Giants

Giants, Mike Yastrzemski shut out from MLB, Rookie of the Year awards

Giants, Mike Yastrzemski shut out from MLB, Rookie of the Year awards

SAN FRANCISCO -- It'll be another extremely quiet awards season for the Giants. 

MLB announced finalists for all the major honors on Monday afternoon and Mike Yastrzemski, the only Giant with a shot at being included, was not part of the field for National League Rookie of the Year. The three finalists are New York's Pete Alonso (who should be a runaway winner), Atlanta's Mike Soroka and San Diego's Fernando Tatis Jr. 

The Giants did not have a single player receive votes for any of the four major awards the two previous seasons, either, but this time there's a difference. They did not even have a player get nominated for a Gold Glove, while Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey were at least finalists in 2018. Crawford won the Gold Glove in 2017, another down year for the franchise as a whole. 

Yastrzemski was one of the few bright spots in 2019, posting a .272/.334/.518 slash line with 21 homers in 107 games. But it was a strong year for the NL's rookies, and he finished tied for eighth among rookie hitters in WAR (2.2), per FanGraphs. Alonso hit 53 homers and drove in 120 runs for the Mets and Tatis Jr. had 22 homers and hit .317, posting 3.6 WAR in just 84 games. Soroka had a 2.68 ERA in 29 starts for the NL East champion Braves. 

[RELATED: What Giants giving qualifying offers to MadBum, Smith mean]

The league announced all the finalists on Monday. Craig Counsell, Mike Shildt and Brian Snitker are up for NL Manager of the Year. Jacob deGrom, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Max Scherzer are the finalists for Cy Young. Cody Bellinger, Christian Yelich and Anthony Rendon are the final three for MVP. 

Ex-Giants manager Dusty Baker reveals his challenge when MLB returns

Ex-Giants manager Dusty Baker reveals his challenge when MLB returns

Dusty Baker has been a part of professional baseball since 1967, and if and when the sport returns in 2020, he will have to kick a few habits he's probably been doing since he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves.

All players, managers and coaches will have to stop spitting, among other things.

In the name of health and safety during the age of the coronavirus pandemic, MLB sent a 67-page document to teams outlining what the players can no longer do.

For Baker, the former Giants manager and current Houston Astros skipper, he isn't sure how he's going to stop spitting.

“Now the biggest challenge is gonna be what my mom has been chastising me about my whole life — spitting,” Baker told The Athletic's Jayson Stark and Doug Glanville. “I am not kidding you. That’s the first thing my wife asked me. She goes, ‘How you gonna stop spitting?’ I don’t know.

“And my mom, I swear — she has been getting on me since I was 10 years old about spitting. Know what I mean? And I used to practice spitting. I’m the most accurate spitter in the world.”

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

If you've seen Baker anywhere near a baseball diamond, he always has a toothpick sticking out of his mouth. Those little pieces of wood have become synonymous with the 70-year-old.

Baker told Stark and Glanville that there was a time in his career where he called a toothpick company trying to get an endorsement. Yes, a toothpick endorsement.

“So they wrote me back,” Baker said. “Nice letter. And they said, ‘Thank you, Dusty. It’s a great idea. But we don’t need you to sell toothpicks.' ”

Only Dusty could try to get a toothpick endorsement.

[RELATED: Zac Efron's epic Dusty autograph story]

Whenever baseball returns, Baker will manage an Astros team coming off a turbulent offseason in which they were severely punished for a sign-stealing scandal. Former manager AJ Hinch was fired for his role, opening the door for Baker get the chance to lead his fifth MLB team to the playoffs.

If Baker gets back to the playoffs, he'll have to do it without his trusty toothpicks.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Why Giants' Hunter Pence feels such 'deep connection' to organization

Why Giants' Hunter Pence feels such 'deep connection' to organization

Hunter Pence was part of two World Series-winning teams with the Giants in 2012 and 2014. He rejoined San Francisco's roster in February after an impressive comeback season in 2019 that included All-Star honors with the Texas Rangers.

The 37-year-old outfielder joined 95.7 The Game on Friday and explained why he decided to return to San Francisco.

“Obviously I feel a deep connection with the Giants organization,” Pence said. “The city, and these years, you never know which one is gonna be your last. I think everyone thought two years ago was my last year, and I’ve been fortunate that I made some adjustments.

“I want to be a part of passing on a lot of the things that I’ve learned to the young people, and I wanna come and transition back into the winning ways.”

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Pence also noted that he’s appreciated getting a chance to work with the organization’s new leadership.

“It’s been really exciting to learn from Farhan, and the new metrics and I learned a lot of that with the Rangers. So I’m excited to share. I wanna pass all that on, I feel right at home, I’m in love with the city and the organization, and in love with everything with the Giants. It feels like home, it feels like family and it means a lot to be a Giant.”

Pence hopefully will be able to once again take the field in a Giants uniform soon.

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]