Giants

The case of Bruce Bochy's health: Will he know when it's time?

The case of Bruce Bochy's health: Will he know when it's time?

Giants manager Bruce Bochy received his third heart scare in as many years and underwent what is delicately called “a minor procedure” Tuesday in San Diego.

Which clearly leads to the question almost too delicate to ask: "When is enough enough?"

It can be argued that Bochy is probably the second greatest manager in franchise history after John McGraw. But it must also be argued that he is also a man, a husband, a father, a friend and a companion, and though poets will say that the heart wants what it wants, sometimes the actual heart demands what it needs.

And before we go much further with this, at no time should anyone infer, imply or state that this is a call for Bochy to retire. That’s between him, his medical team and his family to parse. He should be as welcome as he can manage to be forever, such has been his service to the club. Indeed, when he decides to hang up his tarpaulin-sized hat, whether it be after the 3,637 games he has already managed, or the 3,637 more he probably thinks he still has in him, the team ought to consider not only lifetime employment and a ballpark statue but maybe steal a page from international soccer and name a section of the stands at Tercero y Rey after him.

Anything less would seem, well, chintzy. 

But that’s for down the road – for as long as "down the road" will permit. The problem for him is that his chest is suggesting that perhaps "down the road" isn’t as far a distance as he would like.

This is unlike your standard managerial speculation, because typically that comes with failure. Bochy, like former general manager/current godhead of baseball operations Brian Sabean, has been a monumental success, helping compress three championships into five seasons, an achievement he shares with only six other men (Connie Mack, Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel, Walter Alston, Tom Lasorda and Joe Torre).

In other words, this isn’t about whether Bochy is still good at his job (this is indisputably so) but how much longer doing his job is a good idea for him.

One can make the case that while a manager’s lifestyle and stress level is not conducive to good health, his access to top-grade medical care is probably superior.

But it’s not a great case to make, especially if Bochy’s issues are indeed stress-related. It’s also not a great case to make because there is only one doctor that knows Bochy’s case – Bochy’s doctor. Everyone else is either an interested advocate, starting most importantly with his wife, Kim, or an interested observer.
 
In short, there is no case to be made here for his continuing or his retiring. That’s up to him and his, and if his life requires he own part of a winery and kick his feet up rather than trudging half-sideways toward the mount to make what would be (and this is a rough estimate, courtesy FanGraphs and BaseballReference.com) his 10,422nd career pitching change.
 
By the way, how the Giants failed to celebrate his 10,000th bullpen trip last May 25 is a massive marketing failure, especially since it was to bring Santiago Casilla into a high stress inning in what was eventually a 4-3 win over the Padres. Casilla threw a scoreless inning in that game, so no, you can’t play Forensic Sabermetrician and identify him as the reason for Bochy’s health issues.
 
But that’s neither here, there, nor anywhere else. Today’s issue is Bruce Bochy, and whether he can be (a) a good patient, (b) a prudent patient, and (c) a smart patient. This is about whether he can not just recover but also recognize the limits his body is suggesting for him, and work out a rational and sensible path going forward.
 
And yes, that would be Kim reminding him that “acting indestructible” is not one of the available options.

This managing gig wears on different folks in different ways, and it wears harder on successful ones because they do more of it, meaning more high leverage innings, more clubhouse fires extinguished, more umpire arguments, more road trips, more nights with lousy sleep, more nights with late meals or dehydration – more of pretty much everything.
 
Here’s hoping he knows when "no more" comes, and what to do about it. After all, it's not like his body isn't telling him that day is coming.

MLB rumors: News, updates, trade talk Monday from 2018 Winter Meetings

wintermeetingsusatsi.jpg
USATSI

MLB rumors: News, updates, trade talk Monday from 2018 Winter Meetings

Executives, agents and even some players descend on the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas for the MLB Winter Meetings, starting Monday.

