Cain keeping tabs on Hamels and Philly

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Cain keeping tabs on Hamels and Philly

SCOTTSDALE,Ariz. Their words were so similar, they couldve been reading from the samescript.OnMonday in Phillies camp, left-hander Cole Hamels spent 44 minutes tellingreporters how he loves Philadelphia and hopes to commit long term. But whenasked about accepting a hometown discount, he gracefully dodged the question.He talked about his passion for winning, instead.Youwonder if he called Matt Cain and asked him to send over his transcript fromthe Giants FanFest earlier this month.Iliked the part when they asked if his agent was talking to the team right now,Cain told me. And he said, I know theyre supposed to. That was pretty funny.Yes,Cain is paying attention to Hamels. And for good reason. Swap out their names,change Phillies to Giants and replace left-hander with right-hander.Then try to spot the differences in the two stories.Bothare highly regarded, highly intelligent, durable aces. Both are decorated inthe postseason. (Cain has a 0.00 ERA in three playoff starts, while Hamels is aWorld Series MVP.) Both will hit the open market after making 15 million thisseason. Both have spent their entire careers with the same organization, andtheir well-heeled clubs are keen on bringing them back. Yeah,but hes got longer hair, said Cain, a reference to Hamels Hollywood flair.I dont have as good a figure.Thefigures that really matter are impressive and similar. Hamels, 28, is 74-54with a 3.39 ERA in five seasons. He has a 2.92 ERA and struck out 405 battersthe last two years. Cain, 27, is 69-73 with a 3.35 ERA in six-plus seasons. Hehas a 3.01 ERA and struck out 356 batters the last two years.Theresalso a shared assumption that both are comfortable where they are and wouldaccept a friendly deal to stay something in line with the five-year, 85million that Jered Weaver signed with the Angels. Its not an entirely accurateperception and its certainly not helpful to either pitcher, although Hamelscamp has taken more aggressive steps to combat it.Hamels'agent, John Boggs, told CSN Phillies Insider Jim Salisbury in January thatWeaver was not a fair comparable.Thatcontract is great for Jered. I understand it. But he took a different path andleft a lot of money on the table, Boggs said. He came up through the Angelssystem and grew up in their backyard. Hes pitching where he grew up. Thatsituation appeals to him. Its a similar situation to when I had Tony Gwynn.Without getting into specifics of what were looking for, the Weaver situationis unique to Weaver.Hamelsis a SoCal kid pitching in Philly. The speculation is that hed love pitchingin Dodger blue. Cains motivations are a little different. He is from the Memphisarea, but he met his wife, Chelsea, in Scottsdale and they spend most of theoffseason in Arizona.ItsChelsea who made sure to monitor everything Hamels said on Monday.Oh,shes good about that, Cain said. Ive never been a huge guy to readeverything. She tells me whats going on all over the league. She keeps me inline and thats good for me.Baseballis about to be very good to the Cain clan, whether they reach free agency ornot. Some agents believe that if Cain hits the open market, he'd command a contract greater than the six-year, 137.5 million that Johan Santana got from the Mets in 2008. More recently,C.J. Wilson signed afive-year, 77.5 million deal with the Angels in December but only after turning down sixyears and almost 100 million from the Florida Marlins.AndWilson doesnt have the resume to match Cain or Hamels, who would be the clearstars of the free-agent pitching class next winter. If one signs a long-term deal this spring, it will provide a clear template for the other.
Sois Cain waiting for Hamels to set the market with an extension? Or vice versa?Itdoes seem like it happens that way, Cain said. You end up waiting on otherguys to get a deal done. But you never really know whats going on with them,and they dont know whats going on with us.Soyou cant sit there and wait. Youve got to do your homework on your own.Cainlaughed.Idont know, he said. I guess I should call him and see whats going on,right?

Notes: Ex-Giants not getting much traction, not expected to return

Notes: Ex-Giants not getting much traction, not expected to return

SOMEWHERE IN THE AIR, United States — On the first day of the Winter Meetings, I discovered that my hotel room for the week was a few doors down from a section of rooms and suites dedicated to the Chicago Cubs. So either I have a lot of juice with Marriott or the Cubs have very little juice. 

They were a happy group as they came in and out, and for good reason. The Cubs are the reigning champions and they’re the heavy favorites going into 2017. Every other team at the Gaylord National Resort was chasing Theo Epstein and his guys. The Giants, after landing closer Mark Melancon, feel they have the firepower to compete with the Cubs. 

The Melancon move is the big one of the Giants’ offseason and it obscured just about everything else. Here are some other notes, quotes and rumors from five days at the Winter Meetings: 

--- Bobby Evans said the Aroldis Chapman deal ($86 million) came in right around where the Giants expected. The two sides never met in person, and while the Giants kept tabs on the Chapman market, he was always viewed as an unlikely choice. Part of that has to do with a 30-game suspension last season for a domestic violence incident. Evans said the off-field stuff was “not lost on us.” The Giants knew many of their fans were strongly opposed to a Chapman deal. 

