Why isn’t phone ringing for Wotus?

Nov. 4

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

7 Comments

I love the Vogelsong story as much as anyone, don’t get me wrong. I am a huge Giants fan and believe the team would have been under .500 without him this year. They would have folded up camp at the All Star break (instead of fighting to the end) without his contributions this year. Personally, he has battled for years to finally succeed as a very good pitcher, and he has certainly earned all of the accolades (including the All Star nod) afforded to him.

But realistically, doesn’t a player have to be very good (maybe not an All Star, but at least a middle of the order (2-6) hitter or middle of the rotation pitcher) originally to be considered a “Comeback Player of the Year”? Generally, a Comeback POY is one of those very good (if not great) players that have later had something go wrong (injuries, prolonged multiple year slump, etc.), and they have overcome those issues to be very good (if not great) again. What other examples do we have of past Comeback POY winners that never succeeded at the MLB level in the first place?

Vogelsong has endured and battled as much as anyone to become a very good pitcher. But this is the first time he has been considered a very good major league pitcher. There are other awards, that if they existed, would be more appropriate.

How about “Breakout Player of the Year”? Or “Late Bloomer of the Year”? You can’t give him Comeback Player of the Year when he isn’t coming back to a level that he was before.

You, along with obsessivegiantscompulsive (see above), have poked holes in my argument.

To have come back, he had to be there first. Ryan never did it in the majors until now.

If the award was for greatest breakthrough after so many years or amazing perseverance, Ryan would win that hands down, though, which is what he really did.

Point well-taken. I suspect that’s why Berkman drew such support.

Not related…but I have a solution for Barry Zito.\

My nuclear option with Zito….send him to Single A San Jose. Let him sit there until he finds enough personal dignity to retire. That would be the end of our Zito problem.

See comments above. It’s refreshing to be disagreed with in such a genial, non-threatening AND sensible manner.

cold hearted fact

send whiteside and stewart back to fresno
sit pagan and sheirholtz for now

blanco cf
belt rf
sandoval 3b
posey 1b
cabrera lf
burris 2b
sanchez c
crawford ss

these are the best players coming out of the spring
trade huff, sheirholtz, the riot, pagan whiteside stewart for some pitchin prospects or draft choices

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