Dave Righetti

New Giants pitching coach comes with Righetti's recommendation

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AP

New Giants pitching coach comes with Righetti's recommendation

SAN FRANCISCO — When Curt Young met with Giants management last month, he did so with a hell of an endorsement on his resume. In introducing Young on Monday, general manager Bobby Evans said the new pitching coach was recommending by none other than Dave Righetti, the legendary outgoing pitching coach. 

Righetti will spend next season working with Evans in a front office role, with Young, the longtime A’s coach, sliding into the seat alongside manager Bruce Bochy. There will be familiarity in the new partnership. Young was the pitching coach for an All-Star squad that Bochy took to Japan years ago for exhibition games. 

“We’ve known each other for quite a while,” Bochy said. “He’s going to bring a different perspective in areas and that’s always welcome.”

From the outside, Young — who also worked for the Red Sox — appears to fit right in line with Evans’ push to have a more analytical approach in the dugout. He said his style is a mix of old and new. 

“There’s going to be a definite mix of both,” he said, noting that there are more resources than ever for coaching staffs. “It’s common sense and what it takes to be a great pitcher, and anything we can learn from the numbers side to help these guys is also going to come into play.”

Young enters in a comfortable position, and not just because he has spent most of his professional career across the bridge. While the Giants have gaping holes to fill in the lineup and bullpen, their rotation is just about set. Madison Bumgarner and Matt Moore had their options picked up Monday and Johnny Cueto announced over the weekend that he wasn’t opting out of his contract. Jeff Samardzija slides into the mix somewhere in the middle of the rotation, and the Giants have Chris Stratton in line for the No. 5 spot, with Ty Blach and Tyler Beede on deck. Young said he sees five guys who can pitch 200 innings next year. 

“I think the staff is going to be in a good place,” he said. 

Of course, the Giants felt that way last spring, too. They boasted of having four veterans who would approach or exceed 200 innings, but Bumgarner’s season was wrecked by an off-field crash, Cueto dealt with injuries and ineffectiveness, and Moore had the worst ERA in the National League. As a staff, the starters had a 4.58 ERA, ranking an uncharacteristic eighth in the National League. 

Asked about the pitching staff on Monday, vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean called it the roster’s “bread and butter.”

“It’s really a must for us,” he said of the rotation being better. “We know we also have to fortify the bullpen, but we look at last year as an aberration (for the starters), a lot of that being driven by injuries.”

Bumgarner and Cueto have reason to believe they can again be Cy Young candidates if healthy. Samardzija should benefit from improved outfield defense. Moore, acquired in the middle of the 2016 season, is the mystery, and perhaps the greatest potential swing piece on the roster. He has All-Star stuff and he’s only 28, but he posted a 5.52 ERA last season. 

Young saw the good version of Moore in Tampa Bay. Bringing that guy back should be at the top of his to-do list. 

“He’s just a solid left-handed pitcher with real, real good stuff, and it's just a matter of him making sure he uses the right pitches at the right time,” Young said. “He went through a little bit of a struggle last year. I’m sure he’s the type of pitcher and person who wants to get back on top.”

Source: Giants to hire ex-A's pitching coach to fill same role on staff

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AP

Source: Giants to hire ex-A's pitching coach to fill same role on staff

SAN FRANCISCO -- With a crucial free agency period about to kick off, the Giants are about to fill out the rest of a revamped coaching staff.

Former A's pitching coach Curt Young will be announced as the new pitching coach on Monday, per a source, and the Giants will also officially announce the hiring of hitting coach Alonzo Powell. Young takes over for Dave Righetti, who was moved to a front office role last month after nearly two decades in the dugout. Powell will slide into the role vacated by Hensley Meulens, the new bench coach.

The latest hires just about set Bruce Bochy's staff for the upcoming season. The Giants still need an assistant hitting coach, but Young, Powell and bullpen coach Matt Herges will join the holdovers, with Meulens and Ron Wotus (third base coach) taking new roles. Phil Nevin is the lone departure from the organization, with other members of the 2017 staff taking on different job titles.