Roster construction, either through signings and/or trades, is the goal for many teams, and both Bay Area teams figure to be heavily involved. The Giants, with new president of baseball operation Farhan Zaidi, have numerous questions to answer, particularly in the rotation and the outfield. The A's also need rotation depth -- heck, they need a rotation, period -- and finding a second baseman and a catcher would be nice, too.

Keep it here throughout Day 1 of the Winter Meetings for the latest news, rumors and trade talk, as MLB teams reshape their rosters for the 2019 season.

7:08 p.m. PT: The Yankees ruled themselves out of the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, but that hasn't stopped "several teams" from meeting with the superstar in his hometown, according to Fancred's Jon Heyman.

Here's hoping the "mystery owner" is unmasked, Scooby Doo-style. They would've gotten away with the meeting, too, if it wasn't for those meddling reporters. 

6:38 p.m. PT: Giants fans can breathe easy that Paul Goldschmidt is out of the NL West, but that almost wasn't the case. The Colorado Rockies apparently pushed to trade for Goldschmidt, according to The Athletic's Nick Groke.

The only thing scarier than Goldschmidt raking against the Giants? Him doing it at Coors Field. 

6:04 p.m. PT: The Giants confirmed a trio of reported hires. 

Ricciardi was the Toronto Blue Jays' general manager for eight seasons (2002-09), then worked in the New York Mets front office as a special assistant to general manager Sandy Alderson for the past eight seasons.

Minasian worked with the Milwaukee Brewers for the last 14 seasons, and most recently as a special advisor for scouting in the Brewers' front office. Holmes worked alongside Zaidi in the A's front office, and was most recently their assistant scouting director. 

5:59 p.m. PT: Giants president of baseball operations Neal Huntington? It almost happened, according to the Pirates general manager himself. 

5:06 p.m. PT: For the second straight offseason, the Marlins are probably going to trade one of their best players. Miami dropped the asking price for catcher J.T. Realmuto, according to the New York Post's Joel Sherman.

The Giants reportedly checked in on the All-Star catcher earlier in the offseason, even though they have an All-Star cather of their own. With a lower asking price, will the orange and black explore the possibility again? 

4:55 p.m. PT: The A’s could use some starting pitchers -- heck, they could use any starting pitchers. MassLive’s Chris Costillo dropped interesting tidbits on two bargain-bin options who might fit.

The A’s, of course, know Pomeranz well, as he pitched for them in 2014 and 2015 before they traded him to the Padres in the Yonder Alonso deal. His 2018 statline of a 2-6 record with a 6.08 ERA for the Red Sox might drop the left-hander’s price this offseason.

Oakland also knows Santana well from his eight seasons pitching for the rival Angels, from 2005 to 2012, although he’s about to turn 36, had a horrible 2018 and is showing significant signs of wear.

3:30 p.m. PT: While Yankees GM Brian Cashman all but ruled out the team adding Bryce Harper, he acknowledged he has spoken with the agent for free agent third baseman Manny Machado. The Yankees don't necessarily need a third baseman with Miguel Andujar in the mix, but they could use Machado at shortstop while Didi Gregorious recovers from Tommy John surgery.

3:26 p.m. PT: If you're a Yankees fan hoping the team will sign Bryce Harper, we have some bad news for you. What GM Brian Cashman just told reporters in Vegas pretty much squashed any thought that there is room for the outfielder on the Yankees' roster.

If you're a Giants fan holding out hope that Harper will come to San Francisco, knowing the Yankees aren't in the mix should make you feel good.

2:38 p.m. PT: The A's still would like to bring back second baseman Jed Lowrie, but if the sides can't come to an agreement, former NL batting champ D.J. LeMahieu could be an option. The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the A's have expressed interest in the former Rockies second baseman.

1:15 p.m. PT: Former A's draft pick, Bishop O'Dowd and Cal alum Tyson Ross is headed to MoTown on a one-year, $5.75 million contract, according to The Athletic.

12:28 p.m. PT: Everyone needs their very own boomstick, and the Twins, Astros and Rays reportedly are in the mix for veteran designated hitter Nelson Cruz.

