Giants

Giants season in review: Triples Alley hosts hand out superlatives

Giants season in review: Triples Alley hosts hand out superlatives

Editors note: The last episode of "Triples Alley" for the 2019 season will air Sunday, Sept. 29 following the Giants' season finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Catch Therese, Cole and Carmen on NBC Sports Bay Area after Giants Postgame Live.

The sun will set on the 2019 season for the Giants on Sunday, and it will mark the end of Bruce Bochy's tenure as manager.

While the Giants missed the MLB playoffs for the third straight season, they finished with a better record than they had last year.

Triples Alley hosts Therese Vinal, Carmen Kiew and Cole Kuiper looked back on the 2019 season and have handed out their Superlatives to the most deserving players.

Here's how it played out:

Best Newcomer

Carmen: I’m going to go with the obvious choice, Mike Yastrzemski. Not only does he have the heritage (hey, does everyone here know that Carl Yastrzemski is his grandfather? Not sure if that’s been mentioned enough) but he also just plays with a calm and cool demeanor that I like. He acts like he’s been in the big leagues all his life. Not to mention, the guy can hit more than 20 home runs in a season. We need those. Desperately. What a find. Good job, Farhan. 

Therese: I’ll match your 20 home runs with another player who was in the 20-homer Club this season. I’m going with the clubhouse choice, this year’s Willie Mac Award winner: Kevin Pillar. Since joining the team this season, he played in over 154 games which is insane to think about considering how many times he has crashed into walls and sacrificed his body for so many defensive plays. He leads the team in RBI, runs, and stolen bases. His work ethic is contagious.

Even Best Newcomer candidate Mike Yastrzemski said: “That's a guy everyone in this locker room should aspire to be like.”

Cole: How quickly we all forgot about July. That magical month where, for the brief blink of an eye, it looked like the Giants were contenders. And all that excitement, inarguably the most excitement of the season, was on the back of one man: Alex Dickerson. When Dickerson was on, boy was he ON. The entire dugout looked like a different group of guys.

Unfortunately, health issues kept him from sustaining that excitement. But the team turned a gruesome season around, even if temporarily, due to one dude. So he gets my vote. Simply for the gift of one very happy month.

Biggest Giant Killer

Cole: I know you both are going to go with offensive picks and I don’t blame you. When you think “Giant-killer” you think guys like Troy Tulowitzki who always have that clutch hit to devastate the team. But there are a few pitchers who have ownage, too! Jack Flaherty of the Cards faced the Giants twice this season, and was lights out both times. Had a good look at no-hitting our boys TWICE, taking goose eggs to late innings both times.

Flaherty's had an incredible year against the entire league but with just three hits given up to the Giants over 15 innings this season, plus a hit of his own on offense, he is definitely my 2019 Giant-killer. Wouldn’t mind seeing him shipped off to the AL eventually, because he could be an issue for years to come.

Carmen: This season, the unassuming Wilmer Flores has my vote. The guy with the gentle face and who uses the ‘Friends’ theme song as his walk-up music has racked up an impressive stat line against the Giants this season. In eight games and 11 at-bats, Flores has an impressive .583/.615/1.083 slash line. Oh, did I mention he has three home runs too? The biggest foes are always the ones you can’t spot right away and Wilmer fits the bill. 

Therese: I’m going with an oldie, but a goodie - wait, he’s not good for the Giants but you know what I mean. I’m picking Paul Goldschmidt. Doesn’t matter what team he is on or how his season is going, he always surges when facing the Giants. Even this season with the Cardinals, he still was living up to his nickname as the Giant Killer.

In seven games against the Giants this season, Goldschmidt hit .391, had a 1.343 OPS, and a slugging of .826 which included two doubles, a triple, two home runs, and 12 RBI. Yikes. Once a Giants Killer, always a Giants Killer.

Best Comeback Story

Therese: There wasn’t a player the fans were more excited to see back in a Giants uniform this season than Johnny Cueto. For a year after his Tommy John surgery, we hung on to any and all hopes of any status reports. Through his Instagram account, we were all able to see the work he was putting in as well as his horse riding and “fishing.” The man worked hard during his rehab -- even trimmed down 20 pounds!

