Jon Williams

Could former Cubs manager Joe Maddon be Giants' Bruce Bochy successor?

Could former Cubs manager Joe Maddon be Giants' Bruce Bochy successor?

After 25 years at the helm -- including the last 13 with the Giants -- Bruce Bochy’s managerial career officially is over. The legendary skipper retired with 2,003 career wins and three World Series titles. He leaves behind a Giants team that finished 77-85 in 2019 and is ushering in a new era under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi.

Zaidi and the rest of the Giants front office will start their search for a new manager immediately, and there’s one prominent name that just became available: Joe Maddon.

On Sunday, Maddon and the Cubs agreed to part ways after a season where the Cubs missed the playoffs for the first time since he took over as manager before the 2015 season. Maddon led the Cubs to their first World Series championship since 1908 when Chicago defeated the Indians in an epic seven-game series in 2016.

Maddon was one of the first managers to embrace the "analytics" brand of baseball and is well respected around the league. Before taking over the Cubs’ job, he led the low-payroll Rays to the playoffs four times, including the AL pennant in 2008. He owns a 1,225–1,045 career record and wants to keep going.

“I don’t want to wait,” Maddon said of his next managing job. “I’m ready.”

While Maddon’s impressive resume will surely earn consideration from Zaidi, the Giants likely are still a few years away from being true World Series contenders. Maddon might opt for another job that is a little closer to a “win-now” situation than San Francisco, who is waiting for prospects Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos and Marco Luciano to help create a contender two or three years down the road instead of 2020. 

Furthermore, the Giants might prefer a younger manager who Zaidi can hand-pick to develop with the arc of the team. Dodgers special assistant Raul Ibañez, 47, and Angels special assistant Eric Chavez, 41, are two options that would better fit the trajectory of the team than the 65-year old Maddon.

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Regardless of whether or not Maddon is the next skipper to patrol the Giants dugout, the retiring Bochy spoke glowingly about the job that the next manager will inherit -- whomever that may be.

"You got the best job in baseball. And I mean that,” Bochy told reporters after the Giants’ season-ending 9-0 loss to the Dodgers on Sunday.

“You know I talk about the owners, our front office. This city, surrounding areas. The ballpark. The fans. He's getting the best job in baseball”.

Antonio Brown-Raiders saga shows 49ers were smart not to trade for him

Antonio Brown-Raiders saga shows 49ers were smart not to trade for him

The NFL season hasn’t even started yet, and it already appears the 49ers dodged a bullet by not trading for star receiver Antonio Brown over the offseason.

The now-Raiders wideout has been at the center of tons of drama so far in training camp, as he recently threatened to retire from the NFL if he isn’t allowed to wear the helmet he desires (which has been deemed unsafe by NFL standards). Before that, he had suited up for only one Raiders practice after suffering frostbite on his feet after entering a cryo chamber without proper footwear.

Before this tumultuous start to his Raiders career, Brown, then with the Steelers, was the hottest trade chip on the market for much of the offseason. The 49ers, needing another playmaker for QB Jimmy Garoppolo, were heavily rumored to be a potential match for the star receiver. Tight end George Kittle infamously tweeted at Brown, and there were plenty of back-and-forths on social media between AB and the 49ers, including AB photoshopping himself in a 49ers uniform.

But all of that was just speculation. The 49ers front office never appeared to be as sold on Brown as those on social media -- and recent events justify their caution. 

Shortly after the Raiders acquired Brown, NBC Sports Bay Area’s 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco wrote that the 49ers never seemed to be interested in Brown, as coach Kyle Shanahan has always stressed the importance of adding high-character, team-first veterans who are reliable in the locker room. 

Back at the NFL scouting combine in February -- when Brown was still on the market -- 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan spoke about the pros and cons of adding a talented, yet drama-filled star

“You take it into account with everything,” Shanahan said, addressing the topic without alluding to Brown specifically. “That’s why you like to deal with people you know and have an idea on. We try to hold everyone accountable on our team. We’re pretty consistent with that.

“So if someone isn’t like that, yeah, we do have a problem with that. I don’t think anyone is good enough to deal with that.”

This is not a new stance for Shanahan or one specific to AB. After the 49ers coach’s first season at the helm, he spoke about how important it is to have high-character players on his team.

“I do not mind overpaying for character -- guys who are going to come in and work, who compete on the practice field, who can handle being coached, who aren’t coming in extremely sensitive and not putting themselves above anyone else,” Shanahan said back in March, 2018. “If you bring in an entitled guy, it hurts your team.”

Brown is the Raiders’ problem now, and there’s no doubt that Shanahan, 49ers general manager John Lynch and the rest of the organization is thrilled that they do not have to deal with the day-in, day-out drama in Santa Clara.

[RELATED: How Jimmy G is bonding with WRs]

With their first preseason game just hours away, all eyes will be on the 49ers’ players for their contributions on the field, not off it. 

You can bet the 49ers are pretty pleased with that.

A's center fielder Ramón Laureano selected as AL Player of the Week

A's center fielder Ramón Laureano selected as AL Player of the Week

Ramón Laureano had himself a week, and MLB made sure to reward him.

The A's center fielder was named AL Player of the Week for July 15-21, as he hit .542 (13-for-24) with 10 runs, six doubles and two home runs as he led the A's to a 4-2 record during the span.

Laureano reached base in all six games and ranked first among AL players in runs, hits, doubles, extra-base hits and batting average. He ranked second in on-base percentage (.577) and slugging percentage (1.042).

Oh, and he did this as well.

Laureano is the third A's player to win the award in 2019, joining pitcher Mike Fiers (May 12) and shortstop Marcus Semien (June 10) this season.

[RELATED: A's reportedly inquiring on trades for Stroman, Minor]

On the year, Laureano is slashing .284/.334/.518 with 20 home runs and 53 RBI while playing his usual Gold-Glove caliber defense in center.

Not too shabby.