Giants

Urban: Giants-Padres doesn't feel nearly the same

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Urban: Giants-Padres doesn't feel nearly the same

Sept. 14, 2011

URBAN ARCHIVE
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Mychael Urban
CSNBayArea.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Accuse all you want of spraying stinging agent over the rave, but as in-the-moment exciting as was the Giants' 3-1 victory over the Padres at AT&T Park on Wednesday afternoon, in the not-long-after-the-moment quiet of seagulls brawling over bratwurst buns beneath the bullpen bench, it was all a little bit sad.Maybe sad is the wrong word. Maybe that stings a little too much. Let's try nostalgic on for size. Better? Fine. Wear it. But know that nostalgia, unless it comes in a boxed set of DVDs and was produced by Ken Burns, rarely has a warm-fuzzy feeling attached.

Let's face it, folks. Had this game been played at this time last year, it would have been the kind of game for which you'd steal the tickets out of your neighbor's mailbox after his friend dropped them off and drove away.(And no, that's not the voice of experience speaking. OK, maybe just once. I wanted one of those damn "WE BELIEVE" t-shirts, all right?)Think about it. This game, at this time in 2010? Tim Lincecum, hero, vs. Mat Latos, villain? Top two teams in the National League West, with a season's worth of hard-fought, white-knuckle street fights visible in the frothy wake. Wednesday? Same two pitchers, both still very gifted, but only Lincecum still has that aura of invincibility. Latos has fallen, and he's fallen hard. Something about karma being a female dog.And the teams? Hoo, boy. Not the same teams in virtually any respect. The Padres, with apologies to Denny Green, are who we thought they were. They stink on shards of glass.The Giants? That's a convoluted, hot mess of injuries, expectations and underachievement. But it's not the same team, and no matter how hard the die-hards want to convince themselves otherwise, the defending champs are no longer defending their champs-ness. They're defending their sellout streak, .500 and their pride.Fortunately, they're doing a fine job of it as of late. Lincecum was fantastic in what might have been his 2011 swan song at AT&T Park; Carlos Beltran went deep twice, once into the drink, for career homers 299 and 300; and the Giants' winning streak went to four games for the first time since early July.All fine and well.But the roar that rose from the latest sellout crowd at the end of Wednesday's game was nothing like we heard around these parts last September, and those sounds won't be heard on that level again until next September at the earliest.So by all means enjoy it, Giants fans. Heck of a win. Leaning on nostalgia, however, almost always, eventually, feels like what rains down from those seagulls about an hour or so after the bratwurst-bun battles have been won.

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.

Giants reassign pitching coach Dave Righetti, two other coaches

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USATSI

Giants reassign pitching coach Dave Righetti, two other coaches

SAN FRANCISCO — Late in a 98-loss season, general manager Bobby Evans met with members of the coaching staff to discuss new roles. The shakeup of the staff ended up being a stunning one. 

Pitching coach Dave Righetti was one of three coaches to be reassigned Saturday morning. After 18 seasons as pitching coach, Righetti will now serve as special assistant to the general manager. Bullpen coach Mark Gardner was given a “special assignment role to assist in pitching evaluations.” Assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will be a special assistant for baseball operations. 

The moves cap a 13-month run in which the coaching staff has taken much of the blame for a $200 million roster that was poorly constructed in places and played embarrassing baseball for long stretches of the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Third base coach Roberto Kelly was let go after the 2016 season and first base coach Billy Hayes was reassigned. More changes appear on the way. 

“It does raise the level of attention to change when you struggle as much as we have, but you’re always contemplating making changes to try to help keep pushing your guys and make sure you continue to have different perspectives and new voices and reflections on how to get the most out of them,” Evans said on a conference call. 

Throughout September, multiple coaches expressed concern about their future roles, but the Giants held off several weeks before announcing changes. At least two members of the staff were involved in managerial searches elsewhere, and third base coach Phil Nevin is reportedly still a candidate for the open job in Philadelphia. 

Evans confirmed that he has interviewed outside candidates for a hitting coach role, but he would not go so far as to say Hensley Meulens will be reassigned as well. He also would not speak to the future of Ron Wotus, although the longtime bench coach is expected to be mixed up in future changes as well. Evans indicated he would announce further moves after all the open managerial vacancies are filled.

For now, the Giants are in the process of trying to find a new pitching coach. They are focused on experienced outside candidates, and they have plenty of options, as several other teams have made changes this month. Evans hinted that he wants the next pitching coach to have a more analytical approach. 

Righetti's replacement will have massive shoes to fill. His run was the longest for a pitching coach in franchise history. The Giants, usually so reliant on pitching, finished 16th in the Majors with a 4.50 ERA, but it’s hard to see how Righetti takes the blame for that. Madison Bumgarner missed a chunk of the season after a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto had a brutal injury-plagued year, Matt Moore battled himself and had the worst ERA in the National League, and the bullpen struggled, with closer Mark Melancon pitching through an injury that required season-ending surgery. 

Righetti was credited with helping to develop a rotation and bullpen that won three titles, and the bond he shared with pitchers was on display during the final weekend of the year, when Matt Cain talked repeatedly about their close relationship and went straight for Righetti after he came off the field for the final time. While it’s often hard to figure out where to give credit, even in a down year for the staff, Righetti played a role in Sam Dyson’s resurgence, and he helped Ty Blach and Chris Stratton break in as big league regulars. 

“Ultimately a change for us in the clubhouse is really an opportunity just to put a new voice with our pitching staff and try to keep pushing to the heights that we aspire as an organization and a club,” Evans said. “Changes sometimes are needed as much for the sake of that new voice as anything, and I think that was really the priority here.”

Righetti will help Evans in a front office role. Evans admitted that Righetti’s “heartbeat is in uniform as a coach,” but said he was willing to take on a new role for an organization he loves. 

Gardner, a former Giants pitcher, had been on staff since 2003. He will now help to evaluate pitchers inside and outside the organization, and Evans said Gardner could serve an important role in evaluating trade options. Decker joined the big league staff in 2015 after a long run working in the minor leagues. The 2017 season was his 23rd with the organization. He will have a “blank canvas,” Evans said, working in different roles inside the organization. Decker will also help with draft preparation.