When he finally made his 2019 debut with the Giants on September 10 at Oracle Park, he received a loud ovation. Fans and myself could not be more happy to have the Shimmy back at Oracle Park. 

Cole: We’ve had a sneaky comeback story right under our noses this season, but haven’t really noticed. He’s not coming off as huge of an injury as some of the other guys, but Jeff Samardzija re-invented himself and rolled STRONG. 2018 was a rough year for Mr. Shark, both on the mound and on-and-off the IL, but he was Ol’ Reliable for the Giants in 2019. Especially in the second half of the season, Samardzija has had his strongest stretch in a Giants uniform.

I guess the “story” element of “comeback story” isn’t as strong as some of the other guys we’ve talked about on the show this season, but I still feel like he deserves a shout-out for this category.

Carmen: What if I veered off the beaten path and picked #GoodGiant, former Giant, and resident fun-loving weirdo, Hunter Pence? Not only is he ACTUALLY nominated for the Comeback Player of the Year award by MLB, his 2019 resurrection is truly inspiring. Before scooting into the sunset last season, everyone’s assumption was that Hunter would retire. Instead, he completely rehauled his swing, took himself to the Dominican Republic to play winter ball, and signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers going into Spring Training.

Pence won himself a spot on the big league roster and raked, forcing himself into an everyday role. Not only that, the guy won a starting spot in the All-Star Game. While he’s been on the injured list for the last few weeks, he’s still rocking an impressive .297 batting average and has 18 home runs. He even has six stolen bases. I’d say that’s a pretty great comeback story, don’t ya think?

Player You'd Most Like To Get A Beer With

Cole: This question was a no-brainer to me. Ever since putting on the Giants uniform, Stephen Vogt has become a big part of the soul of this team. From his trademark referee “T” celebration, adopted by the rest of the team when they get an extra-base-hit, to his ear-to-ear smile in the dugout, he has been a joy to watch. But the main reason I’d like to sit down for a brew with Vogt is because he seems like such a fan!

Growing up in Visalia, Vogt was towards the southern end of the Giants’ territory, but bled orange and black nonetheless. He has spoken in interviews about being awestruck at catching Madison Bumgarner, or being shocked to share the same position as Buster Posey. And those are the kind of stories I’d want to talk about if I got a chance to bro-out with a player.

Therese: I know it’s supposed to be a player, but if I am going to have a beer with anyone on the team it would have to be Bruce Bochy. I can see it now: me and Boch, having a beer while playing golf in Pebble Beach, sharing jokes and stories, and capping it off with a bottle of wine -- maybe if we are lucky, good friend Rich Aurilia could join and bring a bottle of his Red Stitch wine… Plus it would be epic if Bochy would turn to me during the round and say: “You need a beer, grab a beer.”

Carmen: To absolutely nobody’s surprise, I will be selecting Brandon Belt for this coveted superlative. First of all, I can be pretty sure he would be down to order some fried food (or at least pit stop at Olive Garden). Second of all, he seems like just a generally cool dude to potentially kick around some weird conspiracy theories (I’m assuming he’s into these or he wouldn’t have built a custom bunker for hiding in his new home) or just making dumb jokes about nothing (this seems like a strong suit for Belt).

Lastly, I’m pretty sure he would be down to go to a dive bar so I could school him in foosball.

Most Likely To Star In A Head & Shoulders Commercial

Carmen: It’s allllll about the flow, baby. That’s why D-Rod is my guy. I think everyone else has great hair, but when it comes down to clean, voluminous locks, Rodriguez takes the cake.

Cole: Wait, can we pick the same person twice? Too bad. It’s happening. This is a goofy category, so I’m going with a goofy guy. There are plenty of “long-hair” choices on the Giants roster this season. But Shark has that smile that I could see on TV. Confident, unique, always laughing. Maybe it’s him, maybe it’s Maybelline. Wait, that’s the wrong brand.

Therese: This has to go to the OG of luscious locks: Brandon Crawford. He is known for his Gold Glove defense and his hair. It is Soul Glo quality hair folks. (That’s a reference to Coming to America which is a classic Eddie Murphy movie... in case I lost any of you young kiddos out there.)

