Giants who won World Series compare current club to 'even years' teams

Giants who won World Series compare current club to 'even years' teams

The Giants are in the midst of something special. It's hard to describe it, but it could be compared to one thing ... themselves.

ESPN's Marly Rivera spoke to members of the current Giants -- the ones who earned those three World Series rings in 2010, 2012 and 2014 -- and how those three championships compare to what they have going now, especially the 2014 team. 

"I've tried to figure that stuff out, and I know with this game there is one thing I know for sure: Once you think you've got something figured out, you're wrong," Madison Bumgarner told ESPN. "It was just like somebody flipped a switch and it all started changing. If there is something to it, I don't know what it is."

The Orange and Black find themselves just 2 1/2 games behind the Nationals and Phillies in the NL wild-card hunt. They also have a record above .500 and are 14-6 since the All-Star break, and 11-2 in extra-inning games.

But Bumgarner is enjoying surprising everyone -- a mentality he's used to.

"I don't remember a time where we won that we were expected to win. And I would rather be that way. I would rather be an underdog-type of team that has a chip on their shoulder, playing with an edge, than somebody that is supposed to run away with it."

The Giants still have some of the teammates who were a part of those "even year" clubs. And leading the way then and now is Bruce Bochy.

"They have championship blood in them, and they show it, and it starts with these core guys," Bochy told ESPN. "We're fortunate that we still have our core here, and that brings stability. It brings confidence. They do such a great job with the young guys, making them feel comfortable and also holding each other accountable."

Bochy added that after their first championship, they were happy -- but still uncertain if the team was the real deal or not. 

"But when you do it two or three times, they have it. It's in their DNA, and you can see where their game has picked up and they feel it," he said.

Giants third baseman and utility extraordinaire Pablo Sandoval compared the current roster to that of the 2014 squad.

"This team has a lot of things in common with that 2014 team," Sandoval said. "The veterans on this team, Madison, Crawford, Belt, are here to show our talented young guys that it can be done, with Buster as our captain, our leader, who leads by example and has taught all of us to give everything for this team.

"We have a lot of young players, that some people would say are not well-known names; it is no longer about Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford or Pablo Sandoval. Of course, we still have our workhorse, Madison Bumgarner, and our incredible bullpen, and then you look all around at this young talent, every day someone steps up. And whether it be Mike [Yastrzemski] or Alex Dickerson or Austin Slater, any of our young players, any given day, any one of them will help us win."

"That's what we had in 2014," Sandoval added. "There were no heroes, just guys getting things done."

Sounds familiar.

Posey agreed with Pablo's sentiments.

"The main difference thus far for me is that three weeks ago we were like 12 games below .500 and now we're a game over, whereas in 2014 there was more consistency than there has been to this point," Posey said.

"But we see guys stepping up, and I think that has been true from 2010 all the way to now. Guys come in from other teams or through the organization that have been able to impact the team in a big way."

When it was two-time All-Star shortstop Brandon Crawford's turn to chime in, he said the first few months of the season were a shock to the team's system. But they refused to accept it.

"It's about that fighter spirit. We were going to figure out a way to get this done."

First baseman Brandon Belt has two rings of his own he can show off, and despite some of the teammates becoming well ... older, he likes what has happened during this unexpected season.

"Looking back at the last couple of years, yes, there were really bad years, but I think a lot of that had to do with injuries and guys missing time. A lot of things that kind of came together to kind of form a perfect storm of awfulness. But I believe that all along we had it in us to kind of come back and make this run that we're doing right now."

The guys remain humble despite the recent success. As Posey says, the team still has around 60 games to go and "baseball, like a lot of sports, will humble you very quickly."

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But until then, the win column has been good to the team just as the team has been good to it.

And as MadBum says, "Winning changes everything."

MLB rumors: Giants have checked in with Marcell Ozuna representatives

MLB rumors: Giants have checked in with Marcell Ozuna representatives

The Giants finally gave fans a reason to be excited about their outfielders last season after years of disappointment.

They found a diamond in the rough with Mike Yastrzemski, and Kevin Pillar is expected back next year after knocking 21 homers and bringing defensive highlights every night. And yet, the outfield still has question marks. 

It's unclear this early in free agency if new general manager Scott Harris will explore adding a veteran bat to the mix, however, the Giants reportedly have eyed one of the bigger names on the open market. 

MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported Wednesday night that the Giants "have at least checked in with the representatives" for free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna. This isn't the first time the Giants have been tied to Ozuna this offseason, either. 

Earlier this month, MLB Trade Rumors predicted Ozuna to sign a three-year, $45 million contract. His age -- he turned 29 years old two days ago -- and power (29 homers in 2019) make plenty of sense for the Giants to explore. 

[RELATED: How Smith signing with Braves affects the Giants' bullpen]

Ozuna was handed a qualifying offer from the Cardinals going into this offseason, and declined it on Thursday. Any team that signs Ozuna would lose a draft pick next June, but not their first-round pick. However, the Giants will gain a draft pick from the Braves signing Will Smith, and the same goes for any team that signs Madison Bumgarner

Since 2014, Ozuna has averaged 24 homers per season. He easily would be the Giants biggest power threat right away, something San Francisco has lacked for years. 

MLB free agency: Madison Bumgarner turns down Giants' qualifying offer

MLB free agency: Madison Bumgarner turns down Giants' qualifying offer

SAN FRANCISCO -- As the trade deadline approached and the 2019 Giants started to get a little frisky on the field, there was some talk around the game that Madison Bumgarner would be better off getting traded regardless of what the team's record was, eliminating the chance that he would be saddled with a qualifying offer. 

Asked about that possibility, Bumgarner gave the kind of look you would expect to be reserved for Joe West. He was never concerned about a diminished market or sitting out half a season like Dallas Keuchel. Bumgarner has always believed the right options will be there in free agency, and now he'll get to test them out. 

Bumgarner officially declined the $17.8 million qualifying offer from the Giants on Thursday, joining eight of the 10 big leaguers who had a decision to make. The Twins' Jake Odorizzi and White Sox Jose Abreu decided to take the money upfront and try again in free agency next year. 

Bumgarner's agents have already spoken to interested teams, and they know what's out there. The left-hander does not plan to pull a Keuchel, and there's already reported interest from the likes of the Yankees, Padres and Phillies. The Braves, who signed Will Smith on Thursday, are also expected to make a run at Bumgarner, who is from nearby North Carolina. 

[RELATED: How Smith signing with Braves affects Giants' bullpen]

Then there are the Giants, who would recoup two top 100 draft picks if Bumgarner joins Will Smith in leaving the organization. Management has kept quiet about the offseason intentions, but there's a chance that Bumgarner circles back at some point over the next month to see if a deal can be struck. He has shown interest in coming back to San Francisco, but he's also eager to see what's out there in free agency.