Giants

Samardzija, Melancon to be added as World Baseball Classic alternates

Samardzija, Melancon to be added as World Baseball Classic alternates

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford help Team USA reach the later rounds of the World Baseball Classic, they may be joined by a pair of teammates.

Right-handers Mark Melancon and Jeff Samardzija will be added to the roster, CSN Bay Area has learned, although the Giants are unsure about what the exact level of participation would be. The players got the call from Joe Torre on Thursday, and Melancon said he could join the United States as soon as the second round in San Diego. Conversations with Samardzija centered on making him an option for the semifinal round, which starts March 20 in Los Angeles. 

"It wouldn't be a problem," Samardzija said. "I feel good."

While the Giants have not always been keen on their pitchers participating in the March tournament, Melancon and Samardzija have been two of the most consistent pitchers in camp. Melancon was perfect in his first three outings and he hasn't allowed a run in six appearances. Samardzija has allowed four runs in three starts, and his stuff looks to be in midseason form. His pitch count got into the 60s the last time out, and he said any WBC action would come right at the part of his spring where he usually peaks and then starts to wind down for the regular season. 

Melancon said he was asked to pitch in the tournament late last year, but he originally turned Team USA down because he did not want to leave during his first camp with the Giants. "It didn't feel right at the time," he said. Like Samardzija, Melancon said he's excited about the second chance. He had a long conversation with general manager Bobby Evans on Friday morning. 

"What an opportunity," Melancon said. "I'm really thankful the Giants are on board and they understand the opportunity there to be able to represent your country. We're all on the same page and comfortable with it. It's all about communication and having these guys back me up has been great." 

The Giants have one more right-hander who may join the tournament. Johnny Cueto, who is starting Saturday's Cactus League game, has yet to make a final decision on his participation. Cueto has told teammates that he is strongly leaning toward not playing, but his interest was said to be rekindled a bit as he watched recent WBC games and his potential teammates on the Dominican Republic team.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants drop finale in Miami

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AP

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants drop finale in Miami

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The flight from Miami to San Francisco is one of the longest in the league. It will not be a happy one.

The Giants fell behind early and never recovered, losing 8-1 in the series finale with the Marlins. The Giants had won six of nine entering the road trip. They dropped a series in Washington D.C. and then lost two of three to the Marlins. 

You are here already, so here are five things to know … 

—- Matt Cain deserved better in the first, and it was kind of a stunning error that cost him. With two outs, Brandon Crawford dropped a liner that was hit right at him. The next batter, Tomas Telis, hit a two-run double. 

—- Cain was charged with five runs in four innings, but only two of them were earned. He struck out seven and walked just one, showing a good curveball throughout. Several times, he dropped down for a new look. Like I said, he deserved a bit better than that final line. 

—- Pablo Sandoval’s walk in the eighth was his first since returning to the Giants. His numbers, by the way, are right in line with his Boston numbers. 

—- Albert Suarez has seen his stuff take a tick up during this stint with the Giants, but it’s not leading to results. After giving up a walk-off grand slam on Sunday, he allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings in relief of Cain. Suarez currently has a 7.43 ERA. 

—- Giancarlo Stanton was 2 for 4 with two singles. His run of six games with a homer came to an end. I suppose that’s a small victory for the Giants?

Giancarlo Stanton to Giants? Upside vs downside from Marlins perspective

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USATI

Giancarlo Stanton to Giants? Upside vs downside from Marlins perspective

Because we are too cool to allow the games to sustain us and because we all think the purpose of sports is actually not to be the best player but the general manager, the new item on the baseball menu is not the pennant races but “Where should Giancarlo Stanton go?”

The usual suspects are listed – the Yankees, the Giants, the Chunichi Dragons, Real Madrid – and the $295 million still on his contract is not considered an impediment.

But the logic behind the Marlins keeping him is just as clear and more pressing. Namely, Bruce Sherman, the incoming owner, and Derek Jeter, the designated face, did not buy this team and promptly try to make themselves detested by the few people who still care about it.

So far, we know that the monstrous thing in center field (no, not Christian Yelich) is likely to be torn down, and that Stanton is don’t-go-to-the-bathroom-during-his-half-inning entertainment. Beyond that, we know only that the Marlins draw when they win a lot and barely at all the rest of the time. They are clearly a distant third in a four-team race with the Dolphins and Heat for people’s hearts, and now that hating Jeffrey Loria’s living guts are off the table for the fans, there really is no there, there.

So what’s the up-side of moving Stanton (and before we go any further, the Giants don’t have nearly enough assets to make that work, so calm the hell down) for the Marlins? Prospects, the dark hole that makes a three-year plan a six-year plan.

And the down-side? Sherman may as well move the team for the level of fun he’ll get from it, and the only reason to buy a team looking at a $60 million loss is for the fun. Besides, onlky a very few owners have ever made the full turn from villain to hero – the first impression almost always lasts forever.

So while Stanton may create immediate wallet relief for this aggressively average team (their current record of 57-61 is the 12th best in their 25-year history, and they’ve only had eight winning seasons ever), they also have nothing to sell the fans that they have to live with every day. And if they don’t have enough fans . . . well, I hear San Jose is always hot for a mediocre franchise that lurches between spending money and hoarding it.