Giants manager Bruce Bochy talks priorities

Giants manager Bruce Bochy talks priorities
December 6, 2010, 10:12 pm
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Dec. 6, 2010
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Mychael Urban
CSNBayArea.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy made an appearance Monday at baseball's annual winter meetings and addressed a variety of issues,including his shortened-but-busy offseason, his club's top prioritybetween now and spring training, the loss of Juan Uribe, updates onMark DeRosa and Pablo Sandoval, and the departure of sluggers AdrianGonzalez and Mark Reynolds from the National League West.What follows is a transcription of his Q&A session, edited for brevity and clarity. How has the offseason been different for you, having won the World Series?
BRUCE BOCHY: It's been a little busier, to be honest. But a lot ofit has been baseball related. We played into November, so we had a lotof work to do before these meetings. Getting rosters set, talking aboutplayers, needs, things like that. So Brian Sabean, myself, baseballoperations, we've been having some conference calls almost every day.So it's been pretty busy in that respect.Does the euphoria and satisfaction wear off? Is it stillthere every day you think, man, we won the WorldSeries?
BB: There are moments you do try to take a step back and realizewhat just happened. I had a chance to look at the videos, the Giantshighlight videos, a couple nights ago in San Francisco. You know,during those videos you get a chance to enjoy it, savor it. Not quiteas nervous as you were when it was actually happening, but a good timeto sit back and get to watch replay of it. So I have had a chance towatch the games.If you proved anythinglast year, it's that roster construction continues past the wintermeetings. Is that the mindset here this week?
BB: Yeah, we have had a change already. Our shortstop, he went toL.A., so we're still trying to get the guys we need on this roster andget set with that. The great thing about our club is we have a lot ofmovable parts.Adrian Gonzalez and Mark Reynolds out of the division today. Does that change anything?
BB: No, it doesn't change anything with us. I mean, they are goodplayers. It is not surprising with Gonzalez. I think there's been talkabout it. Tremendous player. He played for me in San Diego. I knowhim very well. I'll be honest, it's not sad to see him leave thedivision. I'm happy for him with his new deal, and he's going to helpBoston. Reynolds is another great player that will help Baltimore. Butit doesn't change anything we do. We still have to construct our teamand play in a very tough division.You talk about teams moving on, obviously you guys havemoved on from the shortstop position. How difficult for you was it tolose Uribe, who had lots of big hits and was a trueprofessional?
BB: When you have such a great team to win the World Series,ideally you'd like to keep everybody. What they mean to you, and ashard as you fight during the course of the season and the journey thatyou're on, you become a family. To have Juan move on, sure, initiallyit hurts a little bit. You're going to miss him. He called me. I had aconversation with him, and it's part of the business. He got a greatdeal there in L.A. I'm happy for him. He got three years and he gotwhat he was looking for. But we had to move on, and turns out we signed a really good player inMiguel Tejada, who happened to be available, so that helps us softenthat blow when you lose a player like Juan. So Tejada will be a niceplayer to have. Not just on the field, but in the clubhouse. Verysimilar to Uribe.When did Juan call you?
BB: Actually I talked to him a couple of times before he signed.Called me from the Dominican and just expressed his appreciation forhow he was treated, and had a great time. " He just wanted to thank me.And I said the same to him. Like I said, you understand. It's part ofthe business. He was a free agent, and you're not going to sign themall. Certainly a guy that did a lot for us. We're champions partlybecause of what he did for us."If you had a wish list, would a left-handed bat be on top of your list?
BB: Yeah, that's what we've talked about, if there's a perfectscenario where we could have a left-handed bat. We do have a very goodyoung player coming up, Brandon Belt, who could be that guy. He'll bein spring training. We'll take a look at him. He's similar to AubreyHuff; he can play first, he can play outfield. So that would give ussome flexibility and a left-handed batter if that worked out. But, again, you're looking at what you have. Pablo Sandoval could bethat bat that we didn't have last year. We are hoping he comes back andbecomes the player that he was the year before.Where did Belt play most of the fall?
BB: First base. But he is a pretty good outfielder, from my reports, the times he's been out there.Does it have to be a power bat or can it be like a high average type?
BB: Really either way. I don't think it so much has to be a powerbat. But that would be nice to have. Those guys aren't all over theplace, you know. But we just want to keep a balanced lineup; that'swhat we talked about. At times we felt we were too right-handed lastyear, and it caught up with us at times. We had trouble scoring runs. But with the crew that we have here, whether it's guys coming off thebench, they provided left-handed bats that we needed. Nate Schierholtz,Travis Ishikawa, Mike Fontenot. But, again, we'll see what's availableout there.How wary are you of complacency and maybe counting too muchon Andres Torres and Cody Ross, expecting them to repeat what they didlast season?
