Giants

Giants tried to hire Rachel Balkovec to Gabe Kapler's coaching staff

Giants tried to hire Rachel Balkovec to Gabe Kapler's coaching staff

SAN DIEGO -- When the Giants announce their full coaching staff, the group will stand out for being young, with more experience in private instruction and minor league coaching than the big leagues in some cases. That'll be something new for the organization, but it has somewhat become the norm around Major League Baseball over the past couple of years. 

As they put the staff together, though, the Giants did strongly consider a move that would have been historic for the sport. They interviewed Rachel Balkovec, who recently joined the Yankees as a minor league hitting coach and became the first woman to get hired as a full-time hitting coach by an organization. 

The Giants wanted Balkovec, 32, to join them in a hybrid role that would have been something along the lines of a "quality control coach," a job that has popped up elsewhere in recent years. She would have worked on the hitting side but also contributed to the strength and conditioning side, which is her background. Balkovec had been a Yankee for just a few days when the Giants approached, and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters that Balkovec elected to stay with New York after interviewing with the Giants, who brought her to San Francisco for the interview. 

This is believed to be the first time a woman has interviewed for a job on a big league coaching staff. Balkovec would have been in uniform for the Giants and working for Gabe Kapler, who said he is looking for "diversity of thought" on his coaching staff regardless of gender. 

"I've known Rachel for a really long time, Farhan (Zaidi) has known Rachel for a really long time," Kapler told NBC Sports Bay Area. "I think it was four years ago or so that we first became familiar with her work as a strength coach. Rachel is super-dynamic, incredibly smart, incredibly confident, and I have no doubt in my mind that she's going to make a big impact in baseball for many years to come."

Balkovec impressed Giants officials, who came away thinking it's just a matter of time before she is on a big league staff or takes a position high up in baseball operations. She was in San Diego this week and met with some Yankees reporters on Tuesday, where she outlined her background. Her approach is very similar to much of what the Giants have added to their staff, which will be finalized in the coming days.

[RELATED: Sources: Giants working to hire Justin Viele]

“I have a special interest in biomechanics and understanding how the body moves and applying certain things, like for example, if there is a restriction in movement can they spot those types of things,’’ Balkovec said, according to the New York Post. “How is that going to affect their swing mechanics and the ability to get something done in a game situation. Also, the visual side of things, what are the best strategies of things picking up the ball for recognizing a pitch? 

"There are two sides of it, and I am not sure which one is more important at this point, but I am leaning more to the visual aspect not very many people are diving into I think at this point. It’s two-fold, understanding the body from a very base level and how it applies to the swing and action."

Dodgers getting Astros' titles still wouldn't match Giants' decade

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Dodgers getting Astros' titles still wouldn't match Giants' decade

The outrage continues in Tinseltown.

As the fallout from the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal continues, many have called into question the Astros’ 2017 World Series title, a thrilling seven-game series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

With the championship appearing to be tainted by Houston’s systematic tracking of pitching signals, the Los Angeles city council unanimously passed a resolution last week urging Major League Baseball to rescind the victory from the Astros and award it to the runner-up Dodgers. The resolution also included the 2018 World Series, which the Dodgers lost to the Boston Red Sox in five games. Boston remains under investigation for similar allegations.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred pushed back on the idea, pointing to the MLB’s history with not altering the past.

“Whatever the impact of the sign stealing was, it could have changed who was in the World Series,” Manfred said earlier this week on Fox Business’ “Mornings with Maria." “It’s absolutely unclear that the Dodgers would have been the World Series champion. I think there's a long tradition in baseball of not trying to change what happened. I think the answer from our perspective is to be transparent about what the investigation showed and let our fans make their own decision about what happened.”

Followers of the Giants’ archrival definitely made up their own minds, as they flocked to Dodgers FanFest on Saturday.

Pantone 294, one of the Dodgers’ fan groups, also has organized an outing to the Los Angeles Angels’ home opener against the Astros. The group’s website wants LA fans to flock to Anaheim and “support the team that's playing the game we all know and love the right way!”

Even if by Manfred pulled a complete 180 and decided to not only take away championships from both Houston and Boston, but award them to the Dodgers, they’d still have fewer rings than the Giants have won over the past 30 years.

Nothing got the fans in LA more fired up than watching the Giants bring home three World Series titles over a five-year stretch, firmly cementing them as the NL West's team of the decade.

We all know this isn’t emblematic of every Dodgers fan, as many have voiced their opinion that being awarded two championships doesn't mean anything after the fact, especially when everyone watched them get obliterated by the Red Sox in five games and only score one run in Game 7 against the Astros in 2017.

No matter how many signs might have been stolen, only scoring one run in a World Series game isn't going to get you a win in almost every situation.

Some players, including third baseman Justin Turner, made it clear they aren't interested in receiving a ring that doesn't feel earned.

Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling, however, is cheering on fans choosing to waste their time and money heckling Houston.

“I like it,” Stripling said (h/t Los Angeles Times). “The Dodger fans are fired up. If they want to do their part, and they think that is what it is, then kudos to them. Go do it.

“I know that they’re passionate, and they wanted a championship as much as we did. Obviously, they have still got some fire in their belly to go fight for us.”

[RELATED: Mailbag: Will Beede, Webb be with Giants come Opening Day?]

While the official punishments likely are over for the Astros, it appears they still will be living rent-free in many Dodger fans’ heads all season long.

Meanwhile, Giants fans can sit back and enjoy three, controversy-free World Series trophies residing inside Oracle Park.

MLB rumors: Former Giants GM Bobby Evans interviewed for Astros job

MLB rumors: Former Giants GM Bobby Evans interviewed for Astros job

A little over a year after he was fired, former Giants general manager Bobby Evans could land on his feet.

Evans interviewed for the open Houston Astros general manager position, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday, citing sources.

Evans spent four seasons as the general manager of the Giants before being reassigned within the organization at the end of the 2018 season. Including the 2019 season, Evans has spent the last 26 seasons in San Francisco.

The Astros are in need of a new GM and manager after Jeff Luhnow and AJ Hinch were fired in the fallout from the sign-stealing scandal that has rocked baseball in recent weeks.

Houston is tainted at the moment, but Evans would be inheriting a roster that still possesses the talent to compete for a World Series, with or without trash cans.

While serving as assistant general manager for the Giants, Evans helped lead to the team to World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014. But his tenure as GM wasn't as successful. A lot of the moves Evans made, including the signings of Mark Melancon, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Denard Span, didn't lead to the desired results.

[RELATED: Evans' dismissal hard on Giants players]

With Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris at the helm of the Giants, it makes sense for Evans to consider outside opportunities, even if the Astros are the black eye of baseball.

Both Evans and the Astros need second chances, so this could be the perfect marriage if the two sides can come to an agreement.