Report: Giants showing interest in Korean infielder Jae-gyun Hwang

Report: Giants showing interest in Korean infielder Jae-gyun Hwang

The Giants are yet to sign a big-name bat during this offseason, most notably bringing back Michael Morse on a minor-league deal and also signing veteran infielder Jimmy Rollins to a minor-league deal as well. 

In the latest news on the rumor mill though, San Francisco's front office has kept tabs on a big name in Korea. The Giants have reportedly showed continued interest in free agent infielder Jae-gyun Hwang, according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi.

Hwang, 29, primarily plays third base. He is an unrestricted free agent and will not require a posting fee. 

In 2016, Hwang produced a career year for the Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball Organization, hitting .330/.391/.358 while tying a career-high 26 home runs in 118 games played. At the plate, Hwang also notched a career-best 104 RBI, and swiped 24 bases. 

A big change to Hwang's approach last season could be boosting the interest of MLB clubs. Two seasons ago, Hwang struck out 122 times and posted a .350 on-base percentage. Then, in 2016, Hwang cut his strikeouts down to only 64, his lowest since 2008, and increased his on-base percentage to the highest of his career. His strikeout rate dropped from 22.8 percent of his at-bats to 13.8 percent in just one year.

Over 10 seasons in the KBO, Hwang has hit .285/.349/.433 with 114 home runs, 585 RBI and 172 stolen bases.

Krukow responds to report about Melancon: 'I don't see any friction'

Krukow responds to report about Melancon: 'I don't see any friction'

With the Giants sitting in last place, everyone wants to figure out what happened to a team that was expected to contend.

Early Monday morning, it was reported that new closer Mark Melancon had rubbed some teammates the wrong way by canceling a longstanding pregame stretching session among relievers.

A short time later, Giants broadcast Mike Krukow was asked for his take on KNBR 680.

"We all understand closers are different people and they deal with different demons and some of them have their own routine. I haven't heard that its upset anybody," Krukow said.

Krukow believes everything is just fine between Melancon and his teammates.

"If you look at how Melancon is in line to get on the plane and get off the plane, he's having fun, he's laughing with the guys. Same thing on the bus. He's walking to the ballpark before games with guys. They're buddies. I don't see any friction. I don't see that rotten core starting to fester in the club at all," Krukow said.

Report: Melancon rubbed Giants teammates wrong way early in season

Report: Melancon rubbed Giants teammates wrong way early in season

This past offseason, the Giants overhauled the back of their bullpen. Out went mainstays Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez. In came prized free agent Mark Melancon.

It was supposed to be a seamless transition for one of the most reliable closers in baseball.

But nearly three months in, Melancon is one of many Giants players struggling while the team flounders in last place in the NL West with a 27-51 record.

And it appears Melancon's relationship with his new teammates didn't get off to a great start.

Melancon "rubbed some teammates the wrong way early in the season" by canceling a longstanding pregame stretching session with the other relievers that was implemented long before he joined the team, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

That's not the only stretching-related issue to impact the Giants. Manager Bruce Bochy had to get involved when several veterans were reportedly late on multiple occasions for the team stretching session.

“I dropped the ball. I’ve been doing this so long, you take for granted that they know what I want. These guys were used to doing it how they’ve done it — ‘I have my own routine. I’m not going to stretch.’ But we do stretch as a team here. They all have to be out there,” Bochy said.

Closers are known to have unique routines and Bochy addressed that as well.

“Sometimes other relievers … maybe they get a little taken aback by it. I don’t know what (closer) doesn’t have a routine like that,” Bochy said.

General Manager Bobby Evans addressed the claim that Melancon is rubbing teammates the wrong way and defended his closer's role in the clubhouse.

“To whatever degree it hasn’t manifested itself or to the extent it’s manifested itself in the perception of some negatively, I can assure you that was not Mark’s intention. Mark is a team guy,” Evans said.

Melancon, who has a 4.58 ERA and 11 saves in 15 chances this season, has three years and $53 million left on his contract with the Giants.