Giants

Buster Posey calls for every MLB team to be in 'win-right-now mode'

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AP

Buster Posey calls for every MLB team to be in 'win-right-now mode'

Buster Posey is a three-time World Series champion. He knows what it's like to be a winner, and he wants every other team in baseball to be gunning for a ring, too. 

Posey is the latest star to show his frustration with baseball's slow offseason where stars like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remain unsigned, days before spring training. His Giants teammate Evan Longoria expressed his displeasure on social meadia last month as well. 

“What team out there wouldn’t want a Bryce Harper, a Manny Machado, or a lot of the free agents out there?” Posey said Friday when asked about the Giants possibly signing Harper.

[RELATED: Buster Posey is right on schedule, pleased with how hip feels]

The last two seasons haven't gone as planned for Posey and the Giants. In 2017 and 2018 combined, the Giants lost 187 games and Posey only played in 105 games last year due to hip injuries. He'll be 32 years old in March and clearly doesn't want to go through another losing season. 

As far as the Giants signing Harper, we'll have to keep waiting.

Giants GM Scott Harris explains signing Hunter Pence over Kevin Pillar

Giants GM Scott Harris explains signing Hunter Pence over Kevin Pillar

Madison Bumgarner wearing a jersey other than one for the Giants still remains a shock to some. The front office made a bit of another controversial decision as well when moving on from last season's home-run leader. 

Kevin Pillar quickly became a fan favorite in San Francisco for his diving catching in center field and ability to actually his the ball out of Oracle Park. And then, the Giants let the Willie Mac Award winner walk this past offseason. 

The Giants non-tendered Pillar in December, making him a free agent. The veteran outfielder was expected to make around $10 million in arbitration. Instead of bringing him back, the Giants essentially opted to replace him with a Hunter Pence reunion, costing the front office only $3 million.

Pillar wound up signing a one-year, $4.25 million contract with the Boston Red Sox earlier this month.

General manager Scott Harris further explained what went into those decisions. 

“Hunter fills an important hole for us on our team," Harris said on KNBR's "Murph & Mac Show" on Friday. "He helps us run out a very formidable lineup against left-handed pitching. He’s also familiar with our ballpark and brings leadership skills we think are going to complement our young core.

“In Kevin’s case, he was an excellent player for us last year, he had one more year of team control so he was going to be a free agent at the end of next year anyways.

"We wanted to create opportunities for our young players and invest in our young players. That doesn’t mean money, it means investing at-bats, it means investing innings in center field, it means investing in the opportunity to grind through a major league season and really prove yourself at this level.”

The Giants still seem to have question marks in center field. Middle infielder Mauricio Dubon will get innings there this spring, and has embraced being a versatile player for manager Gabe Kapler. Mike Yastrzemski is expected to start the season in center, and he can play all three outfield positions. Steven Duggar, Jaylin Davis and the speedy Billy Hamilton all are expected to fight for innings as well. 

Pence, however, will not play any center field. He is expected to mostly play left field while also helping in right as well. 

As Kapler and the Giants hope to be versatile all over the field, it's likely their outfielders will have to play multiple positions. 

[RELATED: How MadBum pitched for D-backs in his first spring outing]

Harris is right, though. While Pillar hit .278 with nine homers and an .823 OPS against lefties last season, Pence was even better. In his comeback season with the Texas Rangers, Pence batted .327 with a 1.015 OPS and knocked out eight homers against southpaws. 

Whether Harris wants to admit it or not, money did play a factor here. But Pence does bring mentorship to a young roster, and fans already are clamoring about having him back in San Francisco.

How Madison Bumgarner pitched for D-backs in first spring training game

How Madison Bumgarner pitched for D-backs in first spring training game

It's official: Madison Bumgarner has toed the rubber for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The longtime Giants ace made his spring debut in D-backs red on Thursday with a two-inning outing against the Cincinnati Reds. 

Bumgarner retired his first five batters, striking out four, before allowing a solo shot to baseball's biggest biceps, a.k.a. Derek Dietrich. That was the only hit Bumgarner allowed, though. He gave up just the one run over two innings. 

"I felt good -- a lot better than I expected for the first game of spring," Bumgarner said to reporters after the game. "Especially the way it usually goes for me. I was pretty happy with it."

As for that whole "Mason Saunders" thing, Bumgarner wouldn't give in to reporters. 

"Like I said, I felt really good today," Bumgarner said, refusing to acknowledge his rodeo alias. "Everything felt good and I was happy with where it was at."

The Athletic reported Monday that Bumgarner has participated in team-roping competitions under the alias. Former Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he didn't know about that part of Bumgarner's off-field life, but did hint at some Bumgarner bear-hunting stories.

Bumgarner, who won three World Series championship in San Francisco, signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the D-backs this offseason. Despite questions about his velocity going forward, Bumgarner's fastball sat in the low 90s in his spring debut. 

[RELATED: Shark laughs at rumors that Giants could trade him to Yanks]

"Mixed in everything, threw a few more fastballs than I was originally planning," Bumgarner said. "I was planning on kind of mixing it up and seeing where everything was at and what I needed to work on. I actually ended up going out there and the fastball felt pretty good, so I wanted to see exactly where it was at."

The reality is it always will be weird seeing the big left-hander in a D-backs jersey. It will be even weirder when the Giants travel to Arizona at the end of March and likely face Bumgarner for the first time in the regular season.