BB: Well, it won't be because they're complacent. I understandyou're never, ever more vulnerable to complacency than when you win andyou have a championship season. But you do have to be careful. You dohave the potential to drop your guard. But a guy like Torres, sure, he doesn't have a track record, but some guys emerge later on in theircareer. That's what we're hoping with Andres, he'll come back and bethe player that he was the year before. The other guys have a track record. Cody Ross was a good player beforewe got him, so that wasn't so freakish the fact that he got on a rolland had some base hits. He's done that for a while. That's why he'smaking pretty good money. So when you have guys who have done it, it'sjust like Aubrey Huff. I have people saying, "Wow, what a surprise he was. But he's had some pretty good years."You know what I mean? This guy has swung the bat well, so we feel likewe have guys who have done it, have the experience. But on the otherside getting back to Pablo, now we're hoping he becomes the player thathe was. We did this without Pablo being who we saw the year before.Any reports on how Pablo is doing a month into the offseason?
BB: Just that he's lost some weight. He's doing well. He's workinghard. He's dropped over 10 pounds, so that's good news already. Heseems determined to get back to where he was. He's got a little waysto go. I don't want to put a number on it, but he's still got probably15 or so, somewhere in there.You mentioned that it's easy to get complacent after youwin. Do you approach it a little differently? Have you spoken toanybody, maybe some World Series managers on how they approach theseason after they win?
BB: No, I haven't talked to any of the previous World Serieschampions. But it's something we'll address in spring training. Youknow, we like to think we've raised the bar on how we play the game,and we want to play at that level. You put a stake in the ground andyou're hopefully making a mark. Keep that level of play that you want your guys to play at, and that'sby going out there and playing the game right and playing it hard everyday. I'm confident in the guys that we have. They're not going to getcomplacent. They may lose a game, but it's not because of effort or notbeing prepared already.Considering the innings load of the starting pitchers youhad last year, and pitching so deep in the postseason, might youapproach spring training a little differently with your starters? Maybemake it a little easier on them?
BB: It's hard to take it easy on them because you're getting themready for the season. Now with that said, I'll keep an eye on thesestarters particularly because I'll think about the workload theycarried the year before, and if there are times I can give them abreak, I will. But on the other hand too, my closer (Brian Wilson) carried a prettyheavy workload too. We're going to bring him in. I don't know. I'll sitand see how he's going, how he feels. He's the guy we'll keep an eyeon, too. He's the horse through the season.Could Cody set in the outfield somewhere, or is Pat Burrell penciled into the left field job?
BB: He'll be competing for that position. He's been told that. Weget to spring training and we'll do it pretty much like we did lastyear, and we'll play who our hot bats are or who we think our bestplayers are at that point. We've made some tough decisions, AaronRowand or Nate's going to be looking for more playing time out there.These guys did a great job of setting aside their own agendas lastyear. They'll probably have to do it again this year.Where does DeRosa fit in?
BB: He could be a super utility type guy, and competing for leftfield. He can play left. He can play second, play some third, first. Isee him as a guy that will move around a lot. He's had his best yearsdoing that. He's comfortable doing it. He thrives on it. So he'll bemoving around. ... He's healthy, too. He'll be ready 100 percent comespring training.Out of all the things you've had an opportunity to do as aresult of being a World Series champion, what has been the neatestthing for you?
BB: I really haven't done anything. We've been pretty busy withtalking about other teams and getting prepared for the winter meetings.But right now there hasn't been anything that I can say has changed. Alot more requests and demands. I mean, I'm getting letters fromWisconsin, people that I don't even know who want to know if I'll speakto their Rotary Club. But I haven't done anything.Is there a sense that as long as you've got that pitching and you're inthat ballpark, you're going to be in the thick of it next year andyears to come?
BB: Sure, we feel like that. We felt we could get there. We couldwin the World Series with our pitching. As you well know, that's theeasiest way to get it done, with good pitching. So the hardest partreally, it's all hard, but it's getting there. Can Fontenot play shortstop?
BB: It wouldn't be a long-term deal, but once a week, yeah, he could do it.Is it fair to say that youre still in need of someone whocould fill in there on a longer term if Miguel gothurt?
BB: Yeah, yeah, I think that's one of our priorities is to havesomebody ready to give us depth. We had tremendous success last yearbecause of our depth. Edgar went down, we had Uribe. Freddy struggledand we got Fontenot. As far as bringing Edgar back goes, wedefinitely have interest.