Giants

Tigers win tiebreaker with Giants, land top pick in 2018 MLB Draft

Tigers win tiebreaker with Giants, land top pick in 2018 MLB Draft

The Giants entered the final day of the 2017 regular season with a one-game lead over the Tigers in the race for the worst record in baseball and the top pick in the 2018 MLB Draft.

To get the top pick, the Giants needed to lose or have the Tigers win. Neither of those things happened on Sunday, thanks to Pablo Sandoval and the Minnesota Twins.

At exactly 3pm PT, Sandoval hit a walk-off home run to push the Giants' final record to 64-98. At that point, attention shifted to the Tigers and Twins.

But at 3:27pm PT, former Giant Ehire Adrianza caught a fly ball for the final out of the Twins' 5-1 win over the Tigers, meaning Detroit finished with the exact same 64-98 record as the Giants.

The tiebreaker? The team with the worse record in 2016. And there was almost a tie there as well. Last year, the Giants (87-75) finished a half-game better than the Tigers (86-75).  Detroit played one fewer game than the Giants because they had a game rained out. They didn't make it up on the Monday following the season because it wouldn't have factored into the playoff standings.

So, instead of the Giants, the Tigers are on the clock for the 2018 MLB Draft, which will be held early next June.

Some notable players expected to be in play for the top overall pick are high school RHP Ethan Hankins, high school SS Brice Turang, high school third baseman Nolan Gorman, Florida RHP Brady Singer, Oregon State infielder Nick Madrigal and South Florida LHP Shane McClanahan.

The Giants and Tigers are five years removed from facing each other in the 2012 World Series.

Here is the order for the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft, according to MLB.com:
1. Tigers
2. Giants
3. Phillies
4. White Sox
5. Reds
6. Mets
7. Padres
8. Braves
9. Athletics
10. Pirates
11. Orioles
12. Blue Jays
13. Marlins
14. Mariners
15. Rangers
16. Rays
17. Angels
18. Royals
19. Cardinals
20. Twins
21. Brewers
22. Rockies
23. Yankees
24. Cubs
25. D-backs
26. Red Sox
27. Nationals
28. Astros
29. Indians
30. Dodgers

Dave Righetti is the face of the Giants' rebuild so far

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AP

Dave Righetti is the face of the Giants' rebuild so far

There was something almost disturbingly surreptitious about the Giants’ decision to announce Dave Righetti’s removal as pitching coach (for a front office job) Saturday. Saturday, after all, is the day you typically bury sports news that isn’t football, or related to football in some way.

But that could just be us being needlessly conspiratorial. We’re willing to bestow, if not the benefit of the doubt, at least the lack of doubt.

Still, Righetti’s reassignment, and those of bullpen coach Mark Gardner and assistant hitting coach Steve Decker, makes it clear that however the Giants want to avoid the use of the word “rebuilding,” they are indeed rebuilding – just not in the traditional new-players-for-old way.

General manager Bobby Evans made it clear without saying the words that Righetti’s messaging had lost its efficacy with the younger pitchers, who for the most part had not been part of the franchise’s most glorious times. And since the only pitchers still on the 40-man roster who had been with the club for its last World Series parade are Madison Bumgarner and Hunter Strickland, Evans clearly concluded that the message to the new staff needed to come from elsewhere.

Now this assumes that the problem with the Giants’ pitching was not the talent level or the execution, of course. Typically, it takes a lot for a manager or coach to screw up his job so profoundly that he needs to be replaced – mostly it’s considered an environmental matter that a new voice saying the old stuff is sufficient. It’s really more alchemy than science, and alchemy is fairly hit-or-miss.

But it is change where the Giants feel they can change; their four starters (Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore) and closer (Mark Melancon) are in for $70.8 million this coming year, so a full-on demolition is not cost effective, and the young’uns (Chris Stratton, Strickland, Cory Gearrin, Derek Law, et. al.) remain in that tenuous middle ground between dependable and disposable. In other words, there aren’t a lot of options for dramatic player change, and the Giants don’t look to be aggressive buyers in the off-season, crackpot Giancarlo Stanton rumors notwithstanding.

So this is the face of the Giants’ rebuild so far – Dave Righetti, Mark Gardner and Steve Decker. Make of the act and the circumstances of the release of the information what you will, but as it is neither the manager (Bruce Bochy is golden) or the players (who with only a few exceptions are decidedly meh, with a side of feh), it will have to do as the first answer to the question, “What do they intend to do about 64-98?"

I mean other than keeping a low profile about it.

Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency

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USATSI

Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency

With free agency set to begin five days after the World Series ends, two hitters that played for the Giants during the 2017 season have put their names on the open market.

Veteran third baseman Conor Gillaspie and longtime minor league outfielder Carlos Moncrief have both elected for free agency, according to Baseball America.

The 30-year-old Gillaspie appeared in 44 games for the Giants this past season. He hit just .168/.218/.288 with four doubles, two home runs and eight RBI. He was designated for assignment on August 3 and outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento on August 5. With the River Cats, Gillaspie hit .375 with four doubles in 15 games in August.

Prior to the 2017 season, Gillaspie signed a one-year, $1.4 million deal with the Giants.

As for Moncrief, the soon-to-be 29-year-old finally got his first call-up the majors this past season after eight and a half seasons in the minors. He debuted for the Giants on July 29. In 28 games, he hit .211/.256/.237 with one double and five RBI. While he didn't do much with the bat, Moncrief showed off a cannon for an arm when he patrolled right field.