Bochy on future: This is 'certainly not the way I want to go out'


Bochy on future: This is 'certainly not the way I want to go out'

SAN FRANCISCO — The scene became a familiar one, played out over and over again during the course of one of the most disappointing seasons in MLB history. The Giants would do something bad — hit into a double play to end a threat, give up a three-run homer, let a harmless fly ball drop in the outfield, you name it — and the cameras would pan to the top step of the dugout. 

Manager Bruce Bochy often looked like he couldn’t believe what he was watching. During a loss to the Padres, he gave some signs to a coach and then waved his hands, as if to say, “Oh, what does it matter?” When the Giants were losing to the A’s one night, he was shown sitting completely still, hands at his hips, seemingly shocked by what he was watching. At the end of one inning against the Braves, he rubbed a hand through his hair, tugged his cap back on, and folded into a sleeping pose on the dugout rail. 

Those are scenes that make you wonder if this is still fun. Throw in several health scares over the past couple of years and it’s easy to wonder how much longer a man headed to the Hall of Fame can handle managing this type of baseball. But don’t think about it for long, Bochy said this week. His three-year extension goes through 2019 and those close to him believe there’s no chance he doesn’t see that through. For now, during an interview for this week’s Giants Insider Podcast, Bochy said his focus is on bouncing back in 2018.  

“As we go into 2018, I know this is what I want to do,” he said. “Now, I might change my mind after that year or (my bosses) may change their minds. And you never know when it’s going to hit you, when enough is enough, but at this stage it’s certainly not the way I want to go out. I want to leave the Giants organization better than when I came here and I want to get this team back on track. This is my passion.”

Bochy, who turned 62 in April, recently became the first manager to win 900 games for two organizations. It’s a resume that’s almost unmatched, and while he intends to keep adding to it, he acknowledged that he could feel different next September. 

“It’s hard to say, and sometimes you don’t have a say. I understand that,” he said. “There’s the old joke they may retire me for health reasons because they’re sick and tired of me, which I get. But at the same time, this is what I want to do and I’m looking forward to — after this year — getting ready for spring training.”

The Giants have plenty of holes to fill, and Bochy talked about that during our discussion. He also gave his thoughts on what made Matt Cain special, the future of his outfield, the need to inject some power into this lineup, and much more. You can stream the entire conversation here or listen to it on iTunes here. 

MLB free agency debate: Where will Manny Machado sign this offseason?

MLB free agency debate: Where will Manny Machado sign this offseason?

Editor's note: Each day this week, Giants insider Alex Pavlovic and A's reporter Ben Ross will debate where one of the top five free agents might land this offseason. Wednesday's free agent to discuss is Manny Machado, a four-time All-Star infielder who has spent the last half of the 2018 season with the Dodgers.

ALEX: Ben, people have been looking forward to this free agent class for years, but it ended up being a little underwhelming. Clayton Kershaw didn't opt out, guys like Dallas Keuchel, Josh Donaldson and Andrew McCutchen dropped off a bit, and former All-Stars like Hunter Pence have totally fallen off the map.

But it's still a historic class with two young superstars at the top -- Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. We talked about Harper on Monday. Machado is the better all-around player, but there's a cloud hanging over his head after his postseason behavior.

[RELATED: Debate -- Where will Brantley sign?]

Personally, I don't think that'll cost him money. Aroldis Chapman got paid and Roberto Osuna got traded to a contender. Machado will get his big deal somewhere. What do you think?

BEN: Agreed. Machado is a special talent. He’s already a four-time All-Star and still just 25 years old. He is going to get his $300+ million contract from someone. So who are the contenders? I’m thinking the Yankees and Phillies are the frontrunners.

I don’t see him staying with the Dodgers, but maybe the Angels try to make a splash? How about the Cubs or White Sox? Who am I missing?

ALEX: I do wonder if the Mets will get involved if their new GM can convince them to spend. The Angels are a nice darkhorse for a lot of these guys. Some people have speculated he could go home to Miami.

But it sounds like the Yankees and Phillies have been out in front of this one. I'm going to lean towards the Phillies, because they have to get Harper or Machado, and I think Machado is the better fit. What's the official Ben Ross prediction? 

BEN: I've thought all along he would end up with the Yankees and I'll stick with that. I know there are reports they're concerned with Machado's comments about hustling -- not to mention his other antics -- but I don't think they'll be scared off. They have the opportunity to put Machado, Stanton, and Judge all in the same lineup. I'll say Machado gets 12 years, $325 million.

ALEX: I'm going to take the under. If the Yankees aren't that serious, there aren't enough major suitors out there to push his market where he wants it to end up. I'll say the Phillies get their guy, but at $261 million over nine years.

Editor's note: This week across the NBC Sports Regional Networks, we'll be taking an in-depth look at some of the top free agents in baseball. Wednesday is dedicated to free agent infielder Manny Machado.

'No red flags' for six injured Giants six weeks into the offseason


'No red flags' for six injured Giants six weeks into the offseason

SAN FRANCISCO -- A few hours before the Giants named Farhan Zaidi their new president of baseball operations, assistant general manager Jeremy Shelley stood in the lobby of the Omni Resort in Carlsbad and looked down at a notecard full of names. He had been asked about the large collection of Giants who finished the season on crutches or in slings. 

"No red flags," he said.

Zaidi's first order of business will be to build depth for a team that was crushed by injuries in 2018. That effort will be helped by the fact that all of the rehabbing Giants appear to be doing well. They're all on schedule, or in some cases, a little ahead.

It starts with catcher Buster Posey, of course. He's off his crutches and walking normally two and a half months after major hip surgery. Posey has been rehabbing five days per week in the Bay Area, and remains on pace to start baseball work in January.

Shelley said Posey "definitely" will be ready for activity in spring training, as the Giants had anticipated all along.

When Posey shows up in Scottsdale, he'll at some point run into Johnny Cueto. The right-hander is back in the Dominican Republic right now after months of rehab work in Arizona. He'll continue physical therapy at his offseason home and return to Scottsdale in February to begin a throwing program. There's still a chance that Cueto, who had Tommy John surgery, can return for a few starts at the end of next season.

First baseman Brandon Belt, who had a knee cleanup, is off his crutches and doing well. Steven Duggar (shoulder surgery), the likely Opening Day center fielder, just finished his rehab work in Arizona. He'll return to be checked later this month and then start a hitting program the first week of January. Austin Slater went down the last week of the season with an elbow sprain, but the young outfielder has started a throwing program and also is on schedule. 

Finally, there's a player who never made it back to the big leagues after a concussion. Shelley said Mac Williamson was cleared of symptoms in September and has had a normal offseason.

"He should be on schedule to compete for a job in spring training," Shelley said.

Williamson is out of options, so next spring is a big one for a player who looked headed for a breakout before he went down.