Why isn’t phone ringing for Wotus?
SAN FRANCISCO — The people who run the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals are smart individuals.
So it’s difficult to fathom why none of them has seen fit to offer Giants bench coach Ron Wotus an interview for their managerial vacancies.
Wotus has managed successfully in the Minor Leagues, reaching the playoffs with all but one of the seven teams he piloted. He has gained an encyclopedic knowledge of the National League while becoming the longest-tenured coach in Giants history (OK, maybe his NL-centric background excuses the Red Sox a little bit). At 50, he’s still relatively young.
Some might suggest that Wotus’ managerial aspirations have been hampered by staying with the Giants through his entire managerial and coaching career, as if being with only one organization for so long limits his breadth of experience. On the contrary, the fact that Wotus has worked with three different Giants managers — Dusty Baker, Felipe Alou and Bruce Bochy — reflects his value to the ballclub. Alou and Bochy, in particular, easily could have replaced Wotus with one of their own cronies upon becoming manager. Yet they recognized Wotus’ assets and kept him aboard.
It’s also worth mentioning that Wotus reached the World Series with Baker (2002) and Bochy (2010) and coached on a team that won 100 games under Alou (2003). He has done more than just go along for the ride all these years.
When you figure out why Wotus continues to be overlooked, please give the Giants’ front office a call. Because the Cardinals, Cubs and Red Sox haven’t.
Open bidding for free agents began Thursday with apparently limited activity by the Giants. “Apparently” is the key term, because many agents avoided speaking specifically about their interactions with teams. Nor did the Giants themselves advertise their strategy — which only made sense, since that keeps opponents guessing.
Wise folks believe that little or nothing will happen in free agency until a new Basic Agreement is reached between management and players. This could happen as early as next week. Once that’s finalized, club owners will know what their revenue sources are for the next few years. At that point, they’ll feel more comfortable turning their baseball operations people loose in the open market.
The career of the late Matty Alou served as a reminder of how challenging it was to hit at Candlestick Park. Alou batted .248 there, compared to .315 everywhere else — including .332 at Forbes Field, which became his home ballpark when San Francisco traded him to Pittsburgh before the 1966 season.
Joe Amalfitano, the Giants special assistant and former infielder who played with and against Alou, described the 1966 NL batting champion’s approach at Forbes Field, where the outfield was spacious: “He’d hit balls in the gap and run for two days.”
Should Alou have tried to score on Willie Mays’ two-out, ninth-inning double in Game 7 of the 1962 World Series with the Giants trailing, 1-0? Though that remains a subject of some debate, it’s instructive to listen to the national radio broadcast of that game, which was anchored by George Kell. “[Alou] would have been out at the plate,” Kell said matter of factly and without hesitation as he recapped the play. As a Hall of Fame third baseman, Kell spoke with an accomplished ballplayer’s perspective. Sending Alou would have been foolish.
I’ll confess to being a little bit of a homer. That said, it’s ridiculous that Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong didn’t win one of the three Comeback Player of the Year Award votes in which he was a candidate. I guess escaping oblivion to make the NL All-Star team and finish fourth in the league in ERA doesn’t count for much anymore.
– Chris Haft