Giants

Farhan Zaidi addresses Gabe Kapler controversy after hiring as Giants manager

Farhan Zaidi addresses Gabe Kapler controversy after hiring as Giants manager

SAN FRANCISCO -- In his first year as the Giants' president of baseball operations, Farhan Zaidi tried to learn everything he could about his new front office, his big league roster, and the layers of minor leaguers who will try and form a better future. He also spent plenty of time with his finger on the pulse of the fan base.

Zaidi was well aware of what the public perception would be Tuesday night when the Giants announced Gabe Kapler as their new manager, and he addressed two issues right off the bat on a conference call with reporters.

In his introductory remarks, before he took questions, Zaidi spoke of Kapler's time in Philadelphia and also the mishandling of assault allegations against Dodgers minor leaguers when Kapler was their director of player development.

The latter issue has been the most concerning to fans, and members of the Giants organization had their doubts, too. Over the last week, the Giants spoke to experts from outside the organization to get a better handle on the issue, and it was being discussed internally as late as Monday night.

"Obviously there's been stuff written over the last couple of weeks over the incident in Los Angeles," Zaidi said. "To be honest, it's given me a chance to reflect on those incidents and how we handled them as [a Dodgers] organization. We've had the opportunity to talk to people in the community and talk to experts to try and learn and understand what we did and what we did wrong.

"As I've had time to reflect on it, I've realized the biggest mistake we made was asking the wrong questions. In those situations, we asked, 'What do we have to do?' instead of, 'What is the right thing to do?' I can only speak for myself -- I'm truly sorry that from my perspective I didn't ask the right questions and address things appropriately. I view it as a learning experience, and it's something I want to take into the future in the organization and hold us to that highest standard."

Zaidi also spoke about Kapler's tenure in Philadelphia, where he went 161-163 in two seasons and was fired last month. He said he spoke to Phillies players and members of the front office, and noted that he got unsolicited texts and phone calls from people who had worked with Kapler in Philadelphia.

"Their feedback was overwhelmingly positive," Zaidi said.

Zaidi and the Giants officially will introduce Kapler on Wednesday at Oracle Park, and the new manager will have time to give his own explanations. Zaidi, in explaining his decision, repeatedly said Tuesday night that Kapler was the right choice for the job and someone Giants fans would be excited about in the dugout.

"I'm really optimistic that as they get to know him, they'll get to know the person that I got to know in L.A., and feel is just a really high-caliber person and is going to do an outstanding job for us," Zaidi said.

More on Kapler from NBC Sports Philadelphia

Leadership issues led to Kapler's firing by Phillies 
Kapler's reactions on final day of Phillies season
Bryce Harper's thoughts on Kapler's future
Kapler, Velasquez have miscommunication

Giants, Madison Bumgarner's camp talking with Dodgers rumor swirling

Giants, Madison Bumgarner's camp talking with Dodgers rumor swirling

SAN FRANCISCO -- Sure they're the ones talking to agents in suites, discussing blockbuster trades, and spending millions on players, but at points of the MLB Winter Meetings, Giants executives are just like their fans. 

That was the case Tuesday night, when Gerrit Cole reportedly agreed a record contract and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic immediately reported that the Dodgers, a finalist for Cole, would turn their attention to Madison Bumgarner. Rosenthal's tweet instantly caught the attention of officials in the team's suite and some who were wandering the lobby. Those who had already left for dinner discussed the news after ordering their wine. 

The report startled the fan base. It did not shake the front office. You won't find many people who work for the team who are confident that Bumgarner will be pitching in San Francisco next season, but the Giants also do not believe he'll actually end up with the Dodgers. 

"A smart negotiation tactic," one source said, smiling. 

The Dodgers reportedly bid about $300 million on Cole and were in on Anthony Rendon, who reportedly got $245 million from the Angels, but they don't have a recent history of spending big on free agents. Cole and Rendon were special cases because they were at the very top of their respective markets. 

Bumgarner, per sources familiar with his thinking, is seeking a deal in excess of $100 million. It's unknown just how high the Giants would go and they're not thought to be at the forefront of discussions, but president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi met with Bumgarner's agents on Tuesday and said Wednesday night that the Giants are still engaged with Bumgarner's camp. 

Most in the organization are still preparing for Bumgarner's departure, and it's unlikely that the latest rumors will change that thinking. Zaidi isn't one to be bullied into a move by the possibility of a popular player signing with a rival. This will be a baseball decision for the Giants.

[RELATED: Why Giants hired 'player developments' coaches]

"We are kind of going through the process with all free agents based on where we are as an organization, what our direction is going to be, and there's a lot of rumors and a lot of innuendo and a lot of noise," Zaidi said Wednesday night when the latest rumor was brought up. "We just have to go based on what we know and the conversations that we're having."

MLB rumors: Giants bringing in Oracle Park fences, but only slightly

MLB rumors: Giants bringing in Oracle Park fences, but only slightly

The Giants promised there would be changes to the dimensions of Oracle Park, and they evidently have lived up to their word.

The fences are coming in -- but not by a ton.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Hank Schulman, San Francisco reportedly has marginally shortened the distance to all fields.

What about Triples Alley, you ask? Surely there must be more drastic changes to that area of Oracle Park, right?

Not really.

Six feet doesn't sound like a lot, but then again, Brandon Belt might have doubled his home-run total from last season under those dimensions. The Giants are removing the bullpen mounds from the first and third-base sidelines, and they are expected to be relocated to the extra space now created in the outfield.

[RELATED: Giants announce eight additions to Kapler's coaching staff]

So, it appears Oracle Park generally will maintain the same character, but likely will allow for more offense. Given the trouble the Giants have had in attracting free-agent hitters, perhaps the shortened dimensions will somewhat detract from its identity as a pitcher's haven.