Brandon Crawford not a fan of Raiders possibly playing at Oracle Park


Brandon Crawford not a fan of Raiders possibly playing at Oracle Park

SAN FRANCISCO -- In a few days, Brandon Crawford will be out on the dirt at Scottsdale Stadium, practicing glove-flips and no-look throws to second base. He might even kick a grounder over to Joe Panik to start a mock double play. He has in the past. 

Crawford is as creative as can be when practicing to play shortstop, often mixing in the spectacular to break drills up, but there’s no real way to prepare for what the Giants are discussing with the Raiders. An NFL game would tear up the Oracle Park infield in unpredictable ways, and the organization’s Gold Glove shortstop doesn’t want to see it happen. 

“I wouldn’t be the biggest fan of that. I’ll leave it at that,” he said. “We saw what a weekend of rugby did last year to our field. With as good as our grounds crew is, it was still probably the worst I had ever seen after that weekend of rugby last year. I can only imagine what an NFL game would do to it. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. That’s what I’m hoping.”

The Giants hosted the Rugby World Cup Sevens last July and, despite tireless work from one of the best grounds crews in baseball, there was damage to the field. There’s only so much that can be done shortly after an event like that, and the field also has been torn up by concerts in recent years.

[RELATED: Source: Raiders still could play seven games at Oracle Park] 

The good news for Crawford and the rest of the Giants -- many of whom came out strongly against the Raiders' plan in informal conversations -- is that the Giants have a schedule in place that would keep the NFL team on the road until the end of baseball season. But the general consensus among players Friday was that they hope it doesn’t even get that far. 

A source said, however, that nothing has changed in recent days, and there’s still a chance the Giants and Raiders could strike a deal. 

Camp Observations: Could Duggar be the leadoff hitter?


Camp Observations: Could Duggar be the leadoff hitter?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Another day, another addition.

This time it’s Yangervis Solarte, and the former Padres and Blue Jays infielder has a good shot at making the roster. Here’s my story from this morning on Solarte, who still needs to pass his physical.

Solarte and Bruce Bochy spoke on the phone yesterday and the manager is psyched about the addition. He said Solarte will mostly play second and third, but Bochy liked what he saw of him at short in San Diego and that phone conversation included some discussion of playing left field. Solarte even told the Giants he would be fine with center, but that ain't happening. 

“We’re excited to have him,” Bochy said. “We saw a lot of him in San Diego. A good player, can play a lot of positions, a switch-hitter. He’s a nice addition.”

Here are some more observations from Day 3: 

New Leadoff Hitter?

Steven Duggar (shoulder) and Ryder Jones (knee) took on-field batting practice for the first time since having surgery. Both looked good and shouldn’t face too many restrictions this spring.

As Bochy watched Duggar, he found himself thinking about the lineup. He said he hopes to have Duggar in one of the top two spots. 

“You look at the top of the order. That’s the first spot you think about,” Bochy said. “How it’s going and how they’re playing will dictate it but I think he’s a good leadoff hitter.”

Jersey Crunch

The Giants have retired so many numbers and have so many players in camp that they’re running out of numbers. So, Trevor Gott, who has big league experience, is currently wearing No. 91. And when the Giants signed a flood of veterans over the past week, some familiar numbers were given away.

Gerardo Parra will wear No. 8, formerly Hunter Pence’s number, and Rene Rivera will wear Matt Cain’s 18 if he’s on the roster. The clubhouse staff did agonize over all this as many fans do, but there was no other way. The only low numbers that remain are 5 and 22. Parra wore 8 with the Rockies and Rivera has mostly worn 44, which isn’t an option here obviously. 

Don’t Mess With Bumgarner

That’s the main thing we were reminded of today. Maybe he was imagining Yasiel Puig coming down the line?

As Giants wait for Harper decision, they continue to discuss trade options


As Giants wait for Harper decision, they continue to discuss trade options

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For every move the Giants have made over the past week, the response from an anxious fan base has been the same.

“Uhhh, that dude isn’t Bryce Harper.”

The biggest name on the market remains on the market, but what do the Giants do if Harper chooses the Phillies or Nationals or Padres or some mystery team? Farhan Zaidi is working on Plan B, too, and that could involved remaining free agents or trades. The Giants do still need help in their outfield. 

“We’ve had trade conversations with teams about certain players that started in 2018 that kind of are continuing now,” Zaidi said. “It’s a little bit of a function of the slow market. I think with anything that’s a hypothetical, it’s a good idea to have alternatives and not put all your eggs in any one basket.”

The Giants won’t reach into any other basket until Harper has made a decision. There’s no available player that would match that production, but this offseason started with more humble goals and there are plenty of options on the trade market. If the Giants don’t get Harper, they seem well positioned to quickly pivot. 

In the meantime, Zaidi is padding out the rest of the roster. All offseason, he said he wanted catching depth. Stephen Vogt and Rene Rivera signed in the span of four days. Zaidi wanted a versatile infield piece, too, and Yangervis Solarte is on his way. He wanted a couple of outfielders, and Gerardo Parra fills one hole. 

Zaidi will always tinker. That’s his nature. But he doesn’t want to add too many more players on non-roster deals because he wants the recent additions and the younger players in house already to have a real opportunity to compete this spring. That was promised to the players already here, so don’t expect too many more who fit the mold of a Parra or Solarte. 

“We want competition but don’t want this to be a reality show or tryout camp,” Zaidi said. “You try to draw the line between feeling good about the guys you have but also not going overboard.”