Giants

Pagan gets what he wants, where he wants it

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Pagan gets what he wants, where he wants it

SAN FRANCISCO -- Exactly one year after he was originally acquired from the Mets, Angel Pagan received real financial security for the first time in his career. The seven-year veteran has never had a deal lengthier than two years or one that earned more than $5 million a season. Next season will mark his first of four with the Giants, where he will earn an average of $10 million, and the man who calls himself "Crazy Horse" is looking forward to settling down in an area he has fast grown to love.

"The Giants were my No. 1 priority," Pagan told beat reporters at Comcast SportsNet's San Francisco studios Friday. "Then the other teams."

Pagan, who passed his physical Friday morning, was one of three free agents the Giants re-signed, joining Marco Scutaro and Jeremy Affeldt with a four-year contract worth $40 million dollars.

Pagan acknowledged he had multiple three-year contract offers on the table, but that he was looking for more.

"The Giants were the first ones to offer that fourth year, like I was hoping," Pagan said. "Right after they did it, I didn't hesitate. I wasn't waiting for another team."

If it was another team that proposed a four-year contract, though, Pagan most certainly would have given the Giants a chance to match the offer.

With his finances secured, Pagan is looking to move his family to the Bay Area. His two daughters, who are currently schooling in Puerto Rico, love San Francisco, and they could be seeing a lot more of it, if their dad can maneuver the local housing market.

"I'm looking to buy a house here in San Francisco right now, but they are pretty expensive," Pagan said with a laugh.

It was the right decision for his family, but there was another influence that drew Pagan back to the Bay.

"Nothing makes me happier than to be back to play with my teammates," Pagan said meaningfully.

He remained in contact with fellow table-setter Marco Scutaro nearly every day, updating each other with contract talk and reaffirming their desires to be reunited atop the Giants lineup for seasons to come.

"The chemistry shows on this team," Pagan said. "When we go out there trying to compete with one common goal -- not as teammates, but as brothers."

Scutaro wasn't the only teammate he stayed close with, though. Pagan cited Madison Bumgarner and Brandon Belt as others he communicated with frequently.

"I used to mess with them, telling them, 'It was nice playing with you guys.'" Pagan said. "They said 'Don't say that, again!' I have a lot of respect for my teammates because they showed me a lot of love."

Tough love, too. Recalling a conversation in the aftermath of the World Series, a group of teammates that included Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and Buster Posey approached Pagan in the clubhouse.

"Aye, you better re-sign with us, because if you don't sign, you better wear the best elbow guards out there, 'cause you're going to get smoked," they said to him.

It was said in jest, but Pagan kept that moment close to his heart.

"That's something that makes you feel good, that they want you back," Pagan said. "And that's why I want to go out there and win championships, because I know my team would do the same for me."

Following the team's 2010 World Series title, the Giants won 86 games and failed to reach the playoffs in 2011. Pagan isn't concerned about a drop-off after the 2012 title. He plans to keep his sword sharp by representing Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic -- the semifinals and finals of which will be played at AT&T Park.

"The better you are, the higher the expectations."

Pagan, 31, is about two months away from reporting to spring training and realizing just how high the expectations surrounding a four-year, $40 million contract truly are.

As Dodgers celebrate, Bochy turns eyes to franchise-altering talent

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USATSI

As Dodgers celebrate, Bochy turns eyes to franchise-altering talent

LOS ANGELES — The Giants left their dugout quickly after Friday’s loss, escaping a celebration on the mound and a fireworks show in the sky. As Dodger Stadium shook with cheers, Bruce Bochy sat in the visiting clubhouse and smiled. He nodded at his laptop, which earlier had been used to pull up highlights of Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani. 

“He’s good,” Bochy said, laughing. “I absolutely would play him every day.”

Earlier in the week, when it became known that Bobby Evans and Jeremy Shelley were headed to Japan to scout Otani, Bochy said he couldn’t imagine a player pitching and then moving to the outfield between starts. What changed? 

Perhaps it was the tape Bochy saw. Otani throws 100 mph and hits homers with ease. Or perhaps it was the game he watched Friday. The Giants lost for the 94th time, with the big blow coming from a 22-year-old Dodgers star. Cody Bellinger’s blast was the difference in a 4-2 win, and the Giants don’t have a Bellinger, or anything close. Otani, 23, is a long shot for a team that very well could finish with the worst record in baseball. Still, he’s the kind of talent that could help pull the Giants closer in a hurry. He’s the  kind of talent they haven’t developed in years, and Bochy certainly sounded a bit wistful as he talked of the power Bellinger has put on display. 

“You call up a guy and he does that — that just doesn’t happen,” he said. “It’s a rare deal.”

The ninth inning of the Dodgers’ clincher reinforced that point for the Giants. They got a homer from Pablo Sandoval, but he’s playing only because Christian Arroyo — the Giants’ best prospect bet this year — is hurt. Ryder Jones, their 23-year-old prospect, struck out to end the night, dropping his average to .180. 

That set off a celebration for Bellinger and the Dodgers. They have won five straight NL West titles, with three of the last four clinched against the Giants. 

“Congrats to them,” Bochy said. “They’ve had a tremendous year across the board, and they’ve played great baseball. They brought some guys up that really did a great job for them. It’s well deserved.”

Bochy said it was not difficult to watch this one. The division has been wrapped up for months, with only a September slide keeping the Dodgers from clinching earlier. 

“We knew what we were facing here,” Bochy said. 

The Giants have two more against the Dodgers and then six more before a long winter. The Dodgers, on the other hand, will host an NLDS series here at Dodger Stadium. Both Bochy and starter Jeff Samardzija made the same observation, that the Dodgers will have a hard time cutting their deep roster down to 25 postseason players. 

That’s a nice problem to have. It’s a foreign one right now for the Giants, who have a serious talent gap and no clear solutions internally. It’s no wonder, then, that Bochy has all of a sudden become so intrigued by a wondrous talent overseas. 

Samardzija hits two milestones, makes 200-200 club in start vs Dodgers

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USATSI

Samardzija hits two milestones, makes 200-200 club in start vs Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — When the Giants gathered for spring training in February, team officials thought they had put together a rotation with four 200-inning arms. The starters didn’t come close to hitting that lofty goal, but one Giant got to the 200-inning mark Friday night. 

Jeff Samardzija hit 200 innings in the third inning Friday night at Dodger Stadium, reaching the standard for the fifth consecutive season. Samardzija also became the first Giant this year to reach 200 strikeouts when he struck out Curtis Granderson to open the second inning. The right-hander will be the only member of the rotation to reach either milestone, with Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto limited by injuries and Matt Moore having a down year. 

“These guys like Jeff that are able to handle that workload that he does and log 200 innings and have durability, that’s invaluable,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “You look at what it does for the ‘pen but also the quality of innings he gives you. His record should be different with how he has thrown the ball — he can’t control that. But the workload itself is important.”

Samardzija became the first Giants right-hander to strike out 200 in a season since Tim Lincecum (220) in 2011. Samardzija joined Carlos Martinez as the only National League pitchers who have thrown 200 innings this year, and Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Robbie Ray, Martinez and Zack Greinke in the league’s 200-strikeout club.