Giants

Some Madison Bumgarner trade reports not accurate, says Farhan Zaidi

Some Madison Bumgarner trade reports not accurate, says Farhan Zaidi

SAN FRANCISCO -- It's a question that will hang over Farhan Zaidi's first offseason in charge of the Giants, and he'll surely get it dozens of times next week at the annual Winter Meetings.

"What are you going to do with Madison Bumgarner?"

During an appearance on KNBR on Wednesday, Zaidi said much of the speculation is misguided. 

"I can tell you this, and it speaks a little bit to the accuracy of some of those reports, one of the teams that was mentioned in that (MLB.com) article shot me a text the morning it came out and said, 'Hey, I hear we're talking to you guys about Madison Bumgarner. Should we be?'" Zaidi said. "That gives you a little sense of the accuracy of some of the stuff that's out there."

[RELATED: MLB rumors: Giants' Madison Bumgarner not 'going anywhere' in trade]

The Braves, Brewers and Phillies are teams recently connected to any Bumgarner talks, although many of the whispers have been based on the beliefs of rival executives and most of what remains out there is speculation. Zaidi said in his introductory press conference that he has to be open to anything given the state of the franchise, which would obviously include trading Bumgarner, but it seems likely that he could get a better package before the July 31 trade deadline. Bumgarner has one year remaining on a team-friendly deal. 

Zaidi said he already has made contact with all 29 other front offices in an effort to find trade matches. 

"It's still early in the offseason and teams are trying to figure out what they're going to do, what they're going to try to fill by trade versus free agency," he said. "We've talked about a bunch of our different players in different contexts. We're really focused on, not just the long-term health of the organization, but also trying to make this team as good as possible for 2019. 

"I think those conversations are really going to pick up in the next week or 10 days, but again, we have really good players on this team that I would expect a lot of teams to have interest in."

The Winter Meetings start Monday at the Mandalay Bay casino in Las Vegas. 

Alex Eats: Alaska Airlines 'pushing the needle' with healthier food options

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NBC Sports Bay Area

Alex Eats: Alaska Airlines 'pushing the needle' with healthier food options

During the 2019 MLB season, Giants Insider Alex Pavlovic took one for the team by tasting some of the unique food options at ballparks around the country.

Not many of the things he ate were healthy.

But on the latest episode of "Alex Eats," Pavlovic got to try some healthy food options that will be debuting soon on Alaska Airlines flights.

"We're trying to make it healthy, fun and flavorful," Alaska Airlines director of community and public relations Oriana Branon said. "We took a trip in coordination with Global SF to Singapore and Hong Kong for Future of Food Innovation Summit. It's all about learning what the future of food is, innovation trends coming down the pipeline so we can incorporate that on board."

The first item that Pavlovic tried was vegetarian bibimbap, which consists of streamed rice, sauteed seasonal vegetables, fried egg and a spicy sweet sauce. This option will be available in First Class on Alaska Airlines flights, according to Branon.

Pavlovic washed it down with a ginger carrot bisque soup.

The last item Pavlovic tasted was the roasted chicken with clementine. The chicken comes on a bed of basmati rice.

Most of Alaska Airlines' healthier food options are part of the Winter 2020 menu and will be available starting on Dec. 16, 2019.

"This is airline food, but it's not airline food," Pavlovic said.

"It's not your tradition airline food," Branon said. "We're pushing the needle here."

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.