Bobby Evans

Giants GM Bobby Evans explains Buster Posey's power decline

Giants GM Bobby Evans explains Buster Posey's power decline

Since hitting 22 home runs in 2014, the second most of his career behind the 24 in his 2012 National League MVP season, Buster Posey's power has declined in each of the past three years.

Posey followed up 2014 with 19 home runs in 2015, 14 in 2016, and only 12 last season. Through 30 games this year, the Giants' No. 3 hitter has hit just two balls over the fence. 

"Maybe it's an approach at the plate," Giants GM Bobby Evans said Tuesday on KNBR. "Maybe the focus has not been as much about driving the ball as getting on base and trying to get guys across when they are in scoring position."

In his final season at Florida State, Posey launched 26 long balls after combining for seven his first two years in college. While he found his power as a junior, Evans believes where Posey hits the ball hardest hurts him at AT&T Park in San Francisco. 

“I think that his power when he was in college, his power was really to right-center," Evans said. "You know he’s had to make adjustments at the big league level, because right-center power doesn’t play at AT&T Park. So I think it probably has been an adjustment. You know his power’s not a pull-down-the-foul-line, left field foul line, home-run-type power.

"I mean he’s more of a right-center power type guy which doesn’t play at AT&T. So I think it’s probably had an impact there.”

For a catcher who suffered a serious season-ending injury in the past, Posey has been beyond durable. The past six seasons, Posey has averaged 146 games played per year. Evans made it clear there is no hidden injury to worry about with Posey, and at the same, acknowledged he's not 100 percent healthy, just like many other players. 

“I don’t think any of these guys are 100 percent healthy,” Evans said when asked about a possible Posey injury. “I think that he straps it on every day because he’s Buster Posey, and that’s who he is. There’s no way, if you’re a catcher in the big leagues, that you are 100 percent healthy. You’re carrying things all year.” 

Over his career as a Giant, Posey has caught more than 7,000 regular season innings, putting a toll on his body at 31 years old. While he's still the reliable hitter the Giants can count on every game, batting .306 this season, Posey's power certainly may have peaked years ago. 

Impressed at showcase, Giants won't fully rule out Tim Lincecum reunion

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AP

Impressed at showcase, Giants won't fully rule out Tim Lincecum reunion

SCOTTSDALE -- Three years after Tim Lincecum last pitched for them, the Giants still quietly keep No. 55 on the off-limits list. None of the 58 players in camp are wearing it, but some at Scottsdale Stadium have considered the possibility of returning it to the original owner.

The Giants were in attendance Thursday when Lincecum threw for scouts at Driveline Baseball near his Seattle home. Their representative came away impressed, and while it's a long shot, general manager Bobby Evans wouldn't rule out a reunion.

"It's up to the competition of what clubs are bidding on him, and I can't speak to that yet," Evans said. "It's early. We obviously are all rooting for Timmy. Selfishly, anything he does, we would love for it to be in a Giants uniform, but sometimes opportunities on the business side dictate otherwise. But we're always rooting for him."

Several members of the organization still keep in touch with Lincecum regularly, and Evans said he spoke to his agent, Rick Thurman, recently. The report Evans got from the workout was positive.

"The velo was up, the breaking ball was sharp with good depth," Evans said. "He looked really fit and strong and prepared for a comeback. It was impressive."

While some reports had Lincecum hitting 93 mph, the Giants had him sitting 91-92. That's still a noticeable tick up from his last stint with them, although it was a controlled environment and it's unclear how many pitches Lincecum threw. If he is interested in a return, that could ultimately be a deciding factor. The Giants have always been interested in Lincecum's potential as a reliever, but they don't have a starting spot open, and Lincecum's side has indicated he wants to keep starting.

"That's still his heartbeat," Evans said. 

Sabean's return: Giants want team's dominant mind to be dominant again

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AP

Sabean's return: Giants want team's dominant mind to be dominant again

Brian Sabean’s return to the con in San Francisco, as first reported by noted troublemaker and barista A. Baggarly in The Athletic, is not a turn back to the past as much as it is a demand for a better future.

That is, unless the Giants sign Tim Lincecum, in which case you never read Paragraph One.

But Sabean’s return means that Giants ownership (presumably president Larry Baer and major stockholder Charlie Johnson) wants the team’s dominant baseball mind to be dominant again.

This of course generates rich speculation about current general manager Bobby Evans’ future, but that probably is beside the point . . . at least through the current calendar year. This isn’t really about Evans specifically anyway – it’s about ownewrship’s impatience, fear of a worrisome unknown and need for the comfort of the man who succeeded.

The Giants are at a similar fork in the highway as they were when Sabean first took the job in 1997. The 1996 Giants were 68-94, older chronologically against the league average, offensively substandard and horrific as a pitching staff. A year later, they won 90, got younger, improved in both areas, and then did it again in 1998. From that turnaround, they began what can fairly be described as the franchise’s renaissance, which finally ended last year with what in the eyes of most baseball experts and all meaningful metrics was the fourth worst year in the franchise’s 136-year history.

And because Sabean actually never left daily contact with the team and its decision-makers, this isn’t your standard chase for past glories fixation. It is, however, a measure of how little patience the Giants are willing to be with their present predicament.

But mostly, this is the team understanding that its ability to identify, develop and lure young talents is what saved it at the turn of the century and will have to do so again at the turn of the decade if they intend to make 2017 a blip rather than a harbinger.

The Giants could conceivably spend their way back into relevance, but their money wasn’t good enough for Giancarlo Stanton when every other suitor would be paying exactly the same number, and for that matter neither was their reliance on “We won three rings and we have a full stadium.” That they thought their past could work more than their present with a player who is looking for a future is a sign that they have over-relied on the lure of the good old days.

So they want that changed . . . with the guy who built those good old days. If that seems inconsistent, well, it is. But impatience and fear are going to do what they do, and Brian Sabean is as good an answer as they are likely to find. Which is why they found it.