The 38-year-old spent the last four seasons with the Mariners. The A's probably would like to see Cruz pick the Twins or Rays over the Astros, to get him out of the AL West.

11:36 a.m. PT: Earlier, Jon Morosi reported the Dodgers are involved in trade talks for Corey Kluber. Now we know what the Indians want as the headliner of the return: Dodgers No. 1 prospect Alex Verdugo. That would be a hefty price to pay, but the Dodgers are flush with outfielders at the major league level.

11:33 a.m. PT: New president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has made his first 40-man roster addition, as the Giants claimed 26-year-old outfielder Mike Gerber off waivers from the Tigers.

10:46 a.m. PT: In the aftermath of the Diamondbacks letting Patrick Corbin leave and trading Paul Goldschmidt, we wrote last Thursday that the A's should inquire about left-hander Robbie Ray. But according to USA Today, Arizona is telling teams the All-Star pitcher is not available.

10:41 a.m. PT: The Dodgers have won the NL West the last six seasons and made it to the Fall Classic the last two years. But they have yet to end their World Series drought, so could a big splash put them over the top? According to Jon Morosi, the Dodgers are involved in trade talks with the Indians regarding two-time AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber.

10:13 a.m. PT: The Tigers have a 26-year-old outfielder in Nick Castellanos who hit 49 homers over the last two seasons, and he's drawing trade interest, according to Jon Morosi. Could the Giants be interested? We're not sure, but it's an interesting name on the market.

9:36 a.m. PT: Manny Machado plans to show off his hustle by going on a Image Rehabilitation Tour Free Agent Tour! Will he stop by San Francisco or Oakland?

9:12 a.m. PT: Billy Hamilton reportedly will receive a total of $5 million in base salary and incentives from Kansas City.

8:15 a.m. PT: Will Farhan Zaidi move fan favorite Brandon Belt? According to USA Today, the first baseman is available, and several teams are interested.

7:56 a.m. PT: In previous offseasons, the Giants tried to acquire speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton from the Reds, but the sides never agreed to a deal. This winter, Hamilton was non-tendered by Cincinnati.

Now, it appears Hamilton has found a new home, as he's reportedly close to a deal with the Royals.

7:30 a.m. PT: We're not sure if Bryce Harper will meet with Farhan Zaidi and the Giants contingent in Vegas, but the top free agent on the market reportedly is warming up to the idea of playing for the White Sox. But is he really willing to go to a team that lost 100 games in 2018?

6:49 a.m. PT: The Arizona Diamondbacks finished third in the NL West, nine games ahead of the Giants, last season. That likely won't be the case in 2019. Patrick Corbin left in free agency. Paul Goldschmidt has been traded. And now, it appears the team is trying to trade ace Zack Greinke.

But that will be difficult because Greinke has a 15-team no-trade clause, and has put most big market teams on it, according to Jon Heyman.

Giants announce hiring J.P. Ricciardi, Zack Minasian, and Michael Holmes

zaidiusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Giants announce hiring J.P. Ricciardi, Zack Minasian, and Michael Holmes

Farhan Zaidi isn't done making over the Giants' front office. 

San Francisco announced hiring J.P. Ricciardi as a senior advisor to Zaidi, as well as Zack Minasian and Michael Holmes as the directors of pro and amateur scouting, respectively. 

Ricciardi was the Toronto Blue Jays' general manager for eight seasons (2002-09), and most recently worked as a special assistant to New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson for the last eight seasons. Prior to joining the Blue Jays, he worked for the A's for 16 years. 

[RELATED: Winter Meetings could be unpredictable for Giants under new leadership]

Minasian worked in a variety of roles in the Milwaukee Brewers' front office for nearly 15 years. Most recently, Minasian served as a special advisor focused on scouting. His father was the Rangers' clubhouse manager for over two decades, and his brother Perry is the Atlanta Braves' vice president of baseball operations and assistant general manager. 

Holmes, meanwhile, worked alongside Zaidi in the A's front office from 2005-14. He was most recently Oakland's assistant scouting director, and held the title from 2009 onward.