Farhan Zaidi explains why Giants let Hunter Strickland, Gorkys Hernandez go

Farhan Zaidi explains why Giants let Hunter Strickland, Gorkys Hernandez go

LAS VEGAS — On the first day of the MLB Winter Meetings two years ago, the Giants handed Mark Melancon a deal that was at the time a record contract for a reliever, which they believed would shore up the weakest group on the roster.

On Monday, new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said he released the organization's 2018 Opening Day closer in part because he believes the Giants now have relief depth.

The Giants non-tendered Hunter Strickland late last month, and in his first media session since that move, Zaidi said he believed he could make it because the bullpen is “a particularly deep area and an area of strength for the team.”

Zaidi noted the left-handed depth he has in Will Smith and Tony Watson, but it’s the right-handed relievers — particularly two rookies — who really made the move possible. 

“Having (Reyes) Moronta and Ray Black -- who we are very high on going forward -- and (Sam) Dyson, who had a nice year for us, and some of the guys behind them, we just felt like that was an area of surplus for us,” Zaidi said. “We had some conversations with teams that were potentially interested from a trade standpoint on Strickland but we didn’t wind up finding a fit.

“We ultimately felt that having roster flexibility — some of those guys having options — to retain our optionable depth and still create another spot in the bullpen was the best way forward.”

Despite the occasional emotional moments, Strickland generally was a strong contributor to the Giants' bullpen, and some in the organization were surprised he was let go, given the fact he was due only about $2.5 million next season. A source who has spoken to Strickland said the pitcher initially was shocked, but he's now excited for the next step in his career and ready for a bounce-back year. 

If Strickland does put a rough 2018 behind him, it will be in another uniform, but Zaidi hasn’t closed the door on a reunion with Gorkys Hernandez, the other player non-tendered. He said he wouldn’t rule out Hernandez coming back, although it’s seen as unlikely, given the other players the Giants are considering. They added one backup center field option Monday.

Zaidi said he wanted to retain flexibility in the outfield, and Hernandez was hurt by the fact that he is out of options. Steven Duggar, Austin Slater, Chris Shaw and Monday pick-up Mike Gerber all have minor league options remaining. Despite what was viewed as a breakout season, Hernandez also fell far short in a stat the Giants are looking to bolster.

“One area that we want to look at is improving the offense from a plate discipline standpoint, even something as basic as the walk-strikeout ratio of the guys on the team,” Zaidi said. 

Hernandez had a .285 on-base percentage last season, and it was just .220 after the All-Star break. The Giants ranked second to last in the NL in OBP last season, and the outfield is one of the few areas where they can make real lineup changes.

Giants' Mike Krukow, Duane Kuiper tell hilarious Will Clark sushi story

Giants' Mike Krukow, Duane Kuiper tell hilarious Will Clark sushi story

Not everyone has a taste for sushi, especially Will Clark.

The Giants legend is the guy who simply orders a steak at dinner -- he’s simple and to the point.

Giants broadcasters Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper told a funny story in a recent interview with Giants reporter Amy Gutierrez from a night out at dinner with "The Thrill."

Clark glanced at the menu at the sushi restaurant and was nice about it of course, but it wasn’t his cup of tea. Where Clark is from in Louisiana, they refer to that type of food as “bait.”

That's fair. 

The Giants announced they will retire Clark’s No. 22 jersey this season -- and rightfully so.

His sweet swing and swagger made him one of the organization’s most well-known players to ever wear orange and black.

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Clark is a six-time All-Star selection, a Gold Glove Award winner and two-time Silver Slugger Award recipient across his 15-year career, eight of them with the Giants.

A great career, just perhaps no salmon for him in the future? 

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Why Giants' Alex Dickerson finally can play MLB The Show once again

Why Giants' Alex Dickerson finally can play MLB The Show once again

While baseball continues to be on hiatus amid the coronavirus pandemic and MLB comes up with wild, "Looney Tunes" hypotheticals to start the season, players all across the majors are testing out their thumbs. 

This might be the most professional baseball players ever have played the video game, MLB The Show. Giants outfielder Alex Dickerson is among the many players getting on the sticks in the latest iteration, MLB The Show 20. 

"That's always kind of been my go-to ever since I was a kid," Dickerson said Wednesday on KNBR's "Murph & Mac Show."

This is an odd time for Dickerson for many reasons. Somehow his video game habits have even gone haywire. 

Yes, he always has been a big fan of gaming. But, he usually has to stay away from MLB The Show. 

"The one of thing I've always avoided is MLB The Show, because the game has gotten too realistic, that if I play it in-season and I'm struggling to pick up curveball down or something, I go home and just re-live the experience of not being able to pick it up," Dickerson said. "So that just frustrates me." 

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That's a totally understandable reason to stay away from the game. Luckily for Dickerson, he put up video game-like numbers in late June and July last season after joining the Giants in a trade from the San Diego Padres.

From June 21 through July 30, Dickerson hit .386 with six homers and a 1.222 OPS over 19 games. With baseball on break, he's back to playing the game and certainly could be once again in the future if he has another hot streak like last season. 

"I've actually been playing it because I miss baseball so much," Dickerson said. "But yeah, I tend to cut that game out as soon as I'm actually playing."

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Players aren't the only ones firing the game up, too. Even Giants manager Gabe Kapler is finding ways to learn through MLB The Show. Dickerson isn't surprised, either.

"I can definitely see how he can use it to his advantage," Dickerson said.