Giants

What happens to Williamson when Pence returns? Bochy addresses issue

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What happens to Williamson when Pence returns? Bochy addresses issue

SAN FRANCISCO — The outfielders met on the field before batting practice Tuesday to do some extra throwing, and in left field Mac Williamson and Hunter Pence stood side by side. That’s fine at 4:15 p.m., but how will it work when Pence is healthy and both are eligible to play left?

“We’ll cross that bridge when Hunter is ready and we think he’s ready,” Bochy said. “They always tell you it’s a good problem, so hopefully we have a good problem here.”

Pence took early BP and later joined in with the regular session, and his thumb is said to be feeling good. He’ll be eligible to start a rehab assignment before the end of the homestand and Bochy said he would need a few games in San Jose or Sacramento. 

After that … it gets complicated. 

The issue isn’t as much about playing them both as it is about fitting both on the roster. Williamson has two monstrous homers in four starts and anything close to that production will keep him around. The Giants are in desperate need of that kind of game-changing talent. Pence was batting .172 at the time he was put on the disabled list with no homers. 

Austin Jackson is batting just .211 and was out of the leadoff spot Monday, but he was brought in as the starting center fielder and his problems don’t appear to be health-related. Gregor Blanco has a .817 OPS and is leading off against some right-handers. Gorkys Hernandez has a .708 OPS in limited time and Bochy likes his versatility as a defensive replacement. 

Throw in Andrew McCutchen and that’s six outfielders for five spots, and the Giants are not going to keep six outfielders on the active roster. These things often sort themselves out, and there’s some time before Pence is back and done with his rehab assignment, but an awkward situation doesn’t appear to be clearing anytime soon.

Giants owe it to Madison Bumgarner to trade him, Tim Flannery says

Giants owe it to Madison Bumgarner to trade him, Tim Flannery says

For the first three months of the MLB season, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Giants would trade franchise legend Madison Bumgarner before the July 31 MLB trade deadline.

But after winning 12 of their last 14 games, the Giants all of the sudden stand just 2 1/2 games out of a playoff spot, and the chatter of whether they should actually deal Bumgarner has increased exponentially.

Should they trade him anyway despite the recent hot streak? Or should they hold on to their ace and hope he can lead them to another magical October?

NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Tim Flannery, who coached Bumgarner on Bruce Bochy's staff through 2014, believes that if the Giants don’t sign their ace to a market-value contract extension right now, they have to trade him.

“If you’re going to keep him, you have to re-sign him to market value with an extension now,” Flannery told NBC Sports Bay Area. “You can’t keep him and not sign him. Free agency, as we have seen, is not working with the compensation draft pick connected to a team signing him.”

Indeed, free agency was not kind to pitchers last offseason. Both Dallas Keuchel (Atlanta Braves) and Craig Kimbrel (Chicago Cubs) had to wait until June to sign with their current clubs because of the draft pick compensation rule. Essentially, signing a marquee free agent -- like Bumgarner will be this offseason -- would cost the signing team a draft pick in the 2020 MLB draft. 

So for Bumgarner, his market could be tepid this offseason if the Giants hold on to him. But if they trade him this summer, by rule, the draft pick compensation is nullified.

“They owe it to Bumgarner to trade him,” Flannery said, noting how staying put in San Francisco without a new deal could hurt Bumgarner’s earning potential this offseason.

“Bum signed a very team-friendly contract a few years ago. He helped win three world championships and made lots of money for this organization. Now he needs to be treated with class and respect. You either sign him to an extension or trade him so he can get paid and you can get something for him.”

This trade wouldn’t just be the Giants doing charity. Dealing Bumgarner at the deadline instantly would replenish the Giants' farm system and give San Francisco something in return for its ace rather than losing him for nothing in the offseason (other than the aforementioned draft pick compensation). 

Although the Giants are surging right now and there’s optimism for ending Bochy’s last season on a high note, this current group still is not a World Series contender. Holding out hope for the pipe dream of Bumgarner putting the team on his shoulders again simply is not worth it.

[RELATED: What Giants draft pick Bishop learned from Bonds]

The Giants need to trade Bumgarner. It’s in Bumgarner’s best financial interest to get traded by the Giants. Barring an in-season extension, this is the only outcome that makes sense for both sides.

Bumgarner forever will be a legend at 24 Willie Mays Plaza. But as Flannery says, it’s in the best interest for all if he dons another uniform come Aug. 1.

Kevin Pillar wants to gift Giants tickets to fans after heartwarming clip

Kevin Pillar wants to gift Giants tickets to fans after heartwarming clip

Ready for the cutest thing you'll see today? Maybe even this week? Sure you are.

On Wednesday during the Dodgers-Phillies game, a young Phillies fan snagged a foul ball in the stands. Upon retrieval, without skipping a beat, he handed it to another fan.

But just wait for it:

There are really good people in this world, and Giants outfielder Kevin Pillar noticed that after seeing this clip. He wanted to hook these young guys up with some tickets for the next time the Giants are in town:

Twitter can be a really cool place if you use it the right way.

Good on you, Pillar.