SAN FRANCISCO -- The first known name to interview for Bruce Bochy's old job is a familiar one.
Bench coach Hensley Meulens will interview this week to be the Giants' next manager, according to league sources. Meulens, who just finished his 10th season on the Giants' staff, has long been considered a future manager and will get the first shot to impress Farhan Zaidi, who will choose Bochy's successor.
The 52-year-old has spent the last two seasons as Bochy's bench coach and previously worked as hitting coach for eight years, winning three championships. He also has drawn praise for his work as manager of the Dutch team in the 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classics.
A former big leaguer, Meulens is well-liked by players and is considered well-versed in the analytics and approaches that are becoming a bigger part of the game with each passing year. He speaks five languages, including Spanish and Japanese, a big plus for any potential manager.
There are few holes in Meulens' resume, and he has been an up-and-coming candidate for years, prompting the Giants to keep him on staff as bench coach even when they wanted to make a change with their hitting coach.
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Meulens has previously interviewed for other top jobs and reportedly came in second to Aaron Boone for the Yankees' opening two years ago. He also has talked to the Reds, Twins and Tigers in recent years.
The Giants have a vacancy for the first time in 13 years. Zaidi is believed to have a long list of candidates and the process is expected to last well into November.
The Giants lost an All-Star early in free agency when closer Will Smith signed with his hometown Atlanta Braves last week.
Smith's departure left a clear void in San Francisco's bullpen, as he tied for fifth in MLB with a career-high 31 saves in 2019. Replacing Smith is a clear priority for Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, but he told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on Tuesday that he is in no rush to name a new closer.
"We've got some time to figure that out," Zaidi said on "The TK Show" podcast. "I don't think we need to decide that before Thanksgiving here, but one of the benefits for us of having made some of the trades we made at the deadline is it gave us the opportunity to see some of the younger relievers in our organization. Guys like Tyler Rogers, Jandel Gustave and Sam Coonrod. [These are guys] that could work their way into the picture and work their way into late-inning [situations] in 2020."
Rogers, Gustave and Coonrod were bright spots as rookies last season. None of the trio pitched more than 30 innings, but each showed potential pitching out of the bullpen in August and September. Rogers pitched the fewest innings of the three (17 2/3), but was worth nearly a win above replacement in his appearances, according to Baseball Reference's metrics.
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No matter which of the three emerges, the Giants are going to have a different look in the late innings next season. That could include a free-agent acquisition as well, according to Zaidi.
"Our closer may be in the organization right now," Zaidi continued. "We're going to continue to shop around and see what options are out there, but we at least like the depth that we have in our group of relievers."
SAN FRANCISCO -- As Farhan Zaidi and the rest of the front office started the search for a new manager, the coaching staff was given time to look for new jobs. Hitting coach Alonso Powell ended up across the ocean, but his new job will still be a familiar one.
Powell will join the staff of the Chunichi Dragons, a Japanese team based in Nagoya. He played for the Dragons for six seasons, hitting .355 in one of them and won three straight batting titles while starring in Nagoya from 1992-97. Powell is reportedly already working with the team:
The Giants had kept quiet about Powell's status, but they are expected to have nearly a completely new staff under Gabe Kapler, who was hired last week. Ron Wotus will return as third base coach, but he was the only holdover to attend Kapler's press conference.
Bullpen coach Matt Herges has already joined the Arizona Diamondbacks as pitching coach and former bench coach Hensley Meulens has been offered a job by the Marlins. Meulens was also thought to be a candidate for the Mets bench coach job, and he has not officially been announced as a staff member for the Marlins. It's unclear where pitching coach Curt Young, assistant hitting coach Rick Schu, and first base coach Jose Alguacil currently stand.
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Powell, a Bay Area native, came to the Giants after the 2017 season with the task of getting an aging lineup to hit for more power. There were success stories, and Powell was popular within the organization, but he was unable to squeeze much more out of a veteran group. Powell came from Houston and brought some new methods to the Giants, and they're expected to go even further in that direction. The addition of Kapler, along with former Cubs executive Scott Harris, indicates the Giants will dive even deeper into analytics.