Pittsburgh Pirates

MLB rumors: Kevan Graves, Pete Putila added to Giants' GM search

MLB rumors: Kevan Graves, Pete Putila added to Giants' GM search

The Pittsburgh Pirates began making some staffing changes when they fired manager Clint Hurdle last season. They're also making some front-office changes with their current general manager search. 

The changes mirror that of the Giants who are currently on their own hunt to fill the same position -- and both teams appear to be interested in Kevan Graves.

Graves, the Pirates interim GM after Pittsburgh dismissed Neal Huntington last week, is a candidate in San Francisco's quest to fill the position under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. MLB.com's Adam Berry reported the news Thursday, citing a source. 

Berry explained Graves assisted Huntington with having his hand in just about everything from roster management, player evaluation, financial planning ... the list goes on-and-on.

With Graves being considered to take over for the job he's already doing with the Pirates, that could create an obvious, easy solution for the team he and Huntington did so much for.

He's not the only candidate for the Giants, however.

The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal also reported Thursday that Houston Astros farm director Pete Putila is among candidates for the Giants' GM vacancy as well. He joins Chicago Cubs assistant GM Scott Harris and Graves as known candidates.

Putila's addition could be just what Zaidi would want in a GM.

[RELATED: Madison Bumgarner 'most fascinating' free agent]

From the beginning, Zaidi has been saying to pay attention to the younger guys. Putila's background with a very successful organization included a role in player development at the major-league level, but still having his main focus in the minor leagues. He's comfortable with the lower levels of the organizations and helped the Astros with their goal-setting program for each player in the organization. That alone sings to the tune of what Zaidi wants.

Still, Rosenthal added it's unclear where the Giants are in the current search.  

Giants vs. Pirates lineups: Buster Posey catching Jeff Samardzija

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Giants vs. Pirates lineups: Buster Posey catching Jeff Samardzija

Buster Posey is back behind the dish Thursday in the Giants' series finale against the Pirates at Oracle Park. 

Posey will be catching starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija. The duo has fared well this season, too. 

Samardzija has a 3.31 ERA in 20 games this season with Posey catching, compared to a 4.93 ERA in seven games as battery mates with Stephen Vogt. 

At the plate, Posey looks to continue a strong start to September. After batting just .225 in August, the former MVP has a .368 batting average in six games this month. 

Coverage begins with Giants Pregame Live at 11:30 a.m. PT on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming on the My Teams app.

Here are the full Giants-Pirates lineups: 

San Francisco Giants (70-76)
LF Mike Yastrzemski
C Buster Posey
1B Brandon Belt
3B Evan Longoria
CF Kevin Pillar
SS Brandon Crawford
RF Jaylin Davis
2B Mauricio Dubon
RHP Jeff Samardzija (10-11, 3.64)

Pittsburgh Pirates (64-82)
2B Adam Frazier
CF Bryan Reynolds
3B Colin Moran
1B Josh Bell
RF Jose Osuna
SS Cole Tucker
LF Kevin Kramer
Jacob Stallings
RHP Joe Musgrove (9-12, 4.67)

Giants taking look at rookie pitchers who might be part of next wave

Giants taking look at rookie pitchers who might be part of next wave

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants had five rookies in the starting lineup on Wednesday night, and there wasn't any more experience coming out of the bullpen. Four of the six relievers to follow right-hander Logan Webb were rookies, continuing a late-season trend. 

Trades and injuries have blown up the bullpen, so the Giants are taking a look at guys who might be part of the next wave. The same goes for the rotation, where the 22-year-old Webb is getting an extended tryout. 

Relying on youth can get ugly at times. Webb had a rough one and the Giants lost 6-3 to a Pirates team that has been one of the worst in the National League. The Giants have lost seven of their 11 September games, but the evaluation will go on. Here's a breakdown of the five rookies to take the mound Wednesday: 

Logan Webb 

Making his fifth start, Webb failed to get through five full innings for the third time. He was pulled in the fifth and charged with four earned on seven hits and a walk. The contact wasn't particularly hard, but Webb struggled with his command, particularly with a slider that kept veering towards the left-handed batter's box. 

"It's frustrating," Webb said. "I'm a competitor. I want to put the team in the best position to win and I didn't do that. It's frustrating."

Webb followed Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto in the rotation and has a chance this month to jump to the front of the line of young starters vying for 2020 jobs. So far, Webb has a 6.75 ERA as a big leaguer. 

"It's about executing your pitches," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He had good stuff tonight, he did. He had a little bit of trouble executing the breaking ball early. The kid's got good stuff. He just made some mistakes."

Sam Selman 

The lefty took over in the sixth after the Giants had scored three runs to cut the deficit to one. Selman showed his fastball-slider combo while getting two quick outs, but then walked a pinch-hitter. Cole Tucker, the Pirates excitable rookie, jumped on a hanging slider and yanked an RBI double to left. 

Selman was a revelation for the River Cats this season but has yet to carry that over. He has given up a run in four of six appearances. 

Tyler Rogers 

The most notable part of his evening was the fact that he warmed up to "Yellow Submarine." Rogers faced just one batter, elevating a slider that Kevin Newman harmlessly bounced out. That stranded a runner on third. 

The funky right-hander has allowed just two runs in nine appearances and looks like he could be part of the solution next season. It remains a complete mystery why the Giants didn't feel the need to take a look at him last year or the year before that. 

Sam Coonrod 

He quietly has made the most appearances (26) of any active Giants reliever other than Will Smith, and he should be pretty happy with his body of work. Coonrod got through the heart of Pittsburgh's order to lower his ERA to 3.09. 

At the same time, it'll be interesting to see how an analytics-driven front office views Coonrod's work. He has a 4.71 FIP and the strikeout rate of 6.2 is what you would expect from Ty Blach, not someone with a 98 mph fastball. If the Giants can get Coonrod to miss a few more bats, he could be a real weapon. 

[RELATED: Anderson could be Giants' solution at closer beyond 2019]

Conner Menez 

Giants officials have long gone back and forth on whether his future is as a starter or reliever. Like Shaun Anderson, his quickest path to a consistent big league job will be as a reliever. The 24-year-old made his third appearance out of the bullpen and struck out No. 3 hitter Colin Moran before getting cleanup hitter Josh Bell to take an ugly two-strike swing at a slider down and in. 

Menez has faced 11 batters since coming up to join the bullpen and has struck out five of them. If you're left-handed with pretty good stuff and you pile up strikeouts, you're going to have a job in the big leagues.