Giants

Michael Morse reflects on love for Giants organization, future of team

Michael Morse reflects on love for Giants organization, future of team

“I was mad. In May I was very mad at this team, mad at the organization, I was just a mad guy. Just because it goes back to all the feelings I have for this organization."

Michael Morse has plenty to say about the Giants. NBC Sports Bay Area hired him as an analyst to talk about the team he cares so much about, and he's done just that after years of experience playing and talking about the game.

An MLB journeyman in his own right, Morse spent his 13 years in the league as a member of six different teams. Two of those seasons he spent wearing the orange and black and earned a World Series ring in 2014. Needless to say, he's aware of the "Giants mentality," a term he preached when I spoke to him back in May. Morse said the team at the beginning of the season was definitely in a rebuild, as much as he hated the word, but he noticed a drastic change from when he roamed the field.

Are things different now? Well, slightly. He likes what he sees in outfielder Mike Yastrzemski.

“I think the one thing that the Giants can bring out of this year is Yaz," Morse said. "I think Yaz is a great pickup, I love his background, his grandfather you can see Yaz -- Mike, and Carl they all play the same. They’ve got just good baseball blood. You know, if that’s one thing the Giants can take out of this year, being a rebuilding year supposedly, I’m not even sure in spring training next year if some of these guys will be on the team or even invited to camp, but you can guarantee that Yaz will be in the mix next year as an outfield spot.”

Morse said of everyone on that roster, Yaz brings that "Giants light" he's been talking about.

But is he that Max Muncy-type Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was searching for? Sure.

"Well, I mean if you pick up 100 players you’re gonna find one," Morse explained. "[Zaidi] has picked up a ton of guys and if you remember during the beginning of the season, he started picking up every other team's trash and we were all saying, ‘What is he doing, why are we picking these guys up?' And you know one's going to land."

"It’s like you throw a bunch of junk on the wall somethings gonna stick," he said.

Yaz stuck. After years in the minors, Yastrzemski got the call he had been dreaming about. He then called his wife, his family, then eventually his grandfather, who, as Morse said, is a legend in the baseball world.

We know Yaz could be part of the Giants' future, but what about Madison Bumgarner? He was the big "what if," heading toward the MLB trade deadline. And maybe the right situation didn't present itself when it came to MadBum.

“Honestly I just think there wasn’t a deal out there for him," Morse said. "I don’t think the right deal was out there. I think he wanted a lot for him, we 'San Franciscans' think a lot of our MadBum and it would be a shame to see him go away for nothing. If you’re not going to get a good package for him you might as well not get rid of him and then you can spark the conversation of ‘we’re trying to go for it.'”

And with that, what about the future for the Giants? Well, Morse hasn't shut the door on the team by any means, but agreed it'll be an arduous journey ahead. 

“Right now there are a lot of really good, young teams out there. The Giants still have a couple of core guys that are aging and they’re tied up with money."

There are some bright spots, however, Morse said. Including the starting pitching that is starting to show some promise. But beyond that, he remains unsure. 

"I don’t know. It’s sad because I love this team, I love this organization. I think Bruce Bochy retiring this year he kind of knows that the next couple years are going to be different. Everything’s going to start changing and I think we’re going to see it on the field. Look at the A’s across the Bay. Five years ago they stunk and now look at them, they’re a playoff potential team.”

[RELATED: Yaz knows it'll be 'emotional' to watch grandson at Fenway]

And how does he feel overall about the organization? Well, his tune has changed from being angry. He remains hopeful.

"It’s going to be a long road," Morse said. "But I think we’ve got the right GM to steer this boat in this storm.”

Giants to hire former Red Sox exec Brian Bannister as director of pitching

Giants to hire former Red Sox exec Brian Bannister as director of pitching

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants have quietly spent most of the past month putting a staff together, one they expect to announce in the coming days. One new addition won't be working in a traditional dugout role, but still is expected to make a huge impact on the next generation of Giants pitchers. 

Brian Bannister, a former big leaguer who spent the previous five seasons with the Red Sox, will join the Giants as director of pitching, NBC Sports Bay Area has learned.

While it's unclear what Bannister's exact duties will be, his background is in development and the fact that he's joining the Giants but not as their pitching coach would seem to indicate he'll mostly be working with younger pitchers. 

