Giants

Kent's relationship with Bonds: 'We weren't friends'

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Kent's relationship with Bonds: 'We weren't friends'

Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent formed one of the most feared power hitting duos in Giants history for six seasons together. From 1997 to 2002, the two slugged a combined 479 home runs.

While they smashed balls over the fence, the Giants teammates clashed with their personalities. 

“We weren’t friends off the field,” Kent said to the San Francisco Chronicle before he's inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame Monday, one year after Bonds. “I’ve never really spent any effort trying to evaluate our relationship or care about it." 

Kent joined the Giants before the '97 season, coming off a year he hit only 12 home runs between the Mets and Indians. San Francisco sent Matt Williams, after a season in which he played in his third straight All-Star Game and hit 22 home runs, to the Indians, making Kent Bonds' new running mate in the lineup. 

And Kent proved his worth right away in that first season in the Bay. Kent hit 29 round-trippers in '97, then a career-high for him. As time went on and his career took off, Kent's relationship with Bonds did the opposite. 

In the last year of Bonds and Kent in the same lineup, it all came crashing down on June 25, 2002, in San Diego. Between the second and third inning of their 10-7 loss to the Padres, the two began screaming and shoving each other with Bonds grabbing Kent around the throat and pushing him against the dugout wall. After the altercation, Bonds hit a three-run blast that inning and Kent then homered in the sixth inning. 

“Why do we have to be friends? Why is that such a big deal?” Kent now asks. 

It's clear all that mattered to Kent were results on the field and winning. His relationship with Bonds didn't matter as long as the Giants kept up their success. 

The Giants twice won the NL West with Kent and Bonds teaming up together, and that same season the two tussled in the dugout, the Giants made it to the World Series. 

"We played well. We relied on each other on the field to win. That’s all that matters: win," says Kent.

MLB rumors: Phillies confident they'll sign Bryce Harper in free agency

MLB rumors: Phillies confident they'll sign Bryce Harper in free agency

We have an update in the latest edition of MLB's daily reality show: "Where on earth will Bryce Harper sign?"

Well, it's kind of an update.

The Philadelphia Phillies, who have long been considered a favorite to sign the 26-year-old superstar, "are confident" they will sign the former Nationals outfielder, Matt Breen of Philly.com reported Thursday.

After Manny Machado agreed to a record 10-year, $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres, Breen reports that the Phillies have "ramped up their negotiations" in their efforts to land Harper.

The Giants, of course, have been linked to Harper ever since they met with the prized free agent in early February. At one point the Giants were considered the betting favorites for Harper's services.

However, on Wednesday it was reported that they were "not optimistic" about landing the six-time All-Star.

[RELATED: Where Harper market stands after Machado's record contract]

Although Breen notes in his piece that the Giants appear to be the Phillies' biggest challenger for Harper, it still appears that San Francisco is more likely to be the bridesmaid than the bride in the bid to acquire the 2015 NL MVP.

But, who knows -- in the world of this slow MLB free agency, there will probably be more twists and turns before all is said and done.

What will Farhan Zaidi look for in next Giants manager?

What will Farhan Zaidi look for in next Giants manager?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Whether he’s watching the team from the dugout, standing in the clubhouse hallway, or walking back and forth on the back fields at Scottsdale Stadium, Farhan Zaidi always seems to have his cell phone pressed to his ear. 

That was the case Monday when Bruce Bochy announced that this will be his final season, but Zaidi said he did not get calls from coaches around the game looking to get a head start in the search process. He knows that will change, though. It didn’t take long after Zaidi took the Giants job for colleagues to start asking about a potential GM position, and you can bet that parts of this season will be spent having secret discussions with candidates to replace Bochy.

The man who actually hired Bochy 13 years ago believes that’s a good thing. This won’t be a distraction or an awkward situation, Brian Sabean said. Zaidi was informed during the hiring process that Bochy was likely headed for retirement, and Sabean believes that gave everyone time to get “out front” and “on board.”

“I think it should relax the atmosphere among all parties and give (Bochy) his proper due, give him his proper sendoff, but it also gives Farhan some good lead time to noodle this whole thing or line up how he’s going to attack it,” Sabean said. 

Zaidi has already been through this process once before. He teamed with Andrew Friedman in 2015 to hire Dave Roberts in Los Angeles, and that collaboration proved to be a successful one. Zaidi, a communicator by nature, spent years with the A’s and Dodgers and has given plenty of thought to what or who he would look for if given his own shop.

He wouldn’t give anything away this week, but he has a short list forming in his head already. 

“I think everybody is shaped by their own experience and people that they’ve come into contact with that they value their baseball acumen or their personal values or those kinds of things,” he said. “Everybody just by virtue of their own experience has a list of people that they’ve thought, ‘That guy could be a manager one day,' or, 'If I’m in a position that’s someone I would think about.’”

While Zaidi said this would be a collective process, Larry Baer made it clear that his president of baseball operations will take the lead. Baer said people within the organization — Hensley Meulens and Ron Wotus would be two likely internal candidates — will be considered, but most of the candidates Zaidi has experience with would come from the outside. 

One possible candidate, David Bell, came off the board a couple of weeks before Zaidi was hired. When Bell joined the organization as farm director in 2017, he was viewed as a likely successor to Bochy or general manager Bobby Evans. The Reds hired him away in October. 

Bell was a nice blend of old and new, someone who could be a respected voice in the clubhouse but also work seamlessly with an analytics-driven front office. Roberts has been the same in Los Angeles, and that seems the likely mold for this search. 

But Zaidi promised to be open-minded, pointing out that he and Friedman had no idea Roberts would even be a finalist when they began that search. To that point, two executives known as analytics types put together an eclectic group of candidates when the Dodgers were looking for Don Mattingly’s replacement. 

Gabe Kapler, a favorite to win the Dodgers job back then, was certainly a modern choice. But the Dodgers also reportedly interviewed longtime baseball men Tim Wallach and Ron Roenicke, both of whom were in their late fifties at the time. Kirk Gibson was brought in, and he’s certainly not the type to be a puppet for a front office. Former Angel Darin Erstad, current Rockies manager Bud Black and current Nationals manager Dave Martinez also reportedly interviewed.

That’s not a group that has a ton in common.

[RELATED: Odds for next Giants manager to replace Bruce Bochy brings wild names]

Zaidi has a reputation for being the smartest guy in the room, but he loves spending time with scouts and experienced coaches, and has regularly positioned himself behind the cage this spring, chatting up players and Giants coaches. He eventually will find a replacement for Bochy, but right now it’s not something he’s worrying much about. 

“I’m sure there will be conversations and inquiries along the way, but it’s not the focus for us,” he said. “For me, I’m still trying to learn the organization and the players and make sure I get off to the right start.”