Giants notes: Jeff Samardzija ready for offseason of 'productive rest'

Giants notes: Jeff Samardzija ready for offseason of 'productive rest'

DENVER — Jeff Samardzija has a home in Scottsdale, which has made it easy to work out at the team’s Arizona facility in past offseasons. But this winter, the most important of Samardzija’s time with the Giants, will be spent in San Francisco. 

Samardzija typically rests early in the offseason to recover from a 200-inning run, but he plans to stay close to AT&T Park once the season ends so he can rehab with members of the big-league staff. Samardzija’s winter will be spent letting the inflammation in his right shoulder calm down and then rebuilding the strength in his shoulder.

“Instead of just resting, the rest needs to be productive rest,” he said. 

Rest is what Samardzija has needed all season. Every doctor who has seen his shoulder has prescribed taking time off — surgery hasn’t been mentioned by any of them — but Samardzija tried to return from the injury three times. On Tuesday his season officially ended. The Giants put Samardzija on the 60-day disabled list to clear a roster spot for Abiatal Avelino. 

Samardzija went 1-5 with a 6.25 ERA and made just 10 starts. Looking back on the brutal season, he said the timing of the initial injury was the most unfortunate part. Because Samardzija’s shoulder first stiffened in spring training, he never had time to let the inflammation die down. He said there is still inflammation in his shoulder and the first part of his offseason will be about getting it completely wiped out. 

To help with that process, Samardzija will continue to see shoulder specialists. He was coy when talking about that process Tuesday, but said he’s seeking more info on how to get rid of this issue and make sure it doesn’t return next spring. 

“It’s to get more of an exact plan of action going forward,” Samardzija said. 

It has been easy to forget about Samardzija in this season’s second half, but the Giants have two more years invested in him and need more stability in their rotation. In his first two seasons in San Francisco, Samardzija pitched 410 innings and was worth more than five WAR. He’s confident he can get back to that form with an offseason spent aggressively attacking the problems that have plagued his shoulder. 

--- The additions of Avelino and Ryder Jones Tuesday brought an end to call-up season. Derek Law was a bit of a surprise omission given his past history, but Bruce Bochy said Law has a high-ankle sprain. 

Jones returned to the big leagues and singled up the middle in his first at-bat back. The Giants hope to give him a few starts at first base this month. 

--- Gorkys Hernandez hit homer No. 15 in a 6-2 loss, tying him with Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria for the team lead. If you had told the Giants last December that they would get 15 homers from Hernandez, they probably would have assumed they would be in the playoff race. Oh well.Seven of Hernandez's homers have come against the Rockies. 

Ex-Giant Kevin Frandsen describes time Bruce Bochy bashed TV with bat

Ex-Giant Kevin Frandsen describes time Bruce Bochy bashed TV with bat

Not all of us remember what it was like to watch Bruce Bochy hitting as an MLB player. His days wielding a baseball bat ended in 1987.

Or did they ... ?

The former Giants manager once lost his cool and took it out on a clubhouse TV, as former Giants infielder Kevin Frandsen explained.

“My locker was right there, right when you walked into the clubhouse, straight on,” Frandsen said in an interview with KNBR. “Bochy walks in … he’s not graceful when he walks, he just kind of lumbers in there and he was pissed. And we knew he was pissed. We were playing bad."

Frandsen spent five total seasons across his nine-year career with the Giants, including 2007-2009 with Bochy at the helm. Frandsen admitted he had "screwed up" a couple of games before, but this tirade didn't appear to be related to that, making him wonder why Bochy was as mad as he was.

"I’m like ‘Man, I’m good, what’s he all pissed about’ -- he’s walking towards me," Frandsen added. "This is not good. He just goes right by me, into my locker and there’s my bat that’s sitting right there, and he looks at it and gives me like a grunt, the old grunt that he does."

“He walks over to the TV and he gives it one whack. It doesn’t go. It pisses him off even more, and he obliterates the next screen. He walked back over (to Frandsen’s locker), said maybe one little thing, puts the bat back in the locker and walks right to his office."

So what was the reason that Bochy was so upset? Golden Tee, the golf arcade game.

Frandsen, now an announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies, admitted that the players were playing the arcade game in the back until 7:00, for a 7:15 game. All TVs were supposed to be off starting around 6:30 - 6:45.

The Giants didn't have a ton of rules, but this rule was one that clearly couldn't be broken, Frandsen added. 

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After the fiasco, they heard Bochy loud and clear.

“Everyone’s sitting there like, ‘Oh yeah, we got the message! Hey, TVs off 6:45 here we go fellas!’ I mean it was frightening. That’s Boch. There you go.”

Do Giants' Buster Posey, Johnny Cueto have two of worst MLB contracts?

Do Giants' Buster Posey, Johnny Cueto have two of worst MLB contracts?

The Giants ended the 2019 MLB season with the 13th-worst record in the league at 77-85, but the fifth-highest payroll at $178.5 million. A large chunk of that went to a pitcher who only appeared in four games this season. 

Johnny Cueto has pitched in just 13 games the past two years after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and also has earned $21 million in each of those seasons. Cueto, 33, will be paid another $21 million by the Giants in 2020, too. 

He isn't the only aging Giant that will earn a large chunk of change next season. Michael Ginnitti of the contract expert website Spotrac lists two Giants in his 10 toughest MLB contracts for 2020. Joining Cueto on the list is catcher Buster Posey. 

For the fifth straight season, Posey, who mainly batted in the middle of the Giants lineup this season, saw his power numbers dip to a staggering career low. The former NL MVP only hit seven home runs this year -- actually up from five in 2018 -- but drove in just 38 runs and had a .368 slugging percentage. 

Posey's 149 total bases also was a career low, and his 89 OPS+ -- OPS adjusted to a player's ballpark -- was 16 points below league average. This was the first time Posey finished a season with an OPS+ below 100, which is league average, and a bWAR (0.9) below 1.0. 

The 11-year veteran who turns 33 in March still is an elite catcher, though. His 14 defensive runs saved ranked third among NL catchers, and he threw out 24 baserunners -- tied for third in the league. The Giants hope a healthy offseason can rejuvenate Posey at the plate, but that's hard to predict. 

Oh, and we haven't even gotten to his contract yet. Posey is due $21.4 million next season, the highest figure on the Giants. With top prospect Joey Bart on the way and Posey possibly at the point of no return as a presence in your lineup, that's a whole lot of money. 

For everything he has done for the Giants throughout his career, Posey has earned what's in his bank account. But producing enough to be worth that $21.4 million figure surely will be a tall task.

Right behind Posey for the most expensive contract on the Giants next season is Cueto. He could be in a different position, though. 

Cueto finally is healthy after years of arm issues, and looked like an ace at the end of the season at times, despite his 5.06 ERA. All nine of the earned runs he allowed this season came in his final two starts against division winners in the Braves and Dodgers. 

Having Cueto on a major league mound this season was a surprise in its own right. He attacked Tommy John rehab and lost over 20 pounds. 

“It’s a long process and what I wanted to do was see how I felt,” Cueto said after his final start of the year. “I wasn’t too worried about the results. I felt great so I’ll take this into the winter as a positive.”

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Cueto is confident and excited for next season to start. If he stays healthy, the Giants still have one of the top arms in baseball in their rotation. 

Simply put, it all comes down to health for Posey and Cueto. The pitcher seems better set up than the hitter, but the Giants are banking on big seasons from both of them. Literally.