Giants

Why Steven Duggar wants to bring bunts back to life for Giants in 2019

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AP

Why Steven Duggar wants to bring bunts back to life for Giants in 2019

The art of the bunt is dead, and it sounds like Steven Duggar is trying to bring it back to life. 

"I would love to get back to the comfortability that I had on laying bunts down, especially last year in spring training," Duggar said Tuesday night on KNBR. "I think I lost a little bit of that when I went to [Sacramento]. I didn't do it enough for some reason, I don't know why." 

Six different players led Major League Baseball in bunt base hits with eight last season. Duggar, in 41 games with the Giants, went 0-for-2 when squaring around to bunt in 2018. 

[RELATED: Giants' Steven Duggar 'making some really big strides' in shoulder rehab]

Speed has always been Duggar's best natural attribute to his game. The 6-foot-2 center fielder uses it to track down balls with ease at AT&T Park and he plans to use it more effectively in Year 2 on offense. 

"It's another weapon I think I need to use in my game," Duggar continued with his desire to put down more drag bunts. "I think Buster [Posey] brought that to light last year when I got called up and I completely agree with him."

Duggar did use his speed to collect seven infield hits as a rookie last season and he stole five bases while only getting caught once. He plans to use his speed to his advantage on the bases as well as at the plate. 

"Stealing bags and dropping some bunts down are something that I'm really trying to improve on," Duggar said. 

[RELATED: Why Giants assistant hitting coach sent Steven Duggar film of Nick Markakis]

The Giants hope Duggar is their leadoff hitter of the future and possibly as soon as 2019. He struggled in his eight games as a leadoff hitter last season, but plenty can change next year now that the 25-year-old has major league experience under his belt. 

While Duggar will likely never be someone who hits 25 home runs every year, his skill set can fit perfectly for AT&T Park. His left-handed stroke has gap power and if he lays down a few bunts and becomes a threat on the bases, his speed can be a real factor atop the Giants' lineup for years to come.

Barry Bonds getting support from early ballots to Baseball Hall of Fame

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USATSI

Barry Bonds getting support from early ballots to Baseball Hall of Fame

The National Baseball Hall of Fame electees will be announced on Jan. 22. with the induction ceremony to take place on July 21.

And just like clockwork, the question surrounding Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens has been brought up once again: Should Bonds and Clemens be considered for the Hall of Fame despite being connected to performance-enhancing drugs?

While this won't answer that question, there are signs that the ice is thawing out on a discussion that has been capped for a long time. With 182 ballots revealed, MLB.com's public ballots show huge support of Clemens and Bonds. And Ryan Thibodaux, as well as his team, who track the ballots notice an upward trend between the two controversial stars.

"We've noticed all six of [MLB.com] voters voted for Bonds," Thibodaux told NBC Sports Bay Area. "Overall, Bonds and Clemens look like they will see a rather small increase in their vote percentages this year."

Thibodaux also said we shouldn't get used to those high percentages located next to Bonds and Clemens, they will more than likely fall to the 60-percent range once other large outlets like ESPN reveal their voters' ballots. 

"They typically do relatively poorly on these late-arriving ballots," Thibodaux said. 

Then, Bonds and Clemens will likely fall even further as more and more ballots are revealed. That's standard.

It can cause some concern for Bonds and Clemens supporters, knowing this may be how it'll be until the two run out of chances. They only have a few more opportunities to get elected, but there is still hope.

"Every year, new voters come in who reach 10 years in the BBWAA, and older voters who haven't covered baseball for 10 years lose their vote. Bonds and Clemens do very well among the younger, newer voters, and poorly among the older set."

This may not be enough to have them hit the 75-percent mark, but it will be close.

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter for MLB.com, and a Hall of Fame voter, did indeed vote for the Bonds and Clemens on his ballot -- and he's done it for the last three years since he was given the chance. 

"Bonds is the best player I ever watched play, and Clemens -- if not the best pitcher I've ever watched pitch, he's certainly in the top three," Feinsand told NBC Sports Bay Area. "And yes, there's a lot of circumstantial evidence that each of them used PEDs. but at the same time, they both played in the testing era and never tested positive."

Jon Morosi, also of MLB.com spoke to KNBR on Wednesday saying something similar.

"I voted for Bonds and Clemens, as I have every year,” said Morosi. “For now, at least, my policy regarding players tied to PED use remains unchanged: I do not vote for players suspended under MLB’s drug policy from 2005 to present, but I support the best-all-around players from the complicated era that preceded it.”

[RELATED: Barry Bonds kept out of Hall for the sixth year]

Could the demographics of the voters be the ultimate say in whether these players under the dark cloud of steroids get voted in? Perhaps.

What we do know is the steroid era happened -- we don't necessarily know when it started and who did and did not participate in being exposed to the PEDs -- but the voters continue to speak.

Whether or not anyone is listening is another thing. 

Why Duane Kuiper believes Derek Holland is 'perfect guy' for Giants

Why Duane Kuiper believes Derek Holland is 'perfect guy' for Giants

Farhan Zaidi made his second notable move (see Pat Venditte) as president of baseball operations on Monday when he re-signed lefty Derek Holland to a one-year, $7 million contract.

Both Holland and the Giants wanted the reunion.

For Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper, the move makes complete sense.

"Holland's the perfect guy to sign," Kuiper said on Wednesday on KNBR 680. "Think about all the boxes he checks: He wants to be here, he had a good year, he's a left-hander, he got lefties out in a division where there's a lot of left-handed hitters, he's a good guy, he's great in the clubhouse. He checks all the boxes."

While Holland can pitch out of the bullpen, he's expected to slot somewhere into the Giants' rotation with Madison Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija, Dereck Rodriguez, and Andrew Suarez.

Holland got a sizable raise from his 2018 salary of $1.75 million, but Kuiper believes it's actually a good deal compared to what other starting pitchers have been getting on the free agent market this offseason.

"He's a lot more expensive this year than he was last year," Kuiper said. "But he's not off the charts, like 'Ah man, what are we going to do?' He's the perfect guy and I don't think Farhan is close to being finished with this roster."

During a conference call on Monday, Zaidi noted that there's still a lot of time to add players to the roster, and is specifically looking to address the outfield situation.

"We have quite a few guys that we're looking at in the outfield mix," Zaidi said. "I'm still optimistic that we're going to add on that front. We've obviously got a group of guys that we like, but they're inexperienced. Adding some experience and known production in the outfield is something we'd like to do."