Farhan Zaidi wants Giants top prospect Joey Bart to learn new position

Farhan Zaidi wants Giants top prospect Joey Bart to learn new position

The Giants find themselves in a tough situation when it comes to their future behind the plate. What will they do with Buster Posey and top prospect Joey Bart? 

Posey, 32, doesn't become a free agent until 2022 and still is one of the best defensive catchers in baseball. Bart, 22, has impressed behind the dish and his bat could have him in the bigs in no time. 

Simply placing Posey at first base, where he's played sparingly the past two seasons, doesn't make much sense if his offensive production isn't there. Posey only has six home runs this season and 11 throughout the last two years combined. He has career lows across the board including batting average (.258), on-base percentage (.324) and OPS (.719). 

Meanwhile, Bart has 12 home runs and a .792 OPS in Class A Advanced for the San Jose Giants. While he likely won't be an everyday player in the majors until 2021, the Giants already are rethinking how they view catchers on their roster. 

“More and more nowadays it’s not like, ‘Let’s have a starting catcher and let’s have a backup catcher,’” Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said to The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly. “It’s, ‘Let’s have two catchers where it’s a difficult decision to take one of them out of the lineup. Let’s create an opportunity to get both bats in the lineup when we can.’

“I would not view it as someone’s going to be the starter and someone’s going to be the backup. It’ll be more of a nuanced situation than that.”

Zaidi always has preferred positional flexibility with his roster. If you look at his catchers in the past on the Dodgers, it's clear he wants those that can do more than just get in the squat. He and the rest of the front office are thinking of ways Bart can increase his versatility. 

“As time goes on, we’d like to find another spot where we can put Bart when Buster or the other catcher is back there,” Zaidi said to Baggarly. “It’s always a good idea for a player to have somewhere else they can play to give the manager more options to put them when they’re not catching.”

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Aside from occasionally serving as the team's DH, Bart has only played catcher throughout his minor league career. He never played another position in college at Georgia Tech, either. 

Bart, 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds, moves very well for his size. He also has a rocket of an arm. While he's been impressive as a catcher -- throwing out 19 baserunners this season -- it will be very interesting to see if the Giants begin experimenting with him at first or even third base in the future.

Farhan Zaidi says Giants keeping options open in pursuit of new closer


Farhan Zaidi says Giants keeping options open in pursuit of new closer

The Giants lost an All-Star early in free agency when closer Will Smith signed with his hometown Atlanta Braves last week.

Smith's departure left a clear void in San Francisco's bullpen, as he tied for fifth in MLB with a career-high 31 saves in 2019. Replacing Smith is a clear priority for Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, but he told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on Tuesday that he is in no rush to name a new closer.

"We've got some time to figure that out," Zaidi said on "The TK Show" podcast. "I don't think we need to decide that before Thanksgiving here, but one of the benefits for us of having made some of the trades we made at the deadline is it gave us the opportunity to see some of the younger relievers in our organization. Guys like Tyler Rogers, Jandel Gustave and Sam Coonrod. [These are guys] that could work their way into the picture and work their way into late-inning [situations] in 2020."

Rogers, Gustave and Coonrod were bright spots as rookies last season. None of the trio pitched more than 30 innings, but each showed potential pitching out of the bullpen in August and September. Rogers pitched the fewest innings of the three (17 2/3), but was worth nearly a win above replacement in his appearances, according to Baseball Reference's metrics.

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No matter which of the three emerges, the Giants are going to have a different look in the late innings next season. That could include a free-agent acquisition as well, according to Zaidi.

"Our closer may be in the organization right now," Zaidi continued. "We're going to continue to shop around and see what options are out there, but we at least like the depth that we have in our group of relievers."

Former Giants hitting coach Alonzo Powell takes new job in Japan

Former Giants hitting coach Alonzo Powell takes new job in Japan

SAN FRANCISCO -- As Farhan Zaidi and the rest of the front office started the search for a new manager, the coaching staff was given time to look for new jobs. Hitting coach Alonso Powell ended up across the ocean, but his new job will still be a familiar one. 

Powell will join the staff of the Chunichi Dragons, a Japanese team based in Nagoya. He played for the Dragons for six seasons, hitting .355 in one of them and won three straight batting titles while starring in Nagoya from 1992-97. Powell is reportedly already working with the team:

The Giants had kept quiet about Powell's status, but they are expected to have nearly a completely new staff under Gabe Kapler, who was hired last week. Ron Wotus will return as third base coach, but he was the only holdover to attend Kapler's press conference. 

Bullpen coach Matt Herges has already joined the Arizona Diamondbacks as pitching coach and former bench coach Hensley Meulens has been offered a job by the Marlins. Meulens was also thought to be a candidate for the Mets bench coach job, and he has not officially been announced as a staff member for the Marlins. It's unclear where pitching coach Curt Young, assistant hitting coach Rick Schu, and first base coach Jose Alguacil currently stand.

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Powell, a Bay Area native, came to the Giants after the 2017 season with the task of getting an aging lineup to hit for more power. There were success stories, and Powell was popular within the organization, but he was unable to squeeze much more out of a veteran group. Powell came from Houston and brought some new methods to the Giants, and they're expected to go even further in that direction. The addition of Kapler, along with former Cubs executive Scott Harris, indicates the Giants will dive even deeper into analytics.