Giants

Buster Posey reacts to Gabe Kapler hire, introductory press conference

Buster Posey reacts to Gabe Kapler hire, introductory press conference

SAN FRANCISCO -- Over and over again in recent years, Buster Posey has served as a recruiter for the Giants front office, meeting players like Jon Lester and Shohei Ohtani and telling them the positives of signing to play in San Francisco. Last month, the Giants turned to Posey to be part of the vetting process. 

The face of the franchise was one of dozens of team employees who met with Gabe Kapler during the interview process, and he sat in the third row of the press conference to introduce his new manager. Posey was the only Giants player in attendance, sitting alongside third base coach Ron Wotus, who will be part of Kapler's staff. 

"The organization, the Giants organization, means so much to me, and they asked me to be here and I felt like it was important for me to be here and show my support for the new manager," Posey said afterward. 

Posey said he was part of the interview process "to give a player's perspective," noting that he's the only Giant who lives in the Bay Area full-time, so it was easiest for him. But the Giants likely would have tried to involve Posey regardless of where he makes his offseason home. Kapler will need to win over the clubhouse, and he enjoyed his time with Posey last month. 

"I found Buster to be very attentive, very aware," Kapler said. "As I think ahead of how I'm going to make an impact in this clubhouse, I'm going to lean heavily on Buster."

Posey has known just one big league manager, but he apparently came away from the meeting with positive thoughts about Kapler. Posey, who met with other candidates as well, was said to be on-board with the choice, and he showed that support Wednesday. 

The press conference might not have been what Posey expected, though. Kapler, Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris spoke for 58 minutes, and more than half of that time was spent discussing the mishandling of assault allegations when Kapler and Zaidi were in Los Angeles. 

"I thought he answered the questions well. I felt like they were genuine (answers)," Posey said of Kapler. "I don't know Gabe that well at all, but I know from talking to a lot of people that have known him that there's been a lot of good feedback. I look forward to getting to know him better and hopefully we'll have a great working relationship."

The theme of Wednesday's press conference is not going away anytime soon. Giants officials know that Kapler will be asked about the Dodgers incident again, and it's likely that at some point -- maybe as early as FanFest -- some of his players might have to answer to the blowback from Giants fans.

[RELATED: Kapler admits he wasn't popular hire as Giants' next manager]

Posey said that the Los Angeles discussion was not part of his meeting with Kapler because they met so early in the process that "there wasn't as much of a story around it at the time." But he got a front-row seat on Wednesday as Kapler answered for his role in the incident.

"My biggest takeaway is the alleged victims are the ones that we have to keep in mind throughout the whole thing," he said. "We can get into 'this happened, this happened' and if somebody was wrong in any way, I think that's the biggest thing for me, is just trying to figure out why it happened, maybe, and how going forward you can prevent it from happening. 

"I think Farhan mentioned giving them support. I mean, I'm a father. It turns my stomach to think about something like that happening to my daughter. That's the biggest thing, I think, is just figuring out why it happened, how it happened, and doing the best you can to support who it happened to."

MLB rumors: Cardinals 'entering the fray' to pursue Madison Bumgarner

MLB rumors: Cardinals 'entering the fray' to pursue Madison Bumgarner

With the Winter Meetings rapidly approaching, MLB free agency is heating up.

One of the top available pitchers -- Madison Bumgarner -- is expected to be in high demand, particularly now that Cole Hamels has signed with the Braves and Zack Wheeler reportedly has agreed to a five-year contract with the Phillies. For teams who scoff at Gerrit Cole's price tag, Bumgarner might be the logical compromise.

The Giants have been "in communication" with Bumgarner, but rumor has it another interested team has entered the mix.

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported Thursday that the St. Louis Cardinals have been linked to Bumgarner, citing a source.

St. Louis already has brought back veteran Adam Wainwright on a one-year deal, and after he, Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas and Dakota Hudson, there appears to be an opening for Bumgarner in the starting rotation. Signing with the Cardinals would not only allow Bumgarner to continue pitching in the National League, but would also allow him to continue taking his own at-bats, which we know he loves so much. He also has been linked to teams such as the Twins and White Sox, but would forfeit his at-bats to a DH in each of those situations.

[RELATED: How Wheeler's reported $118M contract could affect MadBum]

While Bumgarner is expected to receive a contract in excess of $100 million, Feinsand suggests Wheeler's reported $118 million payday might serve to increase the total.

MLB rumors: Yankees make signing free agent Gerrit Cole top priority

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MLB rumors: Yankees make signing free agent Gerrit Cole top priority

Gerrit Cole is far and away the gem of the 2019 MLB free-agent class.

The former Pirates and Astros ace led the American League in both ERA and strikeouts last season and finished just behind teammate Justin Verlander in the AL Cy Young Award race.

The team that historically always has had the deepest pockets in baseball -- the New York Yankees -- have made Cole a priority in free agency, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Thursday, citing a source.

Cole is a Southern California native with familial ties to the Giants, a team that also features one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in the MLB. San Francisco also has been mentioned as a destination for the ace, who reportedly desires a return to the West Coast.

But if the Yankees, who always have jumped to outbid every other team for talent in free agency, decide to back up the proverbial Brinks truck for the 29-year-old, the Giants might be swiftly eliminated from contention for Cole.

Reports indicate that Cole’s price tag will “shatter” the record set by David Price when he signed a $217 million contract with the Boston Red Sox in 2015.

[RELATED: Report: Giants targeted UGA's pitching coach for same role]

While San Francisco has plenty of money to spend this offseason, it likely won’t engage in a bidding war that could approach $300 million.

Even if longtime Giant and current free agent Madison Bumgarner elects to go elsewhere in free agency, it remains to be seen how much money San Francisco would be willing to shell out for an elite talent like Cole in the heart of his prime.