Versatile Yangervis Solarte shows Giants he can add to outfield depth


Versatile Yangervis Solarte shows Giants he can add to outfield depth

When the Giants signed veteran Yangervis Solarte to a minor league deal this offseason, it was another sign of versatility that president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi covets on his roster. 

The thought, though, was Solarte could be slotted in all around the infield as a powerful backup and platoon player. On Monday, he reminded the Giants he can do even more than that. 

Solarte played six innings of left field in the Giants' 8-2 spring training loss to the Dodgers. He didn't have a chance to record any outs, but he did chase down two doubles and a triple. 

"He looked all right," manager Bruce Bochy said to reporters, via "In early work, he looked comfortable. He's all for it, and that's the big part of it."

The move to the outfield was his first work of action since 2014. In that season, Solarte played seven games in left field for the Padres and had one error. The ability to add depth to the outfield will help both himself and the team. 

Around the infield, the Giants are bringing back the same starters as last season -- Brandon Belt at first base, Joe Panik at second, Evan Longoria at third, and Brandon Crawford at shortstop. But the outfield remains a mystery. 

Steven Duggar is set to man center field, and could be the Giants' leadoff hitter. After that, the corners are up for grabs with young players trying to prove themselves and veteran Gerardo Parra. Solarte could certainly find plenty of playing time. 

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Last season, the 31-year-old switch-hitter hit 17 home runs, which would have led the Giants. He also played all four infield positions, and Bochy has taken account for the importance of his versatility. 

"Those guys are so important," Bochy said. "Guys that give you versatility. If they're going well, then you find different places to keep them out there and spots to play, obviously, to rest guys. That was a big signing for us."

MLB rumors: Mark Kotsay entered Giants manager interviews as favorite

MLB rumors: Mark Kotsay entered Giants manager interviews as favorite

As the Giants watch the World Series from home, their search for a new manager continues. Replacing a legend like Bruce Bochy won't be easy, but president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi can't wait forever. 

Interviews have begun, and the favorite coming into the process might be someone who would just have to switch sides in the Bay Area. The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly reported Monday that "word around the industry is that [Mark] Kotsay entered this process as a favored candidate." One source also told Baggarly that he would be surprised if the Giants didn't hire Kotsay.

NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic first reported on Oct. 9 that the Giants would interview Kotsay, who currently serves as the A's quality control coach.

Kotsay, 43, had a 17-year MLB career where he spent four seasons -- 2004 through '07 -- as an outfielder for the A's. Zaidi was a baseball operations analyst in Oakland when Kotsay played for the A's. 

Kotsay retired after the 2013 season and became a special assistant in the San Diego Padres' front office the next season. He then served as the Padres' hitting coach for the 2015 season and was the A's bench coach in 2016. 

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The Giants already interviewed in-house candidates Hensley Meulens and Ron Wotus. The San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman and John Shea reported Monday that San Francisco also interviewed Cubs first base coach Wil Venable on Friday.

Other reported candidates include Astros bench coach Joe Espada, Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler

Could Madison Bumgarner's bad road stats hurt him in MLB free agency?

Could Madison Bumgarner's bad road stats hurt him in MLB free agency?

Madison Bumgarner is entering free agency at a curious time in his career. The longtime Giants ace has built a legendary reputation, but plenty of question marks also surround the 30-year-old.

Bumgarner proved he's still a workhorse after missing time the previous two seasons with freak injuries. His 34 starts were tied for the MLB lead, and his 207 2/3 innings pitched ranked second in the NL.

But while looking at Bumgarner's stats from this past season, one thing stands out that could hurt him in free agency and actually help the Giants if they want to bring back the left-hander.

MadBum's home-road splits were staggering in 2019. He was a completely different pitcher in front of the home crowd at Oracle Park, compared to pitching away from San Francisco.

Here are Bumgarner's home stats this past season, compared to when he pitched on the road.

Home: 19 GS, 6-2, 2.93 ERA, 122 2/3 IP, 40 ER, 15 HR, 120 SO, 21 BB, 0.93 WHIP, 5.71 SO/W
Away: 15 GS, 3-7, 5.29 ERA, 85 IP, 50 ER, 15 HR, 83 SO, 22 BB, 1.41 WHIP, 3.77 SO/W

Oracle Park is known as a pitcher's dream. In fact, the Giants' home park was the least favorable for offenses this season by Park Factors, per ESPN. The 11-year veteran used that his advantage, but that luxury didn't follow him on the road.

Bumgarner allowed the same amount of homers in four fewer road games as he did at home. He also walked one more batter and allowed five more hits -- 98 on the road, compared to 93 at home. For someone with a lot of mileage on his arm and his fastball declining in velocity, that's certainly alarming.

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As a pitcher who's never tested the open market and has spent his entire career in a pitcher's paradise, these numbers will be looked at closely by front offices around the league this offseason.

Bumgarner figures to join Gerrit Cole, among others, as the most coveted starting pitchers in free agency. So, while his road numbers could help the Giants in keeping him in San Francisco, they also could prevent the veteran from signing the hefty contract he likely desires.