Giants

MLB rumors: Giants to hire Reds' Donnie Ecker as new hitting coach

MLB rumors: Giants to hire Reds' Donnie Ecker as new hitting coach

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are hoping to see a youth movement in their lineup over the next couple of seasons. They're apparently going with the same approach on their coaching staff. 

Cincinnati Reds assistant hitting coach Donnie Ecker will be named the Giants' hitting coach, according to Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic. The Giants did not immediately confirm the hire. They are expected to announce their staff next week at the Winter Meetings. Ecker, 33, is just five years removed from being the baseball coach at Los Altos High, his alma mater. 

The Giants have spent the last month putting Gabe Kapler's staff in place, and they have not looked in traditional corners. They have worked to surround Kapler with coaches who take a more modern approach and can help develop the next Giants contender, and Ecker certainly qualifies as an interesting hire. 

Ecker spent just one season as assistant hitting coach in Cincinnati. In 2018 he was the Triple-A hitting coach for the Angels, and before that, he coached in the minors for the Cardinals for three seasons. Ecker's coaching career began in 2013 when he took a job at Los Altos High, where he was a two-sport star in baseball and football. Ecker was a 22nd-round pick of the Rangers in 2007 but got just 97 minor league at-bats. 

Ecker certainly is a bit of an out-of-the-box hire, but that might be just what the Giants need after years of struggling to put together a lineup that can hit at Oracle Park. Ecker's bio with the Reds stated that "his teaching methods incorporate human movement research and technology-based applications to the body and swing." He is described as someone who is an "integrated movement specialist."

[RELATED: Where Giants' core players stand as Winter Meetings near]

Once confirmed, Ecker will join third base coach Ron Wotus as members of Kapler's staff. The Giants also have hired Brian Bannister as Director of Pitching but it's unclear if that role will have him in the dugout. 

Giants' New Era 'Team Describe' hats represent city of San Francisco

Giants' New Era 'Team Describe' hats represent city of San Francisco

One of the best things about the game of baseball is the sense of community you feel when attending a game.

Before you sit down in your seat perhaps you go to a local bar to indulge in a beverage ... or two. Maybe you take public transportation to the event. It's all about coming together.

New Era dropped a line of hats that embrace the cities the teams play the game in.

The Giants got some of the hometown treatment with a hat of their own in the "Team Describe" line.

It appears the theme of the hats (with only a select few from MLB and the NBA) has a specific item next to the team's logo in the front with some food component to represent the celebrated city on the back.

You can check out the San Francisco hat that represents the city here as well as the other cities.

[RELATED: Giants add Alyssa Nakken to Kapler's coaching staff]

The Giants logo sits next to a cable car on the front with some sushi on the back of it. 

What do you think? 

Report: Giants add Gold Glove winner Yolmer Sanchez to second base competition

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USATSI

Report: Giants add Gold Glove winner Yolmer Sanchez to second base competition

With two weeks until workouts begin at Scottsdale Stadium, the Giants reportedly have added another player to the mix at second base. 

Yolmer Sanchez, who won a Gold Glove at second base for the White Sox last season, will be in camp as a non-roster invitee, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. According to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, Sanchez turned down two major league jobs in order to compete for the starting job in San Francisco. 

The Giants ended 2019 with Mauricio Dubon providing excitement at second base, but the plan is for Dubon to move around this season, getting starts at shortstop as well and possibly filling the hole in center field. Sanchez, a switch-hitter, will enter the spring competing with Dubon and Donovan Solano for playing time at second base. 

The 27-year-old was a surprise Gold Glove winner last season, beating out Jose Altuve and D.J. LeMahieu to become the first White Sox position player to win a Gold Glove since 1998. Sanchez grew up idolizing Omar Vizquel, and he led American League second basemen last season with 11 Defensive Runs Saved. 

That was not enough, however, to keep him on the roster of an up-and-coming White Sox team. The defense had Sanchez due for a raise in arbitration and the White Sox waived him in early December. 

While Sanchez is elite with the glove, he has been a light hitter in the big leagues. Sanchez had a .252/.318/.321 slash line last year with two homers in 555 plate appearances. By OPS+, he has been below league average as a hitter in all six of his big league seasons, but he did do a decent job against lefties last season -- posting a .738 OPS -- and that could put him in the lineup with Dubon or Solano at times. Sanchez also has experience at third base and the Giants do not currently have a backup for Evan Longoria. 

[RELATED: Giants to have a competition for backup catcher]

The Giants jettisoned a player with a similar profile -- Joe Panik -- last summer and turned the job over to Dubon, who had a .754 OPS down the stretch. A starting group of Sanchez, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Longoria would give the Giants one of the strongest defensive infields in the National League, although they'll have to find offense somewhere. The lineup has still not been notably upgraded this offseason.