Young served two stints as the A's pitching coach and also briefly held the job in Boston. He was let go by the A's during the 2017 season. His hire fills two boxes for Bobby Evans, who led the overhaul of the staff. Evans wanted an experienced coach to take the job that was so capably filled by Righetti over the years, and he also wanted the organization to take a more analytical approach. Young (A's), Powell (Astros) and Herges (Dodgers) all come from organizations known for pushing the boundaries and trying new things.

Young's hire was first reported Friday by the San Francisco Chronicle.

What to make of massive changes to Giants coaching staff

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USATI

What to make of massive changes to Giants coaching staff

SAN FRANCISCO — In retrospect, we all probably should have seen the massive coaching changes coming. Not because the Giants lost 98 games this past season, but because they talked openly at the end of the year about adding multiple stats-inclined people to the front office.

The Giants are trying to catch up to a game now built on homers and strikeouts, and while it’s yet to be seen what they can do on the field, general manager Bobby Evans has taken a sledgehammer to the coaching staff. The first hire, Matt Herges as bullpen coach, is perhaps a sign of things to come. Herges comes from a Dodgers organization that is on the cutting edge and has a huge office at Dodger Stadium dedicated to analytics and new ways of attacking the game. In discussing the reassignments of Dave Righetti and Mark Gardner last week, Evans hinted that the next pitching coach would have more of an analytical background. 

On Friday, on a conference call with beat writers, manager Bruce Bochy said that when all is said and done, “you may see maybe a little bit more of (that analytical approach).”

“I know that’s certainly been part of the discussion,” Bochy said. “It’s not that this staff wasn’t open-minded — some guys were maybe more into it than others. I think as a staff we’re open-minded and I think the front office certainly feels like that. I think Bobby feels like that."

Bochy noted that conversations have been had in the organization for a couple of years about where the game is going. This wasn't something that started during a brutal 2017 season. The Giants are not nearly as old-school as outsiders might think, but they did have a coaching staff that had been together for a while, and the sense in the front office was that some new voices were needed. At the very least, these changes should allow for more engagement between the front office and the coaching staff, a trend elsewhere in the game. 

“We have a tremendous baseball ops (department) that provides all the analytics that we need,” Bochy said. “We try to use them and we try to stay on the cutting edge of what’s going on with the game. I think like with all clubs, you’re seeing more and more of it being used. It’s become more prevalent with all clubs, including with ours.”

A second hint that this is an emphasis came with the second round of shuffling. As hitting coach, Hensley Meulens worked hard to get his hitters to embrace launch angles and exit velocities and all the new metrics that rule the cage. He will now serve as Bochy’s bench coach. From the outside, Ron Wotus appeared to be another member of the staff who fully embraced the changing game, and he helped lead the Giants into the defensive shift era. Like Meulens, Wotus was kept in the dugout, and Bochy said he will continue to position the defense as he serves as third base coach. 

We should know in the next couple of weeks how far the Giants are truly going with all this. They are interviewing candidates for both hitting coach positions as well as pitching coach. While the new coaches should bring a new approach, Bochy noted that he hopes the next pitching coach also brings many of the same qualities Righetti did. 

“He was one of the iconic pitching coaches in the game,” Bochy said. “We don’t get three World Series in five years without Rags.”

They also won’t get to a fourth without a slew of other changes. Perhaps the new staff will help lead the organization in a new direction. Perhaps the Giants really do need to catch up to the behind-the-scenes work being done by the likes of the Dodger and Astros, two of the more stats-based organizations in the game. 

But in talking about the changes to his staff, Bochy offered a reminder that you can’t just try and emulate the Dodgers and Astros off the field and hope for the best. 

“It starts with the talent (on the field),” he said. “And they’re certainly not lacking there, as you can tell.”