Joey Bart in good spot to succeed with Giants after first full season

Joey Bart in good spot to succeed with Giants after first full season

SCOTTSDALE -- Joey Bart crouched in the grass a few feet from the plate and slowly took his helmet off with both hands. He hit it against the ground in frustration, knowing, for the second time this season, that a poorly located pitch had done damage.

A 96-mph fastball got a direct shot at Bart's right hand in his third at-bat Tuesday night, fracturing his thumb and ending his Arizona Fall League season. Bart didn't look in pain as much as he looked disappointed. This is a game he loves, one he's extremely good at, but sometimes it's taken away unnecessarily.

A couple of hours earlier, Bart had settled into a seat outside the lavish clubhouse at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale and talked about what he has learned during his first full season. He brought up a hand fracture in April that cost him nearly two months. 

"It's all about being available," Bart said during an interview that runs on this week's Giants Insider Podcast. "That's the best thing about playing this game. The highest attribute you can have is to be available at all times. I think coming into the rest out here and into next year, that's my main goal, is to try to be out there every single game and whenever the manager puts my name in the lineup."

Bart did get some good news a day later. A hand specialist determined Wednesday that he won't need surgery and will be fully healed within six weeks, giving the 22-year-old plenty of time to prepare for his second big league camp. This one will come with higher stakes. The Giants expect to see their top prospect at Oracle Park next season, and Bart will have plenty of chances in spring training to prove to a new manager that the Joey Bart Era should start before the weather really heats up.

President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was aggressive with Bart and Heliot Ramos, his top two prospects, moving them to Double-A after half a season in San Jose. Both could start next season with Triple-A Sacramento.  

"Those guys will have the opportunity to earn their way potentially all the way up to the big leagues next year," Zaidi said recently. "But it's going to be up to them."

Bart certainly did his part this season to force the issue. He hit 12 homers and slugged .479 in 57 games before a promotion. The Eastern League is much tougher on hitters. Ramos struggled to adjust at first, but Bart batted .316 in 22 Double-A games with four homers and a .912 OPS. That carried over to the Fall League, where Bart was one of the league's best players before getting hurt. He had four homers in 30 at-bats, with a 1.290 OPS and more walks (nine) than strikeouts (seven).

"I'm just going in there and being competitive and being ready to hit and just trusting my eyes," Bart said. "That's kind of what's gotten me to where I am now and that's where I'll move forward. Through the offseason I can make adjustments and do drills and stuff to hopefully make me lay off pitches or be on time for other pitches, but mainly it's just been coming out here, keeping a clear mind, and trying to have fun."

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That offseason came a few weeks earlier than Bart hoped, but it was a promising first full year as a professional. Bart's next at-bat will come in the Cactus League, and he said he's trying not to get too far ahead of himself as he thinks of the 2020 possibilities. Bart again brought up the first hand injury and noted, "you don't really know what can happen."

"You've just got to approach every day the right way," he said. "I've been lucky that I've been around some great coaches and people in college and with the Giants that lay that foundation, and I just go at it full speed ahead and put my head down and try to get to work. I know that if I take it day to day and just go play my game and have fun, then everything is going to work out."

Source: Giants interested in Cubs' Will Venable for managerial opening


Source: Giants interested in Cubs' Will Venable for managerial opening

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bruce Bochy spent 25 consecutive years as a big league manager, but it appears the Giants are looking to go the opposite route as they search for Bochy's replacement.

Two weeks in, there's a consistent theme with the known names in the managerial search. They mostly are younger and without much, if any, managerial experience, although they are well thought of within the industry.

The Giants started the process by interviewing current coaches Hensley Meulens and Ron Wotus, and a source told NBC Sports Bay Area that A's quality control coach Mark Kotsay interviewed last Monday. Royals quality control coach Pedro Grifol interviewed Thursday, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler will sit down with Farhan Zaidi, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

Per league sources, the Giants also have interest in Will Venable, who currently is the first base coach for the Chicago Cubs. Venable, 36, spent eight years as a Padres outfielder and finished his career with the Dodgers in 2016, when Zaidi was the general manager there.

A product of Princeton, Venable joined the Cubs as a special assistant in 2017 and was elevated to Joe Maddon's staff a year later. He also is in consideration for the Cubs' managerial opening.

Zaidi has said he expects to interview six to eight external candidates, but it's possible that some of the names connected to the Giants won't necessarily be in a position to be the new manager. This is an opportunity for Zaidi to spend time with some of the brightest young minds on other big league staffs, and some of the candidates may end up in consideration to join the Giants in other roles.

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The coaching staff is expected to undergo significant changes under new leadership, and all of Bochy's coaches had contracts that expired at the end of the 2019 season. Zaidi also needs to hire a new general manager and has said that department heads are still deciding what to do with some longtime front office employees.

MLB rumors: Giants grant Phillies permission to interview Dusty Baker


MLB rumors: Giants grant Phillies permission to interview Dusty Baker

Dusty Baker could reunite with Bryce Harper, and it's all thanks to the ... Giants? 

The Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales reported Sunday that the Giants gave the Phillies permission to interview Baker to be their next manager. The 70-year-old currently is a special adviser to CEO Larry Baer in San Francisco. 

Baker last managed in the major leagues when he led Harper and the Nationals to 97 wins in 2017. But Washington lost to the Cubs in the first round of the playoffs that season, despite winning the NL East. 

The Nationals won the NL East both years that Baker managed in Washington DC -- 2016 and 2017 -- and averaged 96 wins in his two seasons. They also failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs both times. 

Baker began his managerial career in 1993 when he won 103 games with the Giants. He served as San Francisco's manager from 1993 to 2002 and compiled an 840-715 regular-season record, though his teams went just 11-13 in the playoffs, including losing the 2002 World Series to the Angels in seven games.

Over his 22-year managerial career, Baker has 1,863 wins to 1,636 losses, but is 23-32 in the playoffs. 

[RELATED: Report: Giants interviewed Royals' Grifol for manager job]

The Phillies seem to be looking for veteran leadership from their new manager. Along with Baker, MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Sunday that Philadelphia also will consider Buck Showalter, Joe Girardi and Mike Scioscia as candidates.

Gabe Kapler was fired by the Phillies after the regular season as the team disappointed in Harper's first year on his new team. Heyman reported Saturday that the Giants will interview Kapler for their vacant manager position.