Giants

Dodgers won't stand in way as Giants wait for Farhan Zaidi's decision

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USATSI

Dodgers won't stand in way as Giants wait for Farhan Zaidi's decision

CARLSBAD — The doors to a banquet room at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa opened at 2 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon and general managers from around Major League Baseball strolled into a scheduled session with reporters. 

The Giants did not have an employee present. Their general manager was fired at the end of September, and they still have not named a replacement. 

The Dodgers did not have their general manager in the room, either. Farhan Zaidi wasn’t even in Carlsbad on Tuesday. The Dodgers GM was trying to decide whether he wanted to take over a rival baseball operations department. 

Multiple league sources confirmed reports that the Giants have offered Zaidi, a longtime A’s and Dodgers employee, the title of President of Baseball Operations. That position does not currently exist in the organization, but Larry Baer has spent more than a month criss-crossing the country in search of fresh blood to revamp the organization’s baseball operations department. Baer has settled on Zaidi as his top choice, and now two organizations are playing a waiting game. 

Andrew Friedman, the President of Baseball Operations for the Dodgers, took Zaidi’s place in front of reporters and indicated that the organization would not stand in the way of an executive who wanted to join the Giants. 

“We have a longstanding policy of supporting employees,” Friedman said. “We feel like we’ve lost a lot of employees the last two years but I think a lot of that is a result of the success we’ve had.”

The National League champions have already lost their third base coach and hitting coach to other organizations this offseason. Many around the game believe the GM will be next, although Friedman would not address Zaidi’s plans on Tuesday.

“Farhan news is not appropriate to comment on right now,” he said. “We’re going to stick to Dodger-related news. I don’t know what Farhan is going to do.”

For Zaidi, a Cal grad and former assistant GM with the A’s, this is surely a tough decision. The Giants can bring him back to the Bay Area and hand him the keys to his own department. Zaidi never had that kind of power in Oakland and does not in Los Angeles. The Dodgers can do nothing to try and sway him but offer more money, and given how deliberate Baer has been with this search, salary concerns would not get in the way if Zaidi indicated he was ready to take over in San Francisco. 

The Dodgers have another card to play, though. They’re simply in a much better position to win -- now and in the future -- than the Giants. One source said Tuesday that some candidates for the position were concerned by the Giants’ roster and the idea that the easiest way to rebuild would be to come in and immediately become known as the man who traded Madison Bumgarner. 

That’s a move Zaidi may have to make. For now, he has a much bigger decision: Stay in Los Angeles or run the show in San Francisco.

Giants' Evan Longoria expresses displeasure with slow MLB free agency

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Giants' Evan Longoria expresses displeasure with slow MLB free agency

Despite playing 11 years of Major League Baseball, Giants third baseman Evan Longoria has never gone through free agency. He signed a six-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008, and then a 10-year extension with the club in 2012.

But with what he's witnessing this offseason, it's safe to say he isn't looking forward to the day he has to partake in the process.

Longoria took to Instagram to share his displeasure, writing the following: 

We are less then a month from the start of spring and once again some of our games biggest starts remain unsigned. Such a shame. It’s seems every day now someone is making up a new analytical tool to devalue players, especially free agents. As fans, why should “value” for your team even be a consideration? It’s not your money, it’s money that players have worked their whole lives to get to that level and be deserving of. Bottom line, fans should want the best players and product on the field for their team. And as players we need to stand strong for what we believe we are worth and continue to fight for the rights we have fought for time and time again.

What Longoria is arguing is a lot of common sense that baseball fans need to understand.

Let's look at the following point: "As fans, why should “value” for your team even be a consideration? It’s not your money, it’s money that players have worked their whole lives to get to that level and be deserving of. Bottom line, fans should want the best players and product on the field for their team." 

He's not wrong. 

The money either goes to players, making them millionaires, or owners, making them billionaires. Who are we watching on the field? It's quite simple. 

Sure, it might be fun to play armchair GM, but fans should want the best and most entertaining product on the field. We can understand why teams rebuild, but that doesn't mean we have to get to this point as fans. Every team can afford a Bryce Harper or a Manny Machado.

The best game is the most competitive game, and that's what players want. Fans should be nodding their head in agreement. 

What's most interesting from Longoria is the fact that he's calling out the system and calling for players to fight back. The MLB collective bargaining agreement ends at the end of the 2021 season. If anger increases from players, negotiations could get quite awkward. 

Joey Bart named Giants' best defensive prospect by MLB Pipeline

Joey Bart named Giants' best defensive prospect by MLB Pipeline

Giants top prospect Joey Bart is known for his bat. The No. 2 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft hit 13 home runs in his first 51 minor league games, which is just three behind Evan Longoria's team lead on the big-league club. 

Don't forget about his defense, though.

Bart, the top catching prospect in baseball, also has been named the Giants' top defensive prospect by MLB Pipeline of MLB.com. He has markedly improved since high school, when scouts wondered if he could stay at catcher, enhancing his agility and receiving and improving the accuracy of his strong arm.

The fact that scouts once questioned Bart's future at the position and now his defense is being praised, as it pertains to the Giants' farm system, says a lot. On the 20/80 scouting scale, MLB Pipeline rates Bart's defense as a 55 and his arm as a 60. 

At Georgia Tech, Bart was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2018. He also called pitches, a task that manager Danny Hall didn't even let two-time Gold Glove winner Matt Wieters do when he was a Yellow Jacket. 

In his final college season, Bart had a .992 fielding percentage and threw out 12 of 21 stolen base attempts. After joining the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (Short-Season Class A), Bart's fielding percentage dropped to .983 after he allowed six passed balls and five errors. He did, however, gun down 15 of the 21 runners trying to swipe a bag on him.

Bart's bat most likely always will be ahead of his glove. The fact that he's seen as such a well-rounded prospect, though, is an added bonus to the player the Giants hope can lead them back to the top in the near future.