Bonds hit 87 homers off the Padres, so why did Bochy keep pitching to him?

Bonds hit 87 homers off the Padres, so why did Bochy keep pitching to him?

SAN FRANCISCO — During a ceremony Saturday to unveil a Barry Bonds plaque on the organization’s Wall of Fame, broadcaster Duane Kuiper read off a list of pitchers who got the best of Bonds. It was a short list. 

Bonds did damage against just about everybody, just about everywhere. No team felt his wrath like the Padres, though, and Bruce Bochy was the manager during much of that reign of terror. Bonds hit 87 homers in 868 at-bats against San Diego, 22 more than he hit against any other team. The Padres intentionally walked him 77 times, which is second to the Dodgers, but the rate is not as out of whack as the home run rate. Bochy explained why on Saturday. 

“There were probably times I should have walked him but when fans come to the ballgame they want to see their favorite player swing the bat,” Bochy said. “We tried to make pitches to him. We didn’t have a lot of success, but I wanted my guys to believe they could get him out.”

Bonds holds the Major League record with 688 intentional walks and he paced the league 12 times in 22 seasons. He drew so many intentional walks that rubber chickens became a staple at AT&T Park. In 2004, Bonds was intentionally walked 122 times but Bochy’s Padres only accounted for eight of those in 18 games. Bonds hit five homers off of them. 

Bonds, in meeting with reporters after the ceremony, said the entertainment aspect was important to him, too. He noted that there was a reason why most of his milestone moments came in San Francisco. 

“You have to be pretty good to do them at home,” he said. “I planned it that way. I wanted my family to see them. I didn’t want them to watch them on TV.”

Bonds said Bochy gave his home run chase an assist as his manager, too. The day he hit No. 755, Bochy threw Bonds 30 minutes of batting practice. 

Sonny Gray traded to Reds in three-team deal after A's, Giants interest


Sonny Gray traded to Reds in three-team deal after A's, Giants interest

Both the Giants and the A's reportedly had interest in acquiring Yankees starting pitcher Sonny Gray this offseason, but he won't return to the Bay Area. He will be heading to the Cincinnati Reds as part of a three-way trade.

Gray signed a three-year. $32-million extension as part of the deal, plus a club option . The Yankees originally received second baseman Shed Long and a 2019 competitive balance pick from the Reds for Gray and left-handed pitcher Reiver Sanmartin. 

But Jerry Dipoto wanted to be a part of it. The Mariners also traded Josh Stowers to the Yankees for Long.

Everyone caught up? 

Gray would have made sense for both Bay Area teams, as the Giants and the A's could use an influx of quality starting pitching. Gray went 11-9 with a 4.90 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 130.1 innings for New York last season, but he was far better on the road than he was at home. 

Considering Oakland Coliseum and Oracle Park are far more pitcher-friendly than Yankee Stadium, a bounceback season in the Bay Area certainly could have been possible. Alas, it appears Gray could be making his home starts at Great American Ball Park, which just might be the most hitter-friendly park in the entire league.

Why Josh Harrison would fit Giants but isn't perfect platoon partner


Why Josh Harrison would fit Giants but isn't perfect platoon partner

With Farhan Zaidi now at the head of decision-making, the Giants want a more versatile roster. One player who fits the mold and has been linked to the Giants in recent months is Josh Harrison.

FanCred's Jon Heyman resurfaced the report Sunday, listing the Giants, Dodgers, Angels, Phillies and Rays as teams interested in the former Pirates second baseman. 

Giants manager Bruce Bochy has said he will embrace platooning players, and second baseman Joe Panik consistently has been talked about as a player the front office will look at as a left-handed hitter in need of a right-handed partner. 

So, could Harrison be the answer? Yes and no. 

Harrison, 31, certainly is the kind of multi-positional player Zaidi covets. While he spent 87 of the 89 games he saw in the field at second base, compared to just two at third base in 2018, he has played five positions -- second, third, right field, left field and shortstop -- over his eight-year career. 

The Giants could use Harrison all over the field, but is he the right platoon partner at the plate with Panik? Not exactly. 

Panik hit just .191 against left-handed pitching last season, compared to .282 facing right-handers. But Harrison, a right-handed hitter, also struggled mightily against left-handed pitching. He had reverse splits, hitting .262 against right-handers and just .219 against left-handers in 2018. 

Harrison's splits very well could be an outlier, though, making him more intriguing to the Giants. He hit .286 against left-handers in 2017, and is a .279 career hitter against southpaws. 

They'll have to hope his 2018 season isn't a sign for things to come, but Harrison makes plenty of sense for the Giants to at least entertain adding the utility man.