Joey Bart wins Giants award in top prospect's first spring training

Joey Bart wins Giants award in top prospect's first spring training

SAN FRANCISCO -- The surprise was not that Joey Bart won the Barney Nugent Award, it was that he was still around to accept it in person. 

Bart, the organization's top prospect, is still in camp as a first-timer as the Giants look to get him as much experience behind the plate as they can before he joins High-A San Jose for the start of the year. In his first spring, Bart has seven hits in 17 at-bats (.412), with a homer, two doubles and a team-leading seven RBI.

He drove in three runs in the ninth inning against the Dodgers last week on a bases-loaded double off the right field wall. 

The Barney Nugent Award is given annually to the player who performs best in his first big league camp. In addition to the on-field work, Bart has impressed staff members and fellow players with a quiet dedication to getting better every day, and he has tried to pick up as much as he can from Buster Posey, the man he may one day replace. 

"I thought we had some guys that were here that did a really nice job as well, some guys that are down in the Minor League side," Bart said, according to "For these guys to vote for me, it means a lot."

The Giants expect Bart to start the season in High-A, but last year's No. 2 pick should move on to Double-A Richmond relatively quickly. It would not at all be a surprise to see Bart finish his minor league season in Triple-A, and if he continues to show the approach that he has over the last month, he could put himself in consideration for a September call-up.

[RELATED: Why one scout believes Bart could join Giants by midseason]

For now, he'll get a few more days to soak up knowledge in camp. The Giants have viewed that as more beneficial than a few extra at-bats on the minor league side. 

Past winners of the Barney Nugent Award, formerly known as the Harry K. Jordan Award, include Tim Lincecum, Brandon Belt and Matt Duffy. 

MLB rumors: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals agree to seven-year, $245M contract

MLB rumors: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals agree to seven-year, $245M contract

The World Series MVP reportedly is staying home. 

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Monday that star free-agent pitcher Stephen Strasburg is returning to the Nationals. ESPN's Jeff Passan later reported the contract is worth $245 million over seven years. 

The massive contract is the largest in MLB history for a pitcher, and breaks the record for average annual value. The figures also are the same that the Yankees reportedly offered Gerrit Cole in recent days. Cole's deal with his future new team could now reach as high as $300 million. 

With one ace off the market, the race to sign longtime Giants hero Madison Bumgarner could speed up. 

Bumgarner reportedly wants to stay in San Francisco, but according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the Giants have "shown no inclination to keep him." In recent days, the Cardinals, Twins and White Sox all have been linked to the left-hander. 

“Obviously, he has roots in other parts of the country that may be attractive to him,’’ Giants president of baseball operation Farhan Zaidi said during a recent Q&A at Oracle Park, via The Athletic. “It’s his decision. That’s the beauty of free agency for players. But we are going to be involved in that process.”

The Yankees and Dodgers also briefly were connected to Strasburg, and could shift their focus to Bumgarner, especially if they miss out on Cole. Both franchises are sick of falling short of a World Series ring, and seem primed to make a big move this offseason. 

Nightengale also reported Monday that teams are being told Bumgarner is looking for a deal worth at least $100 million over five years. That seems increasingly likely with Zack Wheeler joining the Phillies on a $118 million contract. 

[RELATED: What to watch for as Giants head to MLB Winter Meetings]

With Strasburg's reported contract and the giant wads of cash Cole is about to receive, Bumgarner could be seen as quite the discount for teams. Expect rumors to ramp up regarding MadBum at the Winter Meetings currently being held in San Diego.

Hang tight Giants fans, this could get emotional.

New MLB jerseys for 2020 feature distracting Nike swoosh logo on chest


New MLB jerseys for 2020 feature distracting Nike swoosh logo on chest

Billy from "School of Rock" said it best: "You're tacky, and I hate you." 

We're all thinking the same thing looking at Nike's new MLB jerseys for the 2020 season. An agreement in January was announced between MLB, Fanatics and Nike, making Nike league's on-field partner and official uniform provider. 

Nike's first installment of jerseys have begun trickling out, and, my god, talk about being pretentious. The jerseys feature a distracting swoosh logo right across the upper right chest.

A's and Giants jerseys will remain the same outside of the Nike logo on the chest.

It's a stark difference from Majestic, MLB's previous jersey provider. In years past, a small logo was placed on the left sleeve. 

But Paul Lukas of Uni-Watch says MLB sold the chest space to Nike for a higher price. 

[RELATED: Why Yankees offering Cole $245M is good for Giants, A's]

Some fans rightfully are upset about the changes while others are ambivalent, but it shouldn't be a surprise. The NBA began placing sponsorships on their jerseys starting in the 2017-18 season. The NFL does the same for their practice jerseys. 

While baseball is one of the most "traditional" sports and often behind the times, don't be shocked if sponsors soon find their ways onto MLB jerseys.