Giants' Alex Dickerson having 'first normal offseason' in five years

Giants' Alex Dickerson having 'first normal offseason' in five years

The talent always has been there for Alex Dickerson. It's no surprise he was a third-round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft or that he crushed the ball his first few years in the minor leagues. 

Like many other talented athletes in the past, injuries have been a tough bump in the road for the Giants outfielder. In reality, there have been multiple bumps with some crushing potholes. 

With spring training one month away, though, this is the most healthy Dickerson has been in years. 

"It's good," Dickerson told KNBR's Mark Willard on Tuesday when asked about his health. "Spent a little downtime letting my oblique really heal fully. It was pretty good by the end of the year, but it still definitely had some scar tissue and stuff that I had to work through. For the most part, it was the first normal offseason I've had in probably five years.

"Health's great and feeling good and ready for spring." 

The Giants acquired Dickerson from the San Diego Padres on June 10 last season, and he quickly became one of Farhan Zaidi's best moves in his early tenure as San Francisco's president of baseball operations. Dickerson, 29, made his Giants debut on June 21 and made quite the first impression in an 11-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks by going 3-for-5 with a homer, triple and six RBI. 

Dickerson hit .375 with two dingers and a 1.194 OPS in June and then was even better in July, batting .393 with four homers and a 1.237 OPS in 20 games. 

The Giants looked like they finally found a power-hitting left fielder. Fans were watching a lefty launch balls over the wall for the first time in years. But once again, injuries hampered Dickerson's season. 

"It's been tough, but it's more just been a game of patience," Dickerson said about his history with injuries. "I've always believed in myself, always believed that every injury was something that I was going to come back from. Having two season-long ones right out of the gate in spring training back-to-back years was ... you know, it was devastating." 

More than anything, Dickerson believes his past injuries have helped him understand his body better. He also has seen the vast improvements in the medical world and pointed to the differences between when he had back surgery at 15 years old compared to 10 years later at 25. He's focused on maintaining his health in 2020 and putting his bouts with his body behind him. 

Over 56 games with the Giants last season, Dickerson hit .290 with six homers, 26 RBI and an .880 OPS. He proved his talent when healthy and is excited to see what next season has in store. 

"We're gonna have a younger, hungrier group. Guys are really gonna want to prove themselves, so I think the energy's definitely going to be there," Dickerson said. "Any time you have a staff change, there's gonna be some adjustment period, but I think from staff down to the players we have a lot of guys who are hungry and want to prove something." 

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Dickerson already has met with new manager Gabe Kapler, too. The two had coffee in Orange County, and Dickerson came away with a glowing review of his new skipper. 

"I was impressed," Dickerson said. "He was very well prepared. Had a bunch of interesting question. He seems to have a plan set out for this group of guys." 

As long as he stays healthy, it's safe to say Dickerson will be a big part of Kapler's plans. 

Jeff Samardzija laughs at Yankees trade rumors after Luis Severino injury


Jeff Samardzija laughs at Yankees trade rumors after Luis Severino injury

The MLB regular season doesn't start for another month, and Giants starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija already is dealing with trade rumors.

New York Yankees All-Star pitcher Luis Severino's recent injury history went from bad to the worst-case scenario Tuesday when general manager Brian Cashman announced Severino will undergo Tommy John surgery. After two straight seasons of playing in the Midsummer Classic, Severino only pitched a combined 20 innings between the regular season and playoffs last year. 

Now, the Bronx Bombers will be without their ace for the entire 2020 season. Could the Yankees and Giants be trade partners? Soon after Severino's upcoming surgery was announced, many people took to Twitter suggesting San Francisco's best two starters, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, could be shipped to the Big Apple. 

Samardzija laughed off the idea Wednesday, with a comedic jab at Derek Jeter and the Yankees. 

Samardzija deserves a slow clap for his response, however, it would make plenty of sense for the Yankees to explore a trade with the Giants for the veteran right-hander. New York has its ace in Gerrit Cole and two veterans behind him in Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ. But with James Paxton out multiple months after back surgery and Domingo German on the restricted list, the Yankees are left with young question marks. 

Manager Aaron Boone now might have to lean on Jordan Montgomery and Jonathan Loaisiga at the end of the Yankees' rotation. Chance Adams, and even 20-year-old Deivi Garcia, could become options, too. 

The injury bug took a big bite out of the Yanks last season and already has done so this spring. A proven veteran like Samardzija might be a must for a team with World Series aspirations. But what could they offer the Giants in return? 

Samardzija, 35, will be a free agent after this season. His 3.52 ERA last season was his best since his All-Star campaign in 2014. Baseball America ranks the Yankees' farm system as the 17th best in the game. Garcia and young outfielder Jasson Dominguez are off the table in a trade with the Giants, but outfielder Estevan Florial, along with pitchers Luis Gil, Clarke Schmidt and Albert Abreu all would be intriguing options. 

[RELATED: How Hjelle impressed Zaidi in Giants spring training debut]

Perhaps the Giants would entertain a trade for a young, major league-ready outfielder. Clint Frazier still is only 25 years old but he once again seems to be without a job in New York. In just 69 games last season, Frazier hit 12 homers, 14 doubles and drove in 38 runs for the Yankees. 

Frazier is far from a sure thing in the outfield, but his age and powerful right-handed bat align with what the Giants want right now. While a Samardzija-Frazier swap hasn't been discussed publicly, it could make sense for both sides. 

Samardzija rightfully can laugh off any trade rumors right now in late February. At the same time, Cashman and the rest of the Yankees' front office should have their eyes on the Shark.

Farhan Zaidi loves how Giants' Mauricio Dubon has embraced versatility


Farhan Zaidi loves how Giants' Mauricio Dubon has embraced versatility

Mauricio Dubon had a Giants spring training debut to remember. The 25-year-old went deep on his first swing in San Francisco's Cactus League opener and followed that with an RBI single to center field. 

On defense, however, Dubon bobbled a ball at shortstop and was marked with an error. It just so happened he was set to have his player meeting with manager Gabe Kapler, general manager Scott Harris and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi after the game. Zaidi joked they were going to have to move him off shortstop after the bobble, but it was all in good fun. 

The reality is, Dubon won't be sticking at shortstop. Or second base for that matter. He'll be moved all around the field to keep his bat and athleticism in the lineup.

"He's a confident kid and we saw him do some nice things at shortstop last year," Zaidi said Monday on KNBR's "Murph & Mac Show." "He knows the more spots that he can play, the more options he's gonna give Gabe and the staff and the more at-bats he's gonna get, so he's fully embraced that." 

Dubon played 22 games at second base for the Giants and nine at shortstop after being acquired in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers before the July 31 deadline. There were whispers in the offseason that the Giants could experiment with him in center field, too. 

Late last month, Dubon gave us a glimpse of what that could look like. 

"What you love about Mauricio, even as he saw us bringing in a couple guys that may get playing time at second base for us -- Wilmer Flores and Yolmer Sanchez -- he's really embraced that possibility of moving around," Zaidi said. 

[RELATED: Most nervous moment for four Giants rookies came off field]

Even in the minor leagues, Dubon has yet to move from the infield to the outfield. He strictly has played second and short in the majors, and also has 11 games under his belt at third base in the minor leagues. On Wednesday, the Giants will get their first look at Dubon the outfielder. 

Dubon is scheduled to take Billy Hamilton's place in center field at some point against the Brewers. It might not look perfect at first, but Dubon has the athleticism and work ethic to make this the best situation for both parties. 

Versatility is becoming the new norm in baseball, and Dubon's willingness to wear many hats should be of great benefit to the Giants.