PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- When Giants officials put together unofficial "no-trade" lists at the end of the 2017 season, some surprisingly included Sam Dyson. That team lost 98 games, but Dyson, picked up off the scrap heap from the Rangers, was such a success story that some within the organization couldn't imagine losing him.
Two years later, Dyson is headed to the Twins, The Athletic's Dan Hayes first reported. NBC Sports Bay Area confirmed that Dyson is heading to Minnesota for three prospects: Outfielder Jaylin Davis and pitchers Prelander Berroa and Kai-Wei Teng.
The Giants later confirmed the deal later Wednesday afternoon.
Dyson had been Bruce Bochy’s go-to right-hander this season, serving in a set-up role and backing up closer Will Smith.
The right-handed reliever was a successful closer for the Rangers in 2016, but was designated for assignment after starting the 2017 season with a 10.80 ERA in 17 appearances. He was dealt to the Giants in June for a player to be named later (the Giants completed the deal that November by sending outfield prospect Hunter Cole to Texas).
Dyson quickly found success and comfort in San Francisco, where he has helped solidify the late innings and added a remarkably dry sense of humor to the clubhouse. Dyson had a 2.69 ERA last year in a setup role.
While Dyson has one more year of team control remaining, he is making $5 million this year and would be due a raise that would make him pricey for a non-closer. That made him a trade chip for a team with one of the big league’s best bullpens.
The Giants have relief depth at the upper levels of the minors and have been confident for weeks that any hole could be filled internally. Reyes Moronta and Trevor Gott figure to move up in the pecking order as the makeup of the bullpen changes.
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."
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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.
The Giants' coaching staff under manager Gabe Kapler is starting to take shape.
The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly reported Sunday that San Francisco was in negotiations with Indians defensive coordinator Kai Correa, and sources told NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic on Wednesday that Brian Bannister, a former big leaguer who spent the previous five seasons with the Red Sox, will join the Giants as their director of pitching.
Speaking of pitching, the Giants appear to be on the hunt for a new pitching coach. And their search seems far and wide.
D1Baseball's Kendall Rogers reported Wednesday that the Giants targeted the University of Georgia's pitching coach Sean Kenny for the same role in the big leagues. But, UGA made sure Kenny stayed in Athens.
Kendall says the Giants have looked at several candidates from college and the pros, and Kenny looks like a prime coach on the rise. The former 17th-round pick of the Mets became Georgia's pitching coach before the 2018 season and instantly made a huge impact.
Georgia's pitching staff lowered its team ERA 1.05 points to 3.97 in Kenny's first year on the job, and set a school record with a .236 opponent's batting average. That number dropped to a lowly .200 last season, as UGA's ERA fell to 3.24 while setting a school record with 601 strikeouts.
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The Giants haven't formally announced that Curt Young will not return for a third season as their pitching coach, but it was expected that Kapler would bring in several new coaches. The only known coach to come back next season is Ron Wotus, who will be in his 33rd year with the Giants organization.
Bench coach Hensley Meulens has joined the Mets, and hitting coach Alonzo Powell accepted a job in Japan in the same role.