Giants

Giants' Mike Yastrzemski, family ready for emotional series at Fenway

Giants' Mike Yastrzemski, family ready for emotional series at Fenway

As he prepared to board a flight back to Boston, Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski said he wasn't sure how many family members and friends would be in the seats at Fenway Park on Tuesday night. All he knew was that it would be measured by the dozens. 

"I'm not leaving tickets for them," he said, smiling. 

The Giants' star rookie won't have to. In Boston, his last name opens doors, and Red Sox fans have been waiting for this day just as Yastrzemski has. There were so many media requests for Yastrzemski that the Giants will hold a press conference at Fenway Park on Tuesday, when his famous grandfather is expected to be at the park. 

Carl Yastrzemski, Mike's Hall of Fame grandfather, told The Boston Globe that he plans to visit with Mike on Tuesday but won't stay for the game. He'll be in a suite for Wednesday's game, soaking in an amazing moment for a family that's baseball royalty in New England.  

"It will be the first time since 1983 that the name 'Yastrzemski' will be announced," Carl Yastrzemski told The Boston Globe. "It's definitely going to be emotional. To see him come into Fenway Park where I played for 23 years, to have his name announced, that will be a great thrill for me."

Carl played all 23 seasons of his Hall of Fame career in Boston, totaling 3,419 hits and 452 homers while making 18 All-Star appearances. He was the 1967 American League MVP and won seven Gold Glove Awards. In 1989, he was elected to the Hall of Fame. 

His grandson had to wait until he was 28 to break through, but Mike has been a revelation as a rookie. He has a .833 OPS and needs just one homer to reach 20, and he should get plenty of chances this week. Manager Bruce Bochy said Mike will start all three games at Fenway Park, where his grandfather played nearly 3,000 games. 

"It's going to be pretty emotional," Mike said on Sunday. "I'll try and contain those things and try and make it feel like it's just a regular game."

[RELATED: MadBum in line to start Bochy's last game, as it should be]

Mike said he hasn't been to Fenway Park since taking part in a workout there when he was in college. While his grandfather has seen him play in spring training games, he has not yet watched him in person in the big leagues. Carl told The Boston Globe that he's been losing a lot of sleep while staying up late to watch Mike's games on the West Coast. They talk every couple of weeks, but it's not necessarily about giving hitting advice. 

"I don't like to talk to him about hitting or anything else, because you see a game on TV and you can't tell too much," Carl said. "On TV, you don't look for little things, you just want to enjoy the game, but it's hard to enjoy it because you're so keyed up watching him. You want him to do well."

Farhan Zaidi explains Giants' mindset going into 2019 MLB free agency

Farhan Zaidi explains Giants' mindset going into 2019 MLB free agency

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has a history when it comes to MLB free agency: He isn't one for giant contracts. 

Go back to his time as the Dodgers' general manager and Zaidi wasn't even sniffing a $100 million contract. Entering his second season running the Giants front office, and with a general manager in place, what is his mindset this go around in free agency? 

"We certainly have financial flexibility," Zaidi told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on the "TK Show." "We've made some moves to ensure that. There's different ways to spend that money. We can take on contracts from other teams with some young talent attached to it, which I think probably fits the mold of where we are. We can be active in the free agent market to the extent that there are matches that make sense to us." 

Those comments don't place a ton of confidence in the Giants pursuing a top free agent like pitcher Gerrit Cole or third baseman Anthony Rendon. San Francisco's top needs this offseason are shoring up the bullpen, adding a powerful outfielder and finding platoon bats around the infield. It sounds like those will come in short-term contracts. 

Having financial flexibility certainly doesn't mean open pockets that extend to the floor. Zaidi noted that the Giants have flexibility going into the 2020 season, but he has to look much further down the line. 

Prior to Zaidi's arrival in San Francisco, the Giants locked up declining players like Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt to long-term contracts. That certainly is beginning to backfire. 

"We need to be careful given our recent history about creating too many long-term commitments that can get us back in the jam that we very recently put ourselves in," Zaidi explained. 

[RELATED: Zaidi says Giants keeping options open in new closer chase]

Then again, these quotes are from the same guy who offered Bryce Harper a 12-year, $310 million contract last offseason. Was that a one-time thing?

Maybe, maybe not.

"I think that demonstrates if things line up and make sense from a baseball standpoint and an organizational standpoint, that we'll have organizational support to do it," Zaidi said. 

It's clear Zaidi knows the Giants still are in a rebuilding phase with a farm system on the rise. They found talent last year and will continue to do so this year, just don't expect them to break the bank.

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

zaidiap.jpg
AP

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.

[RELATED: Former Giants hitting coach Powell takes job in Japan]

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."