SAN FRANCISCO — It was an odd scene Friday.
Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was the first to meet with reporters during the annual pre-FanFest session, and the first question he received was about Bryce Harper. Manager Bruce Bochy didn’t get five minutes into his own session before being bombarded with Harper questions.
Catcher Buster Posey, a couple of doors down, was asked about Harper several times.
The Harper chase took up most of the oxygen in the room Friday, and for good reason. The Giants are serious about trying to sign Harper, a superstar they need, and on Saturday, there were some signs that the run might be successful.
But that also meant that dozens of current Giants didn’t really have a chance to give many updates Friday. So here are some leftover notes from the first weekend back at Oracle Park …
--- Ryder Jones had a gruesome knee injury last September, costing the young infielder a chance at real playing time down the stretch. Jones said he’s two weeks ahead of schedule in the rehab process and anticipates having a mostly normal spring, although he might miss the first week of Cactus League action.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Giants use him. Jones is open to working in the outfield, and some on the coaching staff have discussed it, but the injury might give the training staff some pause.
--- I wrote last October about how much the staff loved Abiatal Avelino’s enthusiasm during a September cameo. That carried over into the offseason. Bochy said he regularly received texts from the young shortstop while Avelino played winter ball, which is not common.
He ended up playing in the outfield quite a bit and moving all over the infield, and that should continue into the spring. Avelino definitely will be a guy to watch, given Zaidi’s preference for versatility.
--- The Giants signed Rene Rivera to a minor league deal Friday, according to Jon Heyman, but a few hours later, Zaidi again said he’s looking for catching depth.
“Buster is feeling great, but having some additional depth there is going to be important for us going into the season,” Zaidi said.
So … Nick Hundley? Well, a source said a reunion is unlikely. Hundley has been caught up in this rough offseason for players, and he’s said to be examining offers to enter big league camps on a minor league deal and try to win a job, similar to what Hunter Pence is doing with the Rangers.
If that ends up being the case, it shows you why players are so ticked off right now. Hundley signed one-year guaranteed deals the past two offseasons and gave the Giants plenty of value.
--- The Giants announced Friday that John Andreoli and Derek Law cleared waivers and were outrighted to Triple-A. Both will be in big league camp. Mike Gerber is in the same boat. Honestly, that’s a good sign for this revamped front office.
A strong executive knows the true value of his players and has a good idea of when to take risks, and thus far Zaidi has read the room correctly, adding Andreoli and Gerber and keeping Law. They might not be big names, but no team likes to lose inventory, and the Giants have not by correctly choosing which players to put through waivers.
--- Brandon Belt and Cody Bellinger are very different types of players, but given how often Bellinger played center field for Zaidi’s Dodgers, it’s been easy to wonder if he’ll throw Belt back into the mix in left. Zaidi’s body language when asked left the impression that he doesn’t love the idea.
“As we sit right now, we see him as our everyday first baseman. We want him to primarily be focused at first, but I think we’re going to try to get him out there (in left) in camp because you just never know how the season is going to unfold,” Zaidi said. “We want him to at least be prepared to do it.”
--- Before Harper became a thing, there was a lot of talk about the Giants and the Raiders striking a deal to let the NFL team play at Oracle Park next season. Well, it sounds like it's no longer happening. That session with Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey produced some of the lighter moments from FanFest, including this exchange:
KNBR host: "How do you get the rights to the boombox in the clubhouse?
Crawford: "It's 2019. We don't have a boombox."
The shortstop still is the clubhouse DJ, though, and as he prepares this year's victory soundtrack, he might have to make an adjustment. Crawford and Chad Chop always got together in spring training to come up with the playlist while shooting jumpers at Crawford's Scottsdale home.
But Chop, part of the replay team the last few years, was let go at the end of the season, and officially has caught on with the Dodgers ...