Giants' Derek Holland apologizes for insensitive MLB Network appearance

Giants' Derek Holland apologizes for insensitive MLB Network appearance

NEW YORK — Derek Holland has been one of the more popular additions to the Giants' clubhouse in recent years, keeping it light throughout what has turned out to be a rough summer. On Thursday, Holland issued an apology for an attempt at humor that fell flat.

The Giants left-hander had appeared on MLB Network’s "Intentional Talk" one day earlier and brought Haro Ogawa, the team’s massage therapist, as his “hype man.” The appearance was awkward, and a day later, Deadspin ran a story criticizing Holland for making insensitive jokes. Many Giants fans complained about Holland on Twitter as well. 

After Thursday’s 3-1 win over the Mets, Holland asked to speak to reporters about the incident. 

“Obviously that was not our intention. I want to make sure that it’s clear that that’s all on me,” he said. "This is directly on me. Me and Haro were just doing a bit. We didn’t expect it to turn out the way that it did. Obviously it was not meant to be that way. … I apologize for what I’ve done and what I’ve caused. Now it’s become a distraction for the team, and I don’t want that, and I don’t want to have offended anybody, and I apologize for doing that.”

Holland said he spoke to Ogawa, a beloved team employee, and bullpen catcher Taira Uematsu, who also is Japanese. He apologized to both men. 

“We were just doing a bit, but obviously it was too far,” Holland said. “Those were not the intentions. If we’re going to blame anybody, it needs to be me. I want to be held accountable for anything that I’ve done and caused with all of this.

"It’s embarrassing what I did. I was just trying to have some fun. Haro and I entertained trying to take it to a different level and make the interview more exciting, and I obviously crossed the line with that.”

Holland said he had seen the Deadspin article, and while he didn’t agree with the wording -- the headline was “Giants pitcher Derek Holland uses Asian team staffer for stale, racist jokes on MLB Network" -- he understands why people are upset. 

“I understand I’ve offended people, and that's on me,” he said.

A few hours after the game against the Mets wrapped up, the Giants issued the following statement regarding Holland:

"The Giants were disappointed to learn of the Derek Holland’s behavior on Intentional Talk. We do not condone that type of behavior nor does it reflect our organizational values.  Derek has taken full responsibility for his actions and has made a public apology."

Farhan Zaidi expects Giants to be aggressive in promoting top prospects

Farhan Zaidi expects Giants to be aggressive in promoting top prospects

When Baseball America released its latest list of top 100 prospects, the Giants saw three of their young players mentioned within the first 63 names. 

Leading the Giants at No. 19 overall, though, is shortstop Marco Luciano. The young infielder full of power is only 18 years old, but he likely won't make his MLB debut until at least 2020 when he would be 20. 

Behind Luciano is 23-year-old catcher Joey Bart and 20-year-old outfielder Heliot Ramos. Both players are expected to begin the 2020 season in Triple-A Sacramento. It's also reasonable to expect Bart and Ramos to make their way to San Francisco this year. 

"I don't think it's out of the question, and that's one thing that we tried to do this past year," Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi recently said on KNBR. "We had a lot of guys make their debut. We moved guys aggressively through the system.

"I think that not only creates excitement through the fans and people at the major league level, but for the players themselves."

Zaidi also included 6-foot-11 pitcher Sean Hjelle in the conversation with Bart and Ramos. The Giants promoted all three prospects from San Jose to Double-A Richmond last season.

Bart and Hjelle both are non-roster invitees for Giants' big league camp in spring training. 

Zaidi wasn't just referring to top prospects, though. Reliever Tyler Rogers finally was given a chance in the bigs at 28 years old last season and posted a 1.02 ERA in 17 games for the Giants. 

[RELATED: Marco Luciano gives Giants a bright future at shortstop]

"Promoting guys aggressively and rewarding performance, rewarding guys addressing areas of weakness that have been pointed out to them as things that they need to address, that's a real positive," Zaidi said. "I expect us to continue on that path in 2020." 

The Giants are going through a rebuild with hopes of competing as contenders again in the near future. Zaidi is ready for a youth movement in San Francisco, and you should be, too.

Farhan Zaidi reveals how Kevin Gausman, Drew Smyly fit with Giants

Farhan Zaidi reveals how Kevin Gausman, Drew Smyly fit with Giants

The Giants still have former All-Stars Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija in their rotation. There's no hiding from the fact that Madison Bumgarner is gone, though.

When it comes to San Francisco's offseason strategy, however, it was Drew Pomeranz who might have come to mind more than MadBum. 

With young, unproven options behind the two veterans, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has been looking for arms who can help his team at the start of games or out of the bullpen. He found two such pitchers in Kevin Gausman and Drew Smyly. 

"What we're looking for is guys that bring flexibility to the pitching staff. So these are both guys who have been good starters at times in their careers," Zaidi told KNBR's Larry Krueger on Monday. "They've also both pitched in relief and I think both guys have the potential to be impact relievers if they wind up in that role." 

The Giants signed Gausman at the Winter Meetings on a one-year, $9 million contract. Manager Gabe Kapler made it clear Gausman would start off in the rotation, but it was the bullpen where the former top draft pick thrived last season. 

Gausman, who recently turned 29 years old, spent time with the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds last season. He made 16 starts for the Braves and only one as a Red. The veteran right-hander went 3-8 with a 6.37 ERA and 1.49 WHIP over 17 starts. In 14 games as a reliever, he was 0-1 with a 3.10 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. 

Smyly, who missed the 2017 and 2018 seasons with arm injuries, pitched in 25 games last season -- 21 starts, four relief appearances -- between the Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies. He was much better as a starter (5.69 ERA vs. 9.56) and hasn't consistently pitched out of the 'pen since 2013. 

The Giants signed Smyly a one-year, $4 million contract, and he posted a 3.65 ERA in five September starts for Kapler's Phillies last year. The lefty also averaged 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings in Philly. 

"We see both guys starting in the rotation, but just the fact that they can transition from one role to another and impact the team in different ways ... we've obviously got some young starting pitchers -- guys like Tyler Beede and Logan Webb, who may not start the year at the big league level but certainly we see making starts for us," Zaidi told Krueger. 

"Guys that have that kind of flexibility were really appealing to us as we look at different pitching options on the market," he added 

[RELATED: Three Giants prospects make Baseball America's top 100]

While the Giants have a plethora of options in their rotation, they still don't have a closer after Will Smith joined the Atlanta Braves this offseason. Could Gausman be an option? 

Zaidi believes if Gausman ever was thrown into that spot, he could be an "elite" ninth-inning arm. But don't expect that to happen right away.

"I think he could be at some point this year," Zaidi said. "He wants the opportunity to start and have room in the rotation, at least to start the year. And with some of those younger guys, I think we do want to manage their workloads a little bit."

Giants pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Feb. 12. We're exactly three weeks away, where questions will start to turn to answers.