[RELATED: Triples Alley hosts debate Oracle dimensions]

Best New Oracle Park Food

Cole: Right behind home plate on the main promenade level, Oracle Park’s new lumpia spot is incredible. Definitely not something that comes to mind when you picture “ballpark food,” but let’s be honest, it’s fried finger-food. It’s perfect for sitting square in your seat, watching the game. Delicious Filipino grub at a very reasonable price - you gotta check it out. Plus, the Lumpia Company was co-founded by E-40. So just tell me when to go.

Carmen: Shoutout to the ever delicious Super Duper. Yes, the burgers, fries, and shakes are delicious. But mostly, I am very encouraged by the pricing. You can get a full box of fries for $5!! FIVE DOLLARS! I think it’s one of the more affordable meals in the ballpark and it’s still satisfying and falls squarely in the “ballpark” food category. Super Duper definitely has my vote. 

Therese: I hate to sound so San Francisco with this choice, but it has to be the Poke Nachos. Da Poke Man is doing it right! We are talking FRESH ahi tuna drizzled in spicy sauce served over tortilla chips. What other sporting venues could you get something so fresh and delicious? Don’t get me wrong, I love to indulge in the traditional ballpark food, but the Da Poke Man is serving up delicious food I can eat at Oracle Park and feel good about my choices after.

MLB rumors: Cardinals 'entering the fray' to pursue Madison Bumgarner

MLB rumors: Cardinals 'entering the fray' to pursue Madison Bumgarner

With the Winter Meetings rapidly approaching, MLB free agency is heating up.

One of the top available pitchers -- Madison Bumgarner -- is expected to be in high demand, particularly now that Cole Hamels has signed with the Braves and Zack Wheeler reportedly has agreed to a five-year contract with the Phillies. For teams who scoff at Gerrit Cole's price tag, Bumgarner might be the logical compromise.

The Giants have been "in communication" with Bumgarner, but rumor has it another interested team has entered the mix.

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported Thursday that the St. Louis Cardinals have been linked to Bumgarner, citing a source.

St. Louis already has brought back veteran Adam Wainwright on a one-year deal, and after he, Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas and Dakota Hudson, there appears to be an opening for Bumgarner in the starting rotation. Signing with the Cardinals would not only allow Bumgarner to continue pitching in the National League, but would also allow him to continue taking his own at-bats, which we know he loves so much. He also has been linked to teams such as the Twins and White Sox, but would forfeit his at-bats to a DH in each of those situations.

[RELATED: How Wheeler's reported $118M contract could affect MadBum]

While Bumgarner is expected to receive a contract in excess of $100 million, Feinsand suggests Wheeler's reported $118 million payday might serve to increase the total.

MLB rumors: Yankees make signing free agent Gerrit Cole top priority

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MLB rumors: Yankees make signing free agent Gerrit Cole top priority

Gerrit Cole is far and away the gem of the 2019 MLB free-agent class.

The former Pirates and Astros ace led the American League in both ERA and strikeouts last season and finished just behind teammate Justin Verlander in the AL Cy Young Award race.

The team that historically always has had the deepest pockets in baseball -- the New York Yankees -- have made Cole a priority in free agency, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Thursday, citing a source.

Cole is a Southern California native with familial ties to the Giants, a team that also features one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in the MLB. San Francisco also has been mentioned as a destination for the ace, who reportedly desires a return to the West Coast.

But if the Yankees, who always have jumped to outbid every other team for talent in free agency, decide to back up the proverbial Brinks truck for the 29-year-old, the Giants might be swiftly eliminated from contention for Cole.

Reports indicate that Cole’s price tag will “shatter” the record set by David Price when he signed a $217 million contract with the Boston Red Sox in 2015.

[RELATED: Report: Giants targeted UGA's pitching coach for same role]

While San Francisco has plenty of money to spend this offseason, it likely won’t engage in a bidding war that could approach $300 million.

Even if longtime Giant and current free agent Madison Bumgarner elects to go elsewhere in free agency, it remains to be seen how much money San Francisco would be willing to shell out for an elite talent like Cole in the heart of his prime.