Giants

Bruce Bochy excited to add Gerardo Parra who has success at Oracle Park

Bruce Bochy excited to add Gerardo Parra who has success at Oracle Park

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants have spent years trying to figure out how to put together a strong lineup at AT&T Park. They’ve drafted players who should fit the gaps, and last year they traded for two former All-Stars who were supposed to take advantage of the dimensions in left field, where the park can be a bit more fair if you pull it. 

With one of their latest additions, they’re relying on a simple method. The staff is hopeful that Gerardo Parra can help jolt the lineup. Why? Well, he’s always liked hitting at Oracle Park. 

Parra, who spent six seasons with the Diamondbacks and three with the Rockies, has played 63 games at Oracle Park and taken 203 at-bats. He has a .310 average there as a visitor. 

“You don’t find that very often, do you?” manager Bruce Bochy said. 

There’s more to this, of course. If the Giants were hellbent on adding players who like their park, they would have called A.J. Preller and offered to take on the rest of Wil Myers’ contract. Parra is a fit for a number of reasons. 

He’ll add a veteran presence to an outfield crop that’s current leader in career plate appearances is Austin Slater with 325. Parra can also play all three outfield spots and is a strong defender in left. He’s 31 now but still has a strong arm. 

“He gives us an experienced outfielder, a good defender, a good hitter with good makeup,” Bochy said. “I’ve seen a lot of him and he’s played very well against us. I think he’s going to add experience with this club, but also he’s a very talented player. He can play all three outfield positions. We’re glad to get this done.”

Bochy said Parra is primarily viewed as a left fielder, and the Giants are still relatively mysterious there. Mac Williamson is certainly deserving of a shot, but if a certain free agent right fielder chooses another organization, Williamson could end up as the starter in right. 

Parra provides insurance in the corners, and he’s coming off a solid year, having posted a .342 on-base percentage for the Rockies last season, with six homers, 17 doubles, and 11 stolen bases. According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Parra will earn $1.75 million if he makes the team, with bonuses for reaching a certain number of plate appearances. 

[RELATED: Giants add four new players at spring training start]

The Giants have scooped up a number of veterans on similar deals late in the offseason, and Bochy is excited about what’s been added to his clubhouse. He spoke to Parra earlier in the week and said he’s ready to add another energetic player to the roster. 

“You can tell he loves to play,” Bochy said. “We had a great conversation and he was excited about coming here, and we’re excited to have him.”

Farhan Zaidi explains Giants' mindset going into 2019 MLB free agency

Farhan Zaidi explains Giants' mindset going into 2019 MLB free agency

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has a history when it comes to MLB free agency: He isn't one for giant contracts. 

Go back to his time as the Dodgers' general manager and Zaidi wasn't even sniffing a $100 million contract. Entering his second season running the Giants front office, and with a general manager in place, what is his mindset this go around in free agency? 

"We certainly have financial flexibility," Zaidi told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on the "TK Show." "We've made some moves to ensure that. There's different ways to spend that money. We can take on contracts from other teams with some young talent attached to it, which I think probably fits the mold of where we are. We can be active in the free agent market to the extent that there are matches that make sense to us." 

Those comments don't place a ton of confidence in the Giants pursuing a top free agent like pitcher Gerrit Cole or third baseman Anthony Rendon. San Francisco's top needs this offseason are shoring up the bullpen, adding a powerful outfielder and finding platoon bats around the infield. It sounds like those will come in short-term contracts. 

Having financial flexibility certainly doesn't mean open pockets that extend to the floor. Zaidi noted that the Giants have flexibility going into the 2020 season, but he has to look much further down the line. 

Prior to Zaidi's arrival in San Francisco, the Giants locked up declining players like Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt to long-term contracts. That certainly is beginning to backfire. 

"We need to be careful given our recent history about creating too many long-term commitments that can get us back in the jam that we very recently put ourselves in," Zaidi explained. 

[RELATED: Zaidi says Giants keeping options open in new closer chase]

Then again, these quotes are from the same guy who offered Bryce Harper a 12-year, $310 million contract last offseason. Was that a one-time thing?

Maybe, maybe not.

"I think that demonstrates if things line up and make sense from a baseball standpoint and an organizational standpoint, that we'll have organizational support to do it," Zaidi said. 

It's clear Zaidi knows the Giants still are in a rebuilding phase with a farm system on the rise. They found talent last year and will continue to do so this year, just don't expect them to break the bank.

Farhan Zaidi says Giants keeping options open in pursuit of new closer

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AP

Farhan Zaidi says Giants keeping options open in pursuit of new closer

The Giants lost an All-Star early in free agency when closer Will Smith signed with his hometown Atlanta Braves last week.

Smith's departure left a clear void in San Francisco's bullpen, as he tied for fifth in MLB with a career-high 31 saves in 2019. Replacing Smith is a clear priority for Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, but he told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on Tuesday that he is in no rush to name a new closer.

"We've got some time to figure that out," Zaidi said on "The TK Show" podcast. "I don't think we need to decide that before Thanksgiving here, but one of the benefits for us of having made some of the trades we made at the deadline is it gave us the opportunity to see some of the younger relievers in our organization. Guys like Tyler Rogers, Jandel Gustave and Sam Coonrod. [These are guys] that could work their way into the picture and work their way into late-inning [situations] in 2020."

Rogers, Gustave and Coonrod were bright spots as rookies last season. None of the trio pitched more than 30 innings, but each showed potential pitching out of the bullpen in August and September. Rogers pitched the fewest innings of the three (17 2/3), but was worth nearly a win above replacement in his appearances, according to Baseball Reference's metrics.

[RELATED: Former Giants hitting coach Powell takes job in Japan]

No matter which of the three emerges, the Giants are going to have a different look in the late innings next season. That could include a free-agent acquisition as well, according to Zaidi.

"Our closer may be in the organization right now," Zaidi continued. "We're going to continue to shop around and see what options are out there, but we at least like the depth that we have in our group of relievers."