Giants Hot Stove: In-house free agents


Giants Hot Stove: In-house free agents

Now that the Hot Stove League has officially begun, you're going to start hearing quite a bit about various teams picking up or declining the 2012 options of their eligible players, keeping them in the fold or cutting them loose for free agency.You won't hear any such news regarding the Giants, however. The only player on whom they held an option was left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt, and they acted quickly to take care of that bit of business Sunday by picking up Affeldt's 5 million tab for next season.NEWS: Giants pick up Affeldt's 5 million option
That, along with the signing of fellow southpaw bullpenner Javier Lopez, reduces the number of potential Giants free agents to six, and with 13 players eligible for arbitration, the no-longer-defending world champs still have a whopping 19 decisions to make, and fairly soon.NEWS: Giants re-sign Javier Lopez
The top priorities for now, though, will be their own free agents. Each team has an exclusive window in which to negotiate with their guys who are eligible to hit the open market this winter, and that window closes Thursday.
Topping the free-agent list for the Giants, of course, is Carlos Beltran, and it'll be a shock -- to say the least -- if a deal is struck with the multi-talented outfielder before Friday.In fact, based on what San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean has been hinting since the end of the regular season, it'd be a bit of a shock if Beltran returns at any time.Just as it'll be a shock if the team lands any of the big-name free agents expected to be available, a class headlined by Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, Prince Fielder and Jimmy Rollins. Michael Cuddyer and Josh Willingham, among others, are up there, too, followed by lesser lights -- but still quality players -- such as Coco Crisp.Might Sabean be sandbagging? Sure, but that's never really been his style. He's an awfully straight shooter and always has been.Behind Beltran among potential Giants free agents are outfielders Cody Ross and Pat Burrell, infielders Mark DeRosa and Orlando Cabrera, and righty reliever Guillermo Mota.Who might be returning? It's safe to rule out Cabrera and Burrell, but Ross, DeRosa and Mota all make sense on some level depending on the price tag.It seems highly unlikely that the Giants would be wiling to pay Ross the 6.3 million he made in 2011, or drop anywhere close to the 6-million that DeRosa average over the past two season. But Ross has said he wants to come back, and there's at least a modicum of mutual interest.DeRosa? He's been golfing on a regular basis, so his wrist is obviously sound, but it might take him being willing to sign an incentive-heavy deal that starts with something like a 1 million base salary.As for Mota, hey, the guy made the team and quietly played a key role in the bullpen in each of the past two seasons after getting invited to spring training on a minor-league deal. He made a tad less than 1 million last season, and it seems like he's earned a similar reward for his underrated contributions while filling multiple roles.It's Tuesday and the clock is ticking, folks. The stove is heating up. This is when Sabean starts earning his money -- by spending the money of others.How would you spend it -- or not -- while that exclusive window remains open?

Madison Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez make statements in win over Dodgers


Madison Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez make statements in win over Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — A 2-1 victory Saturday night at Dodger Stadium all but assured that the Giants will not lose 100 games. They still could, sure, because any sort of downslide is possible in this 2017 season, but they would really have to finish with some sort of ugly stretch. 

Still, it’s been a long season, so it was no surprise when Madison Bumgarner admitted to some sleepless nights since Opening Day. As for Saturday night …

“It’s going to be much easier to go to sleep tonight, because we won,” Bumgarner said.

The big lefty did the heavy lifting, throwing 7 2/3 dominant innings and offering one more reminder that his shoulder is 100 percent fine after a season-halting dirt bike accident. Bumgarner topped out at 93.5 mph, and even though Bruce Bochy thought Dodger Stadium might have had a hot gun on this night, the swings told the story of a good fastball. Bumgarner said this was as good as he has felt in a while. 

“He did look strong,” Bochy said. “He did have really good stuff tonight. It was really crisp.”

It was the kind of night that reminds you that, for all their issues, the Giants will start 2018 with a leg up on many others. They have Madison Bumgarner and you don’t, and that should lead to plenty of good over the course of 32 or 33 starts. 

“I think it’s good for the club to know, hey, he’s back,” Bochy said. “This is the kind of ball we can play.”

It was the brand Bochy appreciates: A strong start, a good bullpen, strong defense, and just enough offense. That’s how the Giants will win in 2018, if they are to do so, which bodes well for the man at the center of Saturday’s offense. The Giants plan to move Denard Span to left field and acquire a new center fielder, but they still lack depth in the organization, and Gorkys Hernandez has made it clear he would like to stick around. He had three hits — including two doubles — and a walk, scoring both Giants runs. 

After a slow start that almost got him released, Hernandez took off over the summer, providing a high average and sparkling defense at three spots. A left wrist tendon issue has slowed him in September, but he surprised the staff by being available for the final two weeks of games, and he said he’ll play through the end of the year before considering any rehab options 

“He certainly has made a statement,” Bochy said. “He’s one of our better athletes. He can play anywhere in the outfield, and what’s impressive is how he’s come on with the bat. A kid like this that plays defense the way he can, and shows he can do some things with the bat, he’s in the mix.”

Hernandez said he loves playing in San Francisco. He intends to spend his offseason getting healthy at his home in Scottsdale before competing for an outfield job. 

“Every time Bochy puts me in the lineup I’m trying to show everyone that I can be here and that I can be part of this team for a long time,” he said. 

Giants lineup: Span back in center, batting third vs Dodgers


Giants lineup: Span back in center, batting third vs Dodgers

Even with the Giants facing a left-handed pitcher Saturday night vs. the Dodgers, Bruce Bochy is going with Denard Span as his three-hitter.

San Francisco Giants (60-94)

1. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Denard Span (L) CF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Hunter Pence (R) RF
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 3B
8. Ryder Jones (L) 1B
9. Madison Bumgarner (R) P

Los Angeles Dodgers (98-56)

1. Chris Taylor (R) CF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Enrique Hernandez (R) LF
4. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
5. Logan Forsythe (R) 3B
6. Austin Barnes (R) C
7. Kyle Farmer (R) 1B
8. Charlie Culberson (R) 2B
9. Hyun-Jin Ryu (R) P