Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Your 2018 Giants: Cha-cha-changes

As announced via media leaks and then officially by the Giants, there has been a number of changes in the front office and the field coaches.  Can't tell the players without a scorecard:
  • David Bell:  the first official announcement was about the replacement of Shane Turner with former Giant David Bell, as the new Director of Player Personnel.  He's been working his way around and up, manage/coach for the Reds, Cubs 3rd base coach in 2013 (I think pre-new regime), Cards hitting coach/bench coach since.  Evans touted Bell's strong experience and broad breadth of various aspects of the game. He also noted, "A lot of the success we've had [in player development] has helped us produce championships at the big league level."
  • Shane Turner:  He is now special assistant for pro scouting.  I think of these "special assistant" titles to be the equivalent of "producer" in entertainment, a title given to indicate some importance, but a title given so freely that it loses significance to outside people.  
  • Dave Righetti:  In a shocking move, Rags is removed as our pitching coach, which he has been since 2000 under 3 different managers.  His 18 years tenure as pitching coach was a record for the Giants franchise.  He was moved into the front office and is now special assistant to GM Evans.  The article noted that Rags is not a scapegoat, as the Giants were 4th in the majors in quality starts, and a number of other pitching quality stats.  Evans noted a need for "a new voice" and that "Changes sometimes are needed as much for the sake of that new voice, if anything, and I think that was really the priority here. ... When you see all that these guys have accomplished together, it's very hard to make a change. But ultimately change can be for the good of both your staff and your players sometimes." Also: "This certainly is not going to eliminate Dave Righetti's voice in this organization. In some ways it may even enlarge his voice." And: "Dave's heartbeat is in uniform. But he also loves this organization and our players -- our pitchers, particularly. ... I'm sure it's still hard to imagine, even for us, Dave not being in uniform. But at the same time, there's so much that he can offer in this new role. I'm excited about it." Evans noted somewhere that he had actually approached Rags once the season ended, seeing if he would be interested in a more organizationally influential role.  Righetti was quoted in a later article (after declining to comment after the original announcement of his change) about the other staff changes that one of his new goals is ensuring that the organization's pitchers are taught consistent methods from Rookie Ball to the Majors, and that "After 38 years on the field as a player and coach, I'll be looking at things through a different lens. Working with Bobby and his baseball ops team in the front office, I'll be able to apply all those years of experience to help the team in new ways."
  • Mark Gardner:  Gardner is removed as bullpen coach, which he has been since 2003.  He was also moved into the front office, and is now taking on a special assignment role in pitching evaluations.   
  • Steve Decker:  Decker is removed as assistant hitting coach, which he was just assigned last season.  He is now special assistant in the baseball operations department.
  • Ron Wotus:  The long time bench coach, part of the Giants MLB level coaches since 1998, has been moved to 3B coach, replacing Phil Nevins.  That was his position when he joined the Giants staff, so this is not a new position for him. From the article: "Wotus, who last coached third base regularly in 1998 when he joined the Giants' Major League staff, sounded excited and in no way considered his move a demotion. "I'm looking forward to being on the field again with the players and having more of an impact on our offensive game," said Wotus, who will continue to function as the team's defensive guru. "This is about putting a quality staff together. It's not about me personally. When you're needed somewhere, you go where you're needed. I'm looking forward to the challenge.""
  • Phil Nevins:  We hardly knew ye, Phil, as the rotating 3B coach experience continues after Flan manned the position from the beginning of the Bochy era.  He was up for a manager position (but didn't get it), which is what he is angling for anyway, but didn't want to be re-assigned with this move, and instead left the organization.  
  • Bam Bam Meulens:  Bam Bam is now the Bench Bench Coach, replacing Wotus.  From the article:  "As bench coach, Meulens, who has openly discussed his big league managerial aspirations since joining the Giants' staff in 2010, will be more involved in helping Bochy outline strategy."  Another step in the rung of duties teams look at when evaluating potential managers.  Hence why Wotus has been routinely on the list of interviewed coaches each off-season when teams are interviewing for open manager positions.  Of course, after a dozen years of interviews with no managerial job, that's not a good sign either.
  • Matt Herges:   Another former Giants player rejoined the team, as he was named the new Bullpen Pitching coach.   He was our closer during parts of his time with the team, and has been involved with the Dodgers the past seven years, the last two as their AAA pitching coach.  It was noted that part of Matt Herges’ responsibilities include “series advance analysis," which involves using the computer.  Evans added that Herges was added because of his ability of making pitchers better, not because of his interest/knowledge in analytics.
As noted in one of the announcements, Jose Auguicil will retain his 1B coaching job and Shawon Dunston will retain his on-field instructor/replay analyst position.

Evans noted that:
"I'm not necessarily suggesting that guys who are leaving their positions are moving to more suitable roles. They're very talented baseball people, and I think that there are opportunities to advance their influence and also infuse new perspectives, new energy, new backgrounds into other roles in the organization. It's just part of what happens in organizations, how you keep things strong."
Also:
“Teams have to change to keep their edge in an industry as competitive as Major League Baseball. They have to constantly infuse new ideas and energy at every level of the organization, on the field and in the front office. This reorganization helps us enhance an already successful group of some of the best minds in baseball.”
And from the Chron article:
 "Last week, when the Giants reassigned coaches Dave Righetti, Mark Gardner and Steve Decker, Evans said he was interviewing candidates with analytics-driven ideas. On Thursday, Evans said the pitching-coach changes and emphasis on analytics shouldn’t be a reflection on the work of Righetti and Gardner, both of whom he said were engaged analytically."

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Your 2017 Playoff Guide: Beat LA!

Obviously, really late, but I had to post this title!  Short rumination on the playoffs rooting interests for this Giants fan.  Plus, as usual, then I expanded to touch on the starting pitching.

[P.S. I added during lunch time of October 24, 2017]

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Your 2018 Giants: Gets #2 Pick Overall

Final Standing: Tigers lose and Giants win on a walk off by Sandoval, leading to the Tigers getting the #1 pick, and the Giants #2. In spite of Cueto pitching, he had a poor start (pretty much sealing his fate, he's staying with the Giants and not using his opt-out), but the bullpen held strong in this game, and the offense just did enough.  That's the formula of our Golden Era:  good enough pitching, good enough hitting.


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