Giants

Bonds makes significant leap, but not part of 2017 Hall of Fame Class

Bonds makes significant leap, but not part of 2017 Hall of Fame Class

SAN FRANCISCO — No hitter controlled a game like Barry Bonds, but the longtime Giant has had to sit by in recent years and watch Hall of Fame voting mostly leave him behind. On Wednesday, Bonds finally gained some traction.

Bonds was not elected as part of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017, but he made a significant leap, opening the door for selection in one of his five remaining years on the ballot. Bonds ended up on 53.8 percent of ballots, well short of the needed 75 percent, but well ahead of his previous pace. He had been listed on just 44.3 percent of ballots a year ago, a modest leap from 36.8 in 2015.

Bonds has benefited from several changes to the voting process and the makeup of the Hall in recent years. Most notably, he appears to have received a significant boost from Bud Selig’s election in December by a 16-person committee. Selig was the commissioner during the steroid era, and when he was elected, many in the Baseball Writers Association of America made it clear that Selig’s inclusion would have an impact. Susan Slusser, who covers the A’s for the San Francisco Chronicle, summed it up neatly in a tweet: “Senseless to keep steroid guys out when the enablers are in Hall of Fame. I now will hold my nose and vote for players I believe cheated.”

Per Ryan Thibodaux’s invaluable ballot tracker, Bonds received 23 votes from BBWAA members who did not put a check next to his name a year ago (among public ballots). Roger Clemens, who has been similarly held back by a PED cloud, gained 24 votes. 

Both Bonds and Clemens have also benefited from a change in the electorate. A writer must hold a BBWAA card for 10 years to receive a vote, but last year the rules were changed to eliminate writers who have not actively covered baseball in the past 10 years. The purging of older voters has benefited players from the steroid era, as has the addition of new voters who grew up watching a game dominated by Bonds, Clemens, Mark McGwire and others who were later connected to PEDs. According to Thibodaux’s tracker, Bonds and Clemens were both selected by 13 of 14 first-time voters.

Bonds and Clemens still have a long way to go, but they can take solace in the fact that two of this year’s selections made similar leaps to cross the three-quarters threshold. Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez make up this year’s class. Raines, in his final go-around on the ballot, jumped from 69.8 percent to 86 percent. Bagwell, in his seventh year, went from 71.6 to 86.2 percent. Rodriguez never was disciplined for PED use but he has been hounded by rumors for years. He received 76 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot.

Another big jump would put Bonds, the all-time home run leader and a seven-time MVP, on the edge of Cooperstown. He will not get a “Selig bump” next year, but another wrinkle could help his cause. Starting in 2018, all ballots will be made public.

Former Giants second baseman Jeff Kent received 16.7 percent of the vote. 2010 World Series MVP Edgar Renteria received two votes, while Pat Burrell and Freddy Sanchez did not receive any votes. The latter three will not appear on future ballots.

Chris Stratton traded by Giants to Angels for reliever Williams Jerez

Chris Stratton traded by Giants to Angels for reliever Williams Jerez

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants finished their exhibition game well after 11 p.m. on Monday night. They weren't done for the day. 

One minute before midnight, the Giants announced that they traded right-hander Chris Stratton to the Angels in exchange for left-handed reliever Williams Jerez. In a related move, lefty Andrew Suarez was optioned to Triple-A, all but setting the rotation.

Asked after the game if he had an order of starting pitchers, manager Bruce Bochy was coy.

"You'll see why here soon," Bochy said.

A few minutes later the Giants announced they have parted ways with a former first-round pick who seemed headed for the long reliever role. 

Stratton, taken 20th overall in 2012, lived up to that promise at times, delivering a couple of strong stretches in the rotation. But he was inconsistent, posting a 4.63 ERA overall in 48 big league appearances. He entered the spring without a hold on a job, and it seemed his only chance at sticking was to be the last man in the bullpen. Stratton was out of options. 

Jerez, 26, made his debut last season and had a 6.00 ERA in 17 relief appearances for the Angels. He struck out exactly a batter per inning. Jerez averaged 9.4 strikeouts per nine in the minors, although walks have been an issue. A second-rounder in 2011, he has a 3.55 ERA in 171 minor league relief appearances.

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Suarez had a strong rookie season but was on the outside looking in all spring. He'll be the next man up, with the rotation seemingly going with Madison Bumgarner, Derek Holland, Dereck Rodriguez, Drew Pomeranz and Jeff Samardzija in that order. 

Of course, that could change Tuesday. You never quite know these days.
 

Giants' Derek Holland vows that Dodgers won't win NL West in 2019

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USATSI

Giants' Derek Holland vows that Dodgers won't win NL West in 2019

The 2019 season hasn't yet started (for 28 teams, at least), and the Dodgers have already wrapped up their seventh straight NL West crown.

At least that's how pundits see things shaking out this year.

Fangraphs projects that the Dodgers will win 93 games and win the division by 12 games over the Rockies. CBS Sports asked five of their writers to predict the NL West standings and all five have the Dodgers on top.

Giants starting pitcher Derek Holland doesn't want to hear it.

"That's the thing people need to understand, it's awesome to see how we're the underdog and we're taking advantage of that," Holland told NBC Sports Bay Area's Amy G during the Giants-A's broadcast on Monday night. "Nobody is picking us to do anything, they've already crowned the Dodgers, they voted that they're going to be the champs. Yeah, that's not happening. We're definitely going to make some noise."

Holland told Amy G that the players in the Giants clubhouse have a lot of confidence in themselves.

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We appreciate Holland's belief in his squad. In order to back up his words, the Giants are going to have to overcome low expectations. Fangraphs projects them to finish in last place, and all those same five CBS Sports writers have the Giants in the cellar.

Hey, if the Giants do shock people and dethrone the Dodgers, it will be one hell of a story.