“Our hearts and minds were really focused on one guy,” Evans said as he discussed the closer market. It was Melancon, and the Giants got the guy who will now head a bullpen that blew 30 saves during the regular season. 

Evans took some good-natured shots at that number, by the way. He pointed out that many of those “blown saves” came in the sixth or seventh innings and the Giants won a lot of those games. The more important number for the front office was ninth-inning blown saves that led to losses. The Giants lost nine such games, including five in September. 

“That’s the difference,” Evans said. “If you reduce that number to five or four, then that’s maybe the difference in your division.”

The Giants finished four games behind the Dodgers.

--- Joe Maddon said his biggest fear in the postseason was facing Johnny Cueto in Game 5.

--- Angel Pagan was not at the ballpark for the final game of the season. He had an injection in his injured back and was allowed to stay home to try and recover. The Giants told Pagan to prepare for a Game 5, but some team officials believe his postseason was probably over regardless of how far the Giants got. 

--- It was a little surprising, by the way, how little mention there was of Pagan and other Giants free agents. Pagan was briefly connected to the Orioles at one point but otherwise his name has not come up. There are no Gregor Blanco rumors, and nothing significant with Sergio Romo, Jake Peavy, Javier Lopez or Santiago Casilla. 

Giants people who have talked to Romo say he has at least a couple of offers and he’s confident he’ll find a good fit. Lopez is said to be headed for retirement unless an East Coast team (he lives in Georgia) makes a great offer. Peavy is said to be ready to fight for a job as a non-roster invitee in spring training. It seems the majority of the ex-Giants might have to go the non-roster route. Currently, none are expected to return to San Francisco. 

--- Gordon Beckham is technically a “Giants free agent” and several people in the clubhouse approacedh management to relay what a positive impact Beckham had in his week there. He is the kind of energetic, ball-busting presence that helps over a 162-game season, and everyone in the organization loved having him around, but they’re looking for power bats right now when it comes to the bench. 

--- Ramiro Pena is close to a deal to return as a non-roster invitee. The Giants will also add a catcher for Triple-A depth. They’re selecting from a group that includes former Dodgers and Cubs catcher Tim Federowicz. 

--- There will be new managers up and down the minor league system. The affiliates are expected to announce those choices soon. 

--- At the risk of wiping out a bunch of future "The Player to be Named Later has not been named" tweets, here's how it works: The Giants gave the Mariners a small list of prospects they'll watch in spring training, and they'll scout them and choose one player as the return for Chris Heston. It will not be a significant prospect. 

--- Under Armour will be the exclusive uniform provider of MLB starting in 2020, and all jerseys will have a small Under Armour logo on the chest. No exceptions, from the awful Diamondbacks jerseys to the Yankees pinstripes to the Giants. It was bound to happen eventually. The Giants have some of Under Armour’s most prominent baseball players, including Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Joe Panik. 

--- The Giants never had any intention of pursuing a reunion with Pablo Sandoval. If they can add depth at third, they will, but for now Eduardo Nuñez is slated to be the opening day starter. Keep in mind, too, that Christian Arroyo will primarily play third base in the minors from now on. 

--- Bill Hayes, who was relieved of his duties as first-base coach, will stay with the big league staff. His exact role has not been determined. Roberto Kelly will not return in a different role. 

--- CSN did a bunch of one-on-one interviews this week, and two of them — Evans and Bruce Bochy — are available here as podcasts. If you’re a fan of the podcast, please consider hitting subscribe on iTunes. It’s good for the pod. 

--- In case you missed it: Here's an explanation of why the Giants are unlikely to add an expensive outfielder. The Giants currently have four players set for the WBC. Hensley Meulens will manage the Netherlands. Ryan Vogelsong helped Melancon choose the Giants. Bochy on if he has any postseason regrets. 

--- Melancon will be introduced at a 1 p.m. press conference on Friday. It will air on CSN Bay Area and you can stream it on this website. 
 

Wife of former Giants outfielder Andres Torres passes away

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Twitter/BengieMolina1

Wife of former Giants outfielder Andres Torres passes away

Former Giants outfielder Andres Torres lost his wife on Wednesday evening.

Soannie Torres passed away from cancer.

Andres played for the Giants from 2009 to 2011 and again in 2013.

During the Giants' World Series run in 2010, he hit .268 with 16 home runs and 63 RBI over 139 regular season games.

In the World Series against the Rangers, he batted .318 and hit a home run.

Torres was the 2010 winner of the Willie Mac Award, -- given annually to the Giants' most inspirational player.

To donate to the Soannie Torres Memorial Fund, click here.