pitchers occasionally at some point. Exactly when they crop up with some guys is a mystery. There are probably a lot of things that came into play for Shohei to have his become significant to where it affected some of his pitches. But I don't know if there's any one reason that you could pin down right now. He feels much better. We got him out in time last start where it didn't get any worse and hopefully he'll be able to make his next start."

Some pitchers blamed slicker balls for blisters last season.

Scioscia remained noncommittal about when Ohtani's next start would be, but a six-man rotation would have him Ohtani pitching Monday at Houston.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: Placed OF Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained right thumb and recalled Williamson from Triple-A Sacramento.

UP NEXT

Giants: LHP Derek Holland (0-2, 4.60) is scheduled to start Saturday night. He has appeared in more games against the Angels than any other team, going 10-8 with a 5.21 ERA in 28 appearances, including 25 starts.

Angels: RHP Garrett Richards (2-0, 3.60) is scheduled to make his first career start against San Francisco on Saturday night.