Paul Goldschmidt traded out of NL West after seven years of crushing Giants

Paul Goldschmidt traded out of NL West after seven years of crushing Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Paul Goldschmidt was hitting .208 on June 8. In Phoenix, the local coverage was full of "What's wrong with Goldschmidt" pieces, and national writers anonymously quoted scouts and executives who wondered if the 31-year-old was starting a steep decline. 

And then the Diamondbacks visited AT&T Park. 

Goldschmidt had one hit the first night, and then three in the second game. In the final game of the series, he had four hits, including three doubles, raising his average to .233 and his OPS to .773, 52 points above where it had been at the start of the series. 

This was nothing new of course. It was also the end of an era. That series helped spur Goldschmidt to another fantastic season -- .290 average, 33 homers, .922 OPS -- but Giants pitchers no longer have to deal with a man who has hit them at an astounding rate over the years. 

Goldschmidt was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday for a package of prospects and young players who can jumpstart a rebuild at Chase Field. It's a sad day for Diamondbacks fans. Goldschmidt was the face of the franchise, a perennial MVP candidate who hit .297 in eight seasons, with 209 homers. A good chunk of that damage was done against the Giants. 

Goldschmidt has 22 homers against the Giants in 469 at-bats, with with 31 doubles, 79 RBI and 78 runs. As a Diamondback, he averaged more than a hit per start against the Giants, and he wasn't bothered by their cavernous park. In 68 career games at AT&T Park, he has a .990 OPS, 11 homers, 21 doubles and three triples. 

Goldschmidt has been particularly cruel to the best the Giants have had to offer. He has faced Madison Bumgarner more than any other pitcher, and has 22 hits -- including three homers -- and 11 walks in 78 place appearances. He has a .999 OPS against the Giants' current ace and was at .874 against one of their former aces, Matt Cain. Goldschmidt hit Ryan Vogelsong hard, has had some success against Johnny Cueto, and has crushed the dreams of numerous Giants relievers late in games. 

Then, of course, there is Tim Lincecum. 

In good times and bad, Lincecum could never find a way to get Goldschmidt out. After one homer in 2012, Lincecum insisted that it wasn't in his head. 

"I'm not hoping," he said at the time. "I'm going to figure it out."

He never quite did. In 28 at-bats against Lincecum, Goldschmidt had 15 hits. He homered seven times, drove in 17 runs and posted a 1,916 OPS. To his credit, Lincecum was always up to the challenge, and he walked Goldschmidt just five times as he tried to find a way to solve him. At some point, though, manager Bruce Bochy said it was about time to adjust and start taking the bat out of Goldschmidt's hands. 

"There are times where you go, 'Wait a minute, this is not working,' “ Bochy said in 2013. “That's the definition of insanity, right? When it happens over and over again."

The Giants never did quite find a way, even after Lincecum was long gone. Goldschmidt had 10 homers off them the past three seasons, but now he's no longer a concern, at least until next July 5. 

That's the day the Cardinals roll into town.

MLB rumors: Giants interested in Astros' Joe Espada for manager role

MLB rumors: Giants interested in Astros' Joe Espada for manager role

Go ahead and add another name to the candidacy list to take over the Giants' managerial role after Bruce Bochy announced his retirement following the 2019 season.

San Francisco reportedly has asked the Houston Astros for permission to speak to Joe Espada, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman. Espada also is a candidate for the Cubs' managing job.

Espada, 44, currently is the bench coach for the Astros. His background before joining Houston includes a stint with the New York Yankees as the special assistant to general manager Brian Cashman in 2014, where he later was named the team's third-base coach. Before that, he was the third base coach for the Miami Marlins.  

He also coached the Puerto Rican team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. 

Espada was drafted by the Oakland A's in the second round of the 1996 MLB Draft and spent a decade playing internationally and made it through to Triple-A.

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He joins a list of potential Giants managers that includes Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro, former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler and A's quality control coach Mark Kotsay ... to name a few.

As Heyman points out, this is a younger group of candidates, which appears to be the theme across the board for Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi.

There surely will be many more names to come before we know who will man the Giants' dugout in 2020.

MLB rumors: Giants interested in Rays coach Matt Quatraro for manager

MLB rumors: Giants interested in Rays coach Matt Quatraro for manager

A new name has been added to the running list of candidates to be the next Giants manager. 

The Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin reported Thursday that the Giants are interested in Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro to fill their managerial opening left by Bruce Bochy's retirement. 

Quatraro, 45, was named Tampa Bay's bench coach prior to last season. He spent the 2018 season as the Rays' third base coach after four seasons as the Indians' assistant hitting coach. 

The Indians ranked fifth in MLB in runs per game (4.6) during his time in Cleveland and fifth in on-base percentage (.327). By comparison, the Giants ranked 28th in the majors last season in total runs scored (678) and in on-base percentage (.302). 

While Quatraro doesn't have managing experience in the big leagues, he has managed in the minors. Quatraro managed two seasons in Short-Season Class A Hudson Valley (2006-07), one season for Class A Columbus (2008) and one season for Class A Bowling Green (2009). '

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Quatraro joins known Giants candidates Hensley Meulens and Ron Wotus, Mark Kotsay, Pedro Grifol, Gabe Kapler and Wil Venable to possibly be the next manager in San Francisco. 

President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi will search far and wide, and Quatraro seems to check every box he's looking for.