Giants

MLB rumors: Will Smith, Giants agree to one-year contract, avoid arbitration

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USATSI

MLB rumors: Will Smith, Giants agree to one-year contract, avoid arbitration

SAN FRANCISCO — The arbitration season won’t come with any drama for the Giants. 

The team agreed to a one-year, $4.225 million deal with closer Will Smith, according to USA Today, avoiding an arbitration hearing. The Giants previously had signed Joe Panik and Sam Dyson to one-year deals and non-tendered Hunter Strickland and Gorkys Hernandez.

They have no remaining arbitration-eligible players. 

Smith, 29, would enter the spring as the favorite to be the Opening Day closer, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll be at Scottsdale Stadium. The Giants have fielded calls on Smith all offseason and have felt there’s a good chance they can get a strong return for Smith in a trade. They were waiting for the free agent market to clear up a bit, and that mostly has happened in recent weeks. 

Smith is coming off a strong season during which he returned from Tommy John surgery and posted a 2.55 ERA and 0.98 WHIP, with his velocity returning to pre-surgery levels. He took over the closer job soon after Strickland punched a door and held it throughout the second half, totaling 14 saves. 

This is the final year that Smith — acquired at the deadline in 2016 — is under contract, which is why the Giants have been eager to try to move him for prospects. 

The organization has not gone to a hearing since 2004, when A.J. Pierzynski was the target.

Giants release Cameron Maybin after disappointing spring training

Giants release Cameron Maybin after disappointing spring training

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants hoped Cameron Maybin could fill some holes on their bench. It wasn’t happening, and on Friday, Maybin was released.

The veteran signed a minor league deal after camp had already started but hit just .163 in Cactus League play with no homers. Maybin also got a DUI midway through camp, and while team officials said that wouldn’t knock him out of the competition, it surely didn’t help his cause. 

A couple of weeks ago, Maybin was set to be the fourth outfielder. But the front office has been disappointed by the competition and continues to look for alternatives. Connor Joe, a Rule 5 pick acquired Thursday, would be on the roster if the season started today, per a source, and he can play a corner outfield spots. Yangervis Solarte also has been playing some left field.

President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi continues to talk to other teams about outfielders who might become available before Opening Day. The Giants recently added Matt Joyce, too, but they are short on right-handed options and outfielders who can back up Steven Duggar in center. 

In that respect, it is notable that Henry Ramos is still in camp. At the moment, Gerardo Parra would be the next best choice in center if Duggar needed a day off.

Giants confident massive new scoreboard will be ready for Opening Day

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Alex Pavlovic

Giants confident massive new scoreboard will be ready for Opening Day

SAN FRANCISCO -- When members of the local media were let into Oracle Park on Friday to see upgrades, it was easy to be concerned about the scoreboard. The new version appears nowhere close to done, but the Giants are quickly making progress, and in the few minutes it took three team executives to brief the media on the ballpark, one percent of the scoreboard panels got completed. 

Bill Schlough, the team's Chief Information Officer, said there are no concerns about Opening Day. The $10 million Diamond Vision board will be fully operational by April 5, when the team returns home to host the Tampa Bay Rays. Schlough said the scoreboard will be more than two-thirds finished by Monday's exhibition game against the A's, and since the Giants have been testing it as they install rows, they will be able to use the completed portion Monday. 

Even that will represent a significant upgrade. The new scoreboard will be the first 4K version in the majors, and will be 153 feet wide and 70 feet high. It is more than three times the size of the previous one, with twice the resolution. 

Here are some other new things you'll see during the 2019 season ... 

--- There are two new high-profile gathering areas at the ballpark, The Cloud Club and The Waterfront. The Cloud Club is a lounge that replaced six existing suites on the suite level and features a bar, lounge seating and different views of the ballpark and bay. The Waterfront takes over for the last few rows of bleachers under the scoreboard, and has a premium bar with a great view of the bay. It will be completed after the other additions because the Giants can't really work on it while the scoreboard is being installed. 

The Field Club behind home plate was also fully remodeled. This is all the first step in a five-year plan to improve the park.  

--- The Oracle Park signage is up already.

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--- On Opening Day, the Giants will start a season-long celebration of manager Bruce Bochy. They also will pay tribute to Hank Greenwald, Frank Robinson, Peter Magowan and Willie McCovey, all of whom passed away during the offseason. There will be a No. 44 patch on the jerseys, along with one honoring Magowan. 

The team also will honor first responders to the California wildfires. 

--- The Giants already have sold $2.1 million in tickets. They reduced their season ticket base from 30,500 to 26,000, which is still the second-highest in the majors. This was presented as something that will be beneficial to current season ticket holders looking to sell individual game tickets, but there's no hiding the fact that the team simply has lost a lot of season ticket holders over the previous two seasons. At one point, there was a long waiting list to get a season ticket.

If the season goes the way the last two did, expect some announced crowds under 30,000. That season ticket base always set a high baseline. 

--- This was announced previously, but the ballpark will exclusively take mobile tickets this season. You can no longer print them out at home, although the Giants will print them for you if you want to do that once you're at Third and King. 

[RELATED: Harper reveals Giants were runner-up for his new home]

--- On to the important stuff: The Giants will hand out Kruk and Kuip gnomes and a Let Pablo Pitch bobblehead.

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Also, the Bruce Bochy giveaway on Game of Thrones Night (May 20) is the best thing they've handed out in a long, long time.

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