Giants

Sources: Giants down to three candidates in search for new manager

Sources: Giants down to three candidates in search for new manager

SAN FRANCISCO -- A year ago, Larry Baer and the Giants ownership group had to wait until the end of the World Series to get a chance to hire their man. This time around, it's Farhan Zaidi, last offseason's big hire, who has had to be patient. 

But Zaidi and the Giants appear to be zeroing in on a new manager. 

According to league sources, the Giants are believed to have narrowed their search to former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler, Royals quality control coach Pedro Grifol and Astros bench coach Joe Espada, who is coming in for a second in-person interview now that Houston's bid for a title is over.

The Giants talked to Espada on the phone early in a search process that kicked into gear in the week after Bruce Bochy's final game. Before Game 3 of the World Series, he flew from Houston to San Francisco for several hours of interviews before catching a late afternoon flight to Washington D.C. 

Kapler, fired by the Phillies after two seasons, has long been an option because of his connection to Zaidi when both worked for the Dodgers. According to one source, Kapler has at points been the favorite in the process, but it's unclear where the search stands currently.

Grifol, who also interviewed for the Royals job that went to Mike Matheny, has been a dark horse throughout but comes with a strong background. 

Grifol is 49 years old, while both Kapler and Espada are 44. Kapler is the only one of the trio with previous big league managerial experience, and while his time in Philadelphia was rocky, Zaidi has talked of the importance of having done the job before. 

The Giants have had nine known candidates for the job, although it's possible that others were brought in given how secretive the process has been. Nobody representing the organization has spoken publicly about the search since Zaidi's end-of-season press conference on Oct. 1. 

[RELATED: Bochy clarifies 'one more shot' comments on managing again]

Internal candidates Ron Wotus and Hensley Meulens were joined by the three mentioned above, A's bench coach Mark Kotsay, Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro and Cubs first base coach Will Venable. According to Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic, the Giants also spoke to Dodgers bench coach Bob Geren.

Zaidi said he expected to interview eight to 10 candidates. 

Giants' Mauricio Dubon needs jersey number after Gabe Kapler took his

Giants' Mauricio Dubon needs jersey number after Gabe Kapler took his

Gabe Kapler had his introductory press conference as the Giants' new manager, and he's chosen his uniform number as well.

The skipper has chosen No. 19 to sport this season, which means young infielder Mauricio Dubon will have to choose a new number -- and he needs your help.

He recently took to Twitter and asked what number he should wear now that he has to make the switch: 

No. 21 appeared to stand out from a Milwaukee Brewer's fan account, since Honduras became a country in 1821. Dubon was born in Honduras in 1994 (sorry to make you guys feel old).

[RELATED: Dubon gets engaged at Disneyland Paris]

Five-time All-Star second baseman Jeff Kent also sported the number with San Francisco.

We shall see ... 

Giants continue Triples Alley construction, moving bullpens off field

Giants continue Triples Alley construction, moving bullpens off field

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gabe Kapler and Scott Harris both went through the same drill earlier this week, standing near the home dugout at Oracle Park as a team photographer grabbed shots from their first days on the job. Behind the two new members of the brain trust, construction workers continued the work that started last month.

The Giants plan to make an official announcement about the changing dimensions of their ballpark, and the new locations of the bullpen, soon, but those who attended the press conferences this week -- and a TopGolf event the park hosted last week -- got a sneak preview. 

A chunk of the bleacher seats in right center have already been ripped out to make room for the new bullpens, and some seats have also been taken out in left center to accommodate other changes to the ballpark. But team president and CEO Larry Baer said the changes won't be drastic for hitters. 

"Triples Alley will still be Triples Alley, just with some refinements," Baer said. 

The Giants are still figuring out some of the exact details, but they know the bullpens will be side-by-side in center and right center. The kale garden will remain, although it sounds like there will be some changes to the dimensions out there because the center-field wall is coming in about six feet, which should please hitters. 

The deepest part of the park -- the nemesis for Brandon Belt and other left-handed hitters -- is 421 feet and will ultimately be closer to 410 feet when the construction is done, the Giants think. The Giants put a bar underneath the new scoreboard last season and plan to have additional changes, including a terrace, out there this year, continuing a trend around the game -- seen across the bridge in Oakland -- of having more gathering spots for fans. 

[RELATED: What Kapler learned from Phillies tenure]

Even as they held two press conferences last week, the Giants remained coy about their exact plans for the dimensions, but they expect to take out about 400 seats.

Some of those may be made up for in other spots. There is a short wall separating the old bullpens from the first row of seats and about 80 feet of that wall has been taken down on both sides of the park, which would seem to indicate that the Giants are going to add some premium seating in some of that territory.