Giants

Buster Posey on Giants potentially getting Bryce Harper: 'Sign him up'

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USATSI

Buster Posey on Giants potentially getting Bryce Harper: 'Sign him up'

SAN FRANCISCO — For years, Buster Posey has been part of the recruiting process for big-time free agents. He met with Jon Lester a few weeks before the lefty signed with the Cubs, and last season he was part of the contingent that flew to Los Angeles to woo Shohei Ohtani. 

Posey was not part of the small group that met with Bryce Harper this week, and he said he has not done any recruiting on his own. 

“I really haven’t,” he said, “Maybe it is superstition, because every time I seem to reach out, they go somewhere else.”

Still, there are other ways to make your feelings known outside of meetings and text messages. Posey did Friday when asked about Harper for the first time.

“Yeah,” he said quickly. “Sign him up."

Posey is generally not one to make waves, but it was notable that he retweeted a Bob Nightengale tweet earlier this week complaining about Adam Jones’ ongoing status as a free agent. The two were part of Team USA during the last World Baseball Classic and Posey has played on All-Star teams with Harper. 

When discussing free agency Friday, Posey made it clear that he would like additions. He turns 32 this spring, after all. 

“What team out there wouldn’t want a Bryce Harper, a Manny Machado, or a lot of the free agents out there?” Posey said. “As players, from the time you were five years old, you aspire to play against the best competition, whether it’s in your Little League game, high school, college, and the big league level. I think, as a fan myself, and fans that come to the game or watch on TV, I want when the Giants are playing X, Y or Z, fans to say, ‘You know what? We’re going to get the best competition. We know we’re going to get to see a great game tonight.’”

“We’ve got to figure out a way that each game, fans have the feeling that the competition is at its highest."

Posey was asked often about free agency on Friday. He’s one of the biggest stars in the game, and as players begin to prepare for the next round of collective bargaining, you can bet that guys like Posey will make their voices heard. The players want change, but they’ll have to wait.

For now, Posey hopes he won’t have to wait to see changes to his current roster. 

There has been no Andrew McCutchen this winter, or Evan Longoria. Another Johnny Cueto has not walked through that clubhouse door. The group that gathered Friday morning at AT&T Park was just about exactly the same as the one that walked out at the end of the 2018 season. Thus far, the front office has guaranteed only about $10 million to free agents.

[RELATED: Zaidi: Harper, Giants have 'mutual interest']

Perhaps Harper won’t be the addition. But Posey hopes to see one of some sort. 

“I’ve always felt very fortunate to be a part of an organization that tries to put a team on the field that has a chance to make the playoffs, to just get in and have that chance to compete in October,” he said. “I sure hope that’s still the case. That’s all I can hope for is that that still is the case.”

Dereck Rodriguez to start Gabe Kapler's first game as Giants manager

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AP

Dereck Rodriguez to start Gabe Kapler's first game as Giants manager

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Gabe Kapler announced his starter for Saturday's Cactus League opener and then later noted, "I wouldn't read anything into" the decision. But it's still a big deal for the organization, with Kapler making his debut, and the game could be a pretty important one for the pitcher chosen to throw the first pitch. 

Dereck Rodriguez will kick things off against the Dodgers on Saturday, weather permitting. Two years after he broke through, Rodriguez is on the outside of the rotation race, with the far more likely scenario being a bullpen job. But even that race is crowded, and Rodriguez will be one of the first to get a shot to impress.

Asked about his conversations with Rodriguez, Kapler said he doesn't think the 27-year-old right-hander needs any extra motivation. 

"My sense is that he's pretty self-critical and is tough on himself, and I think some of the up and down has been tough on him," Kapler said. "Frankly there hasn't been as much velocity in 2019 as there was in '18. He's made some progress this spring with that. He's had a little bit more velocity in his bullpens."

[RELATED: Panda caught Kapler's attention during first live BP]

Rodriguez's average fastball velocity dropped about one MPH from 2018 to 2019. His ERA jumped from 2.81 to 5.64. Kapler said that Rodriguez, like many of the younger pitchers in camp, needs to focus on flexibility and being able to do both roles. He's expected to throw two innings Saturday.

Kapler plans to have Buster Posey, Evan Longoria and Brandon Belt in that first lineup. The plan has tentatively been for Brandon Crawford to play, too, although the shortstop missed a couple of days earlier this week because he got sick. 

Why Giants brought in ASU football coach Herm Edwards as guest speaker

Why Giants brought in ASU football coach Herm Edwards as guest speaker

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants brought puppies into their new facility at Scottsdale Stadium on Thursday afternoon and encouraged players to go spend some time with them as the organization's marketing arm took photos and videos.

The activity in the morning was a bit more serious. 

Herm Edwards, the head coach at Arizona State and a longtime coach in the NFL, visited the clubhouse in the morning to kick off a guest speaker series that the new staff has instituted. Edwards grew up in Seaside and was a Giants fan. He was an easy choice as a guest speaker since he's right down the road in Tempe.  

"He shared with our players that he recognizes that they're all independent contractors, but then once we're in that room together we're a team and we're fighting for one another," manager Gabe Kapler said. "I thought it was a really powerful message at a really good time of camp. I think our players and staff both benefited from having Coach Edwards in the building this morning."

Kapler had never met Edwards before Thursday morning. He said the staff has kicked around names to be brought in as other guest speakers. 

"We will be looking for people to come in and share stories but we're not going to overdo it, either," Kapler said. "We want impactful people to be spliced into camp and have a nice balance between fun and lighthearted things in the morning that keeps the entire group loose, and then some more serious messages. In some cases like this morning, a combination of both. He has the ability to make people laugh and hold the attention of the room. A powerful speaker."

[RELATED: Kapler shows support for Brandon Belt]

Kapler said players seemed to enjoy their time with Edwards, who was legendarily intense during his NFL days. And yes, when it came time to ask questions, one of them did raise his hand and ask Edwards why you play the game.