Hensley Meulens

Giants helped facilitate Meulens' interview with Yankees

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AP

Giants helped facilitate Meulens' interview with Yankees

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants moved Hensley Meulens to bench coach last month in part so that their former hitting coach could prepare for a future as a manager. The front office helped Meulens make that push in other ways, too. 

Because he is under contract with the Giants, Meulens is technically not allowed to throw himself into the running for open managerial jobs, but on a conference call with reporters Thursday, he said the Giants organization helped set him up to interview for the open Yankees job. Meulens met with Yankees management on Thursday in New York in a bid to be named the replacement for Joe Girardi. 

“The Giants want to see a few of us in managing situations,” Meulens said, noting that the same has been done for Ron Wotus. “The organization found a way to let people know we’re available or interested.”

For Meulens, Thursday morning's interview was a dream come true. He broke into baseball with the Yankees and said the organization taught him what it means to be a winner. To prepare for the interview, he turned to friends around the game who are familiar with coming out on top, especially in heated battles for the limited managerial jobs in Major League Baseball. Meulens said he talked to current managers Don Mattingly, Dave Roberts, Jeff Bannister and Torey Lovullo about the best way to prepare for such an important interview, and he also reached out to longtime manager Dusty Baker. 

Meulens got a dry run of sorts earlier in the offseason. He said he interviewed for the Detroit Tigers job when it became available, and his conference call with Yankees reporters showed that he was certainly well prepared for one of the most pressure-packed jobs in sports. Meulens repeatedly hammered home the fact that communication is a strength of his. Girardi was reportedly let go in part because his rapport with players was considered to be a weakness. 

“I’m somebody that’s ready to take the challenge and bring new positive energy on a daily basis, and also connect with everybody on the roster,” Meulens said. 

Meulens expanded on his past work with Yankee Didi Gregorius, a fellow native of Curacao, and he mentioned the Giants several times. In discussing his work with Gregorius during the World Baseball Classic, he compared him to Brandon Crawford, who made similar swing changes to improve against left-handed pitchers. When asked what separates him from other candidates, Meulens repeatedly noted his long history with winning, from his four minor league titles with the Yankees to his three rings with his current employer. 

“I was groomed to be a winner,” Meulens said. “All my career, I’ve won a bunch, and that never changes. Every day I put on my uniform, I come to the park to win the ballgame. Nothing against (any of the other candidates), but I have a drive for that.”

Report: Meulens to interview with Yankees for managerial position

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AP

Report: Meulens to interview with Yankees for managerial position

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants have always viewed Hensley Meulens as a candidate to be a manager one day. His old team appears to view him that way, too. 

Meulens will be part of the next round of interviews held by the New York Yankees, according to the New York Post. The Yankees are looking for a replacement for Joe Girardi, who was let go as manager after taking the team to the ALCS. Per the Post, the search has been suspended for a few days because executives are in Orlando for the annual GM Meetings. 

Meulens was recently moved from hitting coach to bench coach, and the Giants believe that will help him prepare for a future role. During a conference call last week, manager Bruce Bochy said he'll lean on Meulens, who takes over for Ron Wotus. 

"Bam Bam is going to be in a place that he's kind of been wanting to head to, that being bench coach and managing," Bochy said. "He'll be a nice pin cushion for me as we go through the season. Like with all changes that are being made, we'll get new ideas and a different perspective. I know he's excited about it."

Meulens has made no secret of his desire to get the big chair one day, and he interviewed with several teams after World Series runs. He brings plenty to the table, including successful stints as manager of the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic and a varied background that has him speaking five languages. 

Meulens played five seasons for the Yankees during a seven-season MLB career. 

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.”