Giants

A deep look at what it would take for the Giants to make the playoffs

A deep look at what it would take for the Giants to make the playoffs

SAN FRANCISCO — As he packed up at Chase Field a week ago, Bruce Bochy was asked about the odd end-of-season schedule. The Giants still will visit Cincinnati, New York, Milwaukee and St. Louis, but they’re done with their trips to Phoenix. 

Bochy noted that, given his team’s situation, he would rather see teams in the division. That’s the easiest way to make up ground, and the Giants will get another opportunity over the next three days with a series at Dodger Stadium. Logic and history say this season is pretty much already over. The Giants, who won 4-3 on Sunday, would like you to hold on a bit longer. 

“No one has gotten really hot in our division. We’re beating up on each other,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “I thought that would be the case. I think it’s going to be real tight, I do. We’re all balanced in our own way and have strengths and weaknesses and have dealt with injuries. I think it’s going to go down to the wire.”

The Giants remain six back of the Diamondbacks, who won Sunday. They are five back of the Dodgers, who got walked off for a second straight game. Complicating matters: The Giants are also 4 1/2 games behind the Rockies. They’ll need three teams ahead of them to go in the tank.

It helps to control your own destiny, and the Giants will for three days. If they can put a dent in the Dodgers, they get three with the Reds, four with the Mets and three with the Rangers. That is a soft landing spot, but realistically, this team needs to come pretty close to running the table over a 10-game road trip. 

The numbers, both basic and advanced, tell the same story. According to FanGraphs.com, the Giants entered play Sunday with a 0.4 chance of winning the division and 1.0 percent chance of winning a Wild Card spot. FanGraphs has put four NL clubs at zero percent already — including the Reds and Mets — and the Giants are in position to be the next to get there. No other team took the field Sunday between 0 and 14 percent.

There’s a more traditional way to look at this, too. The NL West champ has won at least 91 games in each of the last five seasons. It has taken at least 87 wins to sneak into the Wild Card Game over that span, with the Giants getting in at 88 in 2014 and 87 in 2016. So let’s say that’s realistically the best case scenario, a road game as the second Wild Card. The Giants are 59-60 and still would need to go 28-15 to get to 87 wins. At no point this season have they been more than five games over .500.

It’s tough sledding, but Dereck Rodriguez and an opportunistic lineup brought excitement to AT&T Park on Sunday, capping a rough homestand. Rodriguez is a certified Rookie of the Year candidate, which will be worth rooting for down the stretch. If the rest of the Giants can’t find some way to dominate this road trip, though, that’ll be just about all that’s left to monitor.

Giants Review: Chase d'Arnaud takes the mound in sixth big league stop

Giants Review: Chase d'Arnaud takes the mound in sixth big league stop

SAN FRANCISCO — Everywhere the Giants went in the second half, Chase d’Arnaud seemed to know somebody. The visiting team usually stretches while the home team is finishing batting practice, and it was a common sight to see d’Arnaud walk over and chat with a former teammate or coach. 

Part of that is d’Arnaud’s personality. He’s as energetic and friendly as any ballplayer. But part of that is also the fact that, well, d’Arnaud has played with a lot of different teammates. The Giants were d’Arnaud’s sixth organization in the last five seasons, and he ended up getting 100 big league plate appearances. Here’s a rundown of the highs and lows … 

What Went Right: Look, the numbers don’t lie — d’Arnaud tied Pablo Sandoval and 18 others for the NL lead in ERA. That's a fact. He took the mound for the first time on August 19 in Cincinnati and recorded three flyouts while giving up a single. With that inning, d’Arnaud — like Sandoval — finished the year with a 0.00 ERA. He joined Sandoval and Matty Alou as the only position players in franchise history to pitch a scoreless inning.

With three homers, including two that gave the Giants a lead, d’Arnaud set a new career-high. He reached 100 plate appearances for just the third time as a big leaguer, playing every position but catcher and outfield. 

What Went Wrong: d’Arnaud hit .273 in his first 14 games but had just eight hits in 49 at-bats the rest of the way. All three of his homers came in that first stretch, and over the season’s final two months he had just three extra-base hits. The way to make your mark off the bench is to come through as a pinch-hitter, and he was just 1-for-15 in those situations with 10 strikeouts. 

Overall, d’Arnaud posted a .215/.253/.366 slash line. He showed off his speed in spring training, but at the big league level he had just two stolen bases. 

Contract Status: After signing a minor league deal last winter, d’Arnaud has gathered enough service time to be arbitration eligible. MLB Trade Rumors projects that he’ll make $800,000 if he goes through that process. 

The Future: It seems a no-brainer that d’Arnaud will be non-tendered by the Giants. They have younger, cheaper options as infield depth and they need his 40-man roster spot. D’Arnaud did everything that was asked of him and was good in the clubhouse (he does an amazing job of interacting with fans, too), but the Giants invite two or three middle infield non-roster invitees to camp every year and will do so again. Perhaps d’Arnaud will be part of that mix in 2019, or perhaps he’ll continue his tour, adding a seventh big league hat to the collection.

Report: Giants interviewed Cubs executive Jason McLeod

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USATSI

Report: Giants interviewed Cubs executive Jason McLeod

SAN FRANCISCO -- Larry Baer held his cards close when asked recently if he could follow the Cubs model in revamping the front office, but Baer apparently is interested in what the Cubs have built. According to Bruce Levine of 670 The Score, the Giants interviewed Cubs executive Jason McLeod for the vacancy left by the firing of Bobby Evans. 

McLeod, Chicago's vice president of player development and amateur scouting, would be a strong choice to fulfill Brian Sabean's preference for an executive who honors "both sides of the house." He has a scouting background, but the Cubs are known to be one of the more advanced teams when it comes to analytics and finding any possible edge while building a roster. 

McLeod joined the Cubs in 2011 and has played a part in the drafting or signing of young talent like Kris Bryant, Gleyber Torres (traded to the Yankees), Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ. He previously worked with the Red Sox and Padres. 
McLeod is the third reported candidate, joining MLB executive Kim Ng and Diamondbacks VP Amiel Sawdaye.