Bannister has been a rising star in baseball circles since joining the Red Sox in 2015. He became their assistant pitching coach a year later and a few months after that added the title of vice president of pitching development. According to NBC Sports Boston, Bannister had an unusual contract that allowed the Red Sox to deny interview requests from other organizations that wanted to make Bannister a pitching coach, something they did repeatedly. In that story, Bannister explained his role and what he liked about it. 

“I think I’m kind of in that sweet spot right now where I know what our needs are, and I have the opportunity to work with staff at all levels of the organization to try to produce pitchers at a faster rate to keep that major league product winning on the field,” Bannister said. “I’ll be scouting one day, I’ll be in player development the next day. I’ll be in the front office working in analytics on Day 3. And the diversity of the role and the exposure to every aspect of the organization is what’s so appealing.

"Because you really start to see on an interdepartmental basis, how each person positively impacts the Boston Red Sox. And then figuring out ways to fill in the gaps. How to get the players from amateur scouting, through player development as efficiently as possible, and prepare them with exactly what they need for the major league staff. That part’s fascinating. I definitely enjoy the exposure to everything and trying to add value to everything. And that’s probably where my role is unique.”

The Giants have been looking to put together a unique staff, one that can focus on development of younger players in Kapler's first year. In that respect, Bannister fits perfectly, but he also has the playing experience that carries so much weight with players who prefer traditional methods. 

Bannister finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2007 after putting up a 3.87 ERA in 27 starts for the Royals. That was the highlight of his professional career, as he finished with a 5.08 ERA in five big league seasons.

[RELATED: Why Hjelle stood out to Vogelsong]

A USC grad, Bannister is coming home in multiple ways. He lives in the Bay Area and was born in Scottsdale, where he later starred at Chaparral High, which is about a 20-minute drive from Scottsdale Stadium. When Fox Sports first reported that Bannister would be headed to San Francisco, he thanked his previous organization. 

The Giants are expected to announce some staffing decisions over the coming week. The only known member of Kapler's staff thus far is previous third base coach Ron Wotus.

MLB rumors: Free agent Madison Bumgarner prefers to stay with Giants

MLB rumors: Free agent Madison Bumgarner prefers to stay with Giants

Madison Bumgarner stepped to the plate against longtime Dodgers rival and friend Clayton Kershaw at Oracle Park on Sept. 29, 2019. The pitcher who rakes pinch-hit for shortstop Brandon Crawford in the seventh inning of Game 162, and lined out on a 3-2 fastball to third baseman Jedd Gyorko.

The day belonged to manager Bruce Bochy in his last game as the team's skipper. It very well might have been goodbye for a longtime ace and franchise hero, too. 

USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported Wednesday that Bumgarner, who is a free agent for the first time this offseason, prefers to continue his career with the Giants but the team has "shown no inclination to keep him." 

After free-agent pitcher Zack Wheeler reportedly agreed to a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies on Wednesday, it became clear Bumgarner very well could sign a nine-figure contract this offseason. That doesn't seem to fit into the rebuilding Giants' plans. 

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said late last month that San Francisco has "financial flexibility" but that doesn't mean he and general manager Scott Harris are going to throw huge contracts at veteran players. In fact, Zaidi seems focused on the opposite of that this offseason. 

"We need to be careful given our recent history about creating too many long-term commitments that can get us back in the jam that we very recently put ourselves in," Zaidi told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on the "TK Show."

Nightengale also reported Wednesday that the Giants were interested in free-agent pitcher Cole Hamels before he signed with the Braves. Though San Francisco wants to get younger, Hamels' one-year, $18 million contract is much more in line with their plan. 

Bumgarner likely is looking for a four- or five-year contract on the open market. With veterans Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija still on the team's books, and young arms next in line, the Giants don't seem too inclined to sign a pitcher to a hefty, long-term contract. 

[RELATED: Eight non-tendered vets who could be great fit for Giants]

MadBum debuted with the Giants in September 2009, and has spent his entire career in San Francisco. He is a four-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger and three-time World Series champion. His real impact, however, came in the playoffs. 

The lefty is regarded by many as the greatest postseason pitcher of all time. He is 8-3 with a 2.11 ERA in 16 playoff appearances, and is a perfect 4-0 with a 0.25 ERA in five World Series games.

Relish the memories, Giants fans. Bumgarner's days of walking to the mound in San Francisco with the Marshall Tucker Band's "Fire on the Mountain" playing in the background, might be over.