Giants

As Giants say bye to Bruce Bochy, uncertainty surrounds coaching staff

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USATSI

As Giants say bye to Bruce Bochy, uncertainty surrounds coaching staff

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Madison Bumgarner sign outside the Second Street entrance at Oracle Park has been replaced by an even bigger one honoring his longtime manager. On the left field wall, there's a picture of Bochy tipping his cap with a message -- "Thank you Boch!" -- that's popping up all around the ballpark. 

The next two homestands for the Giants largely will be about honoring Bochy, and for good reason. But there are others who are possibly coming to the end of the line, too. 

The Giants on Tuesday let go of eight pro scouts, including a few men who had been with the organization for a long time. Farhan Zaidi is assessing the amateur scouting staff and the front office he inherited, and when the season ends, he will sit down with members of Bochy's staff. 

The coaching staff was all signed through 2019, and with a new manager coming in, it's unclear how many -- if any -- familiar faces will return. That's been a topic of discussion in the clubhouse at points this summer, but Zaidi, who spoke about the scouting changes Tuesday, said he didn't want to dive into coaching staff decisions quite yet. 

"I think it's different when these guys are kind of working through the day-to-day grind of the season," he said. "For a good number of our pro scouts, most of their work was done. The timetable is a little different ... I don't want to get too into that. Obviously, we've got some games left and these guys are still kind of grinding every day. I'm sure I'll sit down with all of them individually and hopefully with all of our players as well."

A new manager traditionally brings in his own people, so this could be a tense time for some longtime Giants, including a few who helped the organization win championships. Third base coach Ron Wotus is in his 32nd year with the organization, first base coach Jose Alguacil is at 13 seasons, and bench coach Hensley Meulens is finishing his 10th. Pitching coach Curt Young and hitting coach Alonzo Powell both are relatively new, having come on last season. Matt Herges, the bullpen coach, and Rick Schu, the assistant hitting coach, are also at two seasons. Shawon Dunston, who handles video reviews, is in his 11th season. 

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While most of the attention in October will be paid to the manager search, Zaidi has another key hire to make. He was brought on so late last offseason that he didn't have a chance to hire a general manager, but he said he will again put a list together and expects to hold interviews. There is no guarantee that the Giants actually will hire a GM. The Dodgers never replaced Zaidi when he left that role. 

"Whether we wind up hiring someone or not will just be a question of whether we find the right person," he said. 

Could Madison Bumgarner's bad road stats hurt him in MLB free agency?

Could Madison Bumgarner's bad road stats hurt him in MLB free agency?

Madison Bumgarner is entering free agency at a curious time in his career. The longtime Giants ace has built a legendary reputation, but plenty of question marks also surround the 30-year-old.

Bumgarner proved he's still a workhorse after missing time the previous two seasons with freak injuries. His 34 starts were tied for the MLB lead, and his 207 2/3 innings pitched ranked second in the NL.

But while looking at Bumgarner's stats from this past season, one thing stands out that could hurt him in free agency and actually help the Giants if they want to bring back the left-hander.

MadBum's home-road splits were staggering in 2019. He was a completely different pitcher in front of the home crowd at Oracle Park, compared to pitching away from San Francisco.

Here are Bumgarner's home stats this past season, compared to when he pitched on the road.

Home: 19 GS, 6-2, 2.93 ERA, 122 2/3 IP, 40 ER, 15 HR, 120 SO, 21 BB, 0.93 WHIP, 5.71 SO/W
Away: 15 GS, 3-7, 5.29 ERA, 85 IP, 50 ER, 15 HR, 83 SO, 22 BB, 1.41 WHIP, 3.77 SO/W

Oracle Park is known as a pitcher's dream. In fact, the Giants' home park was the least favorable for offenses this season by Park Factors, per ESPN. The 11-year veteran used that his advantage, but that luxury didn't follow him on the road.

Bumgarner allowed the same amount of homers in four fewer road games as he did at home. He also walked one more batter and allowed five more hits -- 98 on the road, compared to 93 at home. For someone with a lot of mileage on his arm and his fastball declining in velocity, that's certainly alarming.

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As a pitcher who's never tested the open market and has spent his entire career in a pitcher's paradise, these numbers will be looked at closely by front offices around the league this offseason.

Bumgarner figures to join Gerrit Cole, among others, as the most coveted starting pitchers in free agency. So, while his road numbers could help the Giants in keeping him in San Francisco, they also could prevent the veteran from signing the hefty contract he likely desires.

Alex Dickerson's bright future with Giants clouded by injury concerns

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Alex Dickerson's bright future with Giants clouded by injury concerns

SAN FRANCISCO -- Once he hires a manager and general manager, Farhan Zaidi will turn to the heavy lifting. The main goal this offseason is to make the Giants lineup more competitive, particularly at home. It would be a lot easier to do that if the Giants knew exactly what they could count on from a midseason acquisition. 

Alex Dickerson changed the course of the season when he joined the Giants at Chase Field in late June against the Diamondbacks, bringing left-handed thunder to the lineup and life to the dugout as a struggling team briefly put it all together with a memorable July run. But Dickerson's season ended up going a familiar route.

He was available to Zaidi only because he had been unable to stay available for the Padres, and an oblique injury wrecked Dickerson's second half. 

That didn't leave a bad taste in his mouth, though. As Dickerson stood in front of his locker the final week of the season, he pointed out that he didn't play an inning in the big leagues the previous two seasons. 

"I just wanted to get out and compete again, and I knew there were going to be ups and downs," he said. 

The highs were game-changers for the Giants. Dickerson drove in six runs in his Giants debut and didn't slow down until he was forced to the Injured List the first week of August. In 30 games over that stretch, he hit .386 with six homers, 10 doubles, 23 RBI and a 1.222 OPS. The Giants went 20-10 when he was in the lineup. 

That's certainly not sustainable, but nothing about what Dickerson was doing looked particularly flukey, either. He has always flashed power and he showed good plate discipline and a short swing that first month. 

The oblique injury put a halt to all that, and when Dickerson returned, it was touch-and-go the rest of the way. He never felt quite comfortable, hitting .164 with three extra-base hits over his final 67 at-bats, which were scattered because he was able to start only 14 times the final six weeks. 

Looking back, Dickerson feels he returned earlier than he should have, but he has no regrets because the Giants were trying to stay in the race. He said his swing got out of whack and he was never able to find it again because he didn't go through a normal rehab process. 

There were positives, though. Dickerson's surgically-repaired back and elbow were not an issue, and he plans to be aggressive in attacking the oblique pain this offseason. Dickerson said he will do additional research and talk to as many experts as he can in an attempt to increase his core mobility and make sure the oblique pain does not return. For the first time in a long time, he's not rehabbing going into the offseason. That's a comforting feeling. 

"It'll just be a normal offseason and building up and getting in shape to hopefully play a full season next year," he said. 

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Given Dickerson's history -- he has never played more than 84 games -- the Giants can't count on a full year. But they're hopeful that Dickerson, who is arbitration-eligible and a lock to return, can be part of the solution. They can manage his health as long as that bat is still helping win games. 

"With the impact potential he showed, he's going to play as much as his body will allow," Zaidi said.