Results tagged ‘ Bobby Evans ’

Belt, Crawford get attention

Tuesday, Nov. 29

SAN FRANCISCO — Contradicting their reputation for favoring veteran players, general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy sounded upbeat about first baseman-outfielder Brandon Belt and shortstop Brandon Crawford, who will enter Spring Training as candidates for the Opening Day lineup if they’re not shoved aside by free-agent or trade acquisitions.

Belt hit .300 in 28 games for Escogido in the Dominican Winter League. The Giants wanted the 23-year-old to accumulate more at-bats after an injury-marred season in which he hit .225 in 63 games for the Giants when he wasn’t making one of his three round-trips back to the Minors.

Sabean was impressed with what he saw of Belt on telecasts and videos.<p/>

“I think he made a concerted effort to make some adjustments,” Sabean said during Tuesday’s conference call. “It’s not Major League pitching, but you still have to have an approach. All the reports that we got from Moises Alou, who’s the general manager there, were favorable. He was playable in the outfield. We know his best position is probably first base, but this was a nice step for him. I’m really happy and pleased that he accepted this challenge.”

Crawford, 24, hit .276 in 21 games for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League. His stint included a 16-game hitting streak during which he hit .338 (24-for-71). That helped Crawford make the AFL’s Top Prospects squad.

“We know what his glove brings, and he tried like hell to make [hitting] adjustments,” Sabean said. “He put the ball in play extremely well. He tried his damndest to stay off the high fastball, which was kind of his Kryptonite.”

Said Bochy of Crawford, “I think he’s a guy who can do some things to make a difference.”

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Bochy also praised catcher Hector Sanchez, who owned a .393 batting average in 32 games with La Guaira of the Venezuelan Winter League. All year, Bochy has monitored Sanchez’s improvement, which could result in a long look for the switch-hitting 22-year-old in Spring Training. Sanchez won’t unseat a healthy Buster Posey, but he could compete for a backup spot unless the Giants want him to gain more seasoning at Triple-A Fresno.

“I’m not going to be surprised to see him make a lot of noise this spring,” Bochy said.

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The hunch here is that the Giants will re-sign either Cody Ross or Andres Torres, but not both. Ross is a free agent; Torres is eligible for salary arbitration but probably will not be tendered a contract. That would save the Giants a million bucks or so if Torres, who would become a free agent after being non-tendered, opts to stay with the Giants.

Sabean lumped Torres along with other arbitration-eligibles, such as Jeff Keppinger and Mike Fontenot. “He’s certainly part of our discussions about what we’re going to try to do internally to go forward,” Sabean said. “He’s in a group of players who we still have time to make decisions on.”

Asked whether he thought Ross might return, Sabean said only, “Not sure.”

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Bobby Evans, the Giants’ vice president of baseball operations, said that third baseman Pablo Sandoval hasn’t decided whether to alter his plans for returning to Venezuela, where he had originally intended to participate in the winter league’s home run derby and play for a week to 10 days with Magallanes. Evans indicated that the kidnapping incident involving Washington catcher Wilson Ramos in Venezuela apparently isn’t a deterrent for Sandoval. But being in shape could be. He underwent laser eye surgery on Nov. 18, interrupting his training in Arizona.

Chris Haft

Neukom puts his stamp on Giants

 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The business of baseball no longer belongs mainly to businessmen, but also to traditional baseball men. At least that’s what Bill Neukom believes.

Neukom, the Giants’ managing general partner, revealed Friday that key figures from baseball operations, including general manager Brian Sabean, vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans and scouting director John Barr, have been attending meetings of the Giants’ investors — not just to hear more than they ordinarily might about ledgers and balance sheets, but also to impart some of their horsehide-oriented wisdom upon the millionaires. “Part of the Giants Way,” said Neukom, citing his now-familiar program for revitalizing the franchise, “is integrating the business side and the baseball side of our enterprise.”  

Neukom also pointedly mentioned the contributions of Jeremy Shelley, senior director of baseball operations/pro scouting, and baseball operations coordinator Yeshayah Goldfarb — reflecting the Giants’ increased emphasis on statistical analysis. This, too, reflects Neukom’s influence since he took over the club last Oct. 1.

“These are not just crunchers who give you some funny numbers,” Neukom said. “They know the game, love the game and have an opinion, and they stand up to Brian and the scouts and [vice president of player personnel Dick] Tidrow and say, ‘This is not the guy you want for these reasons’ or ‘this is what you might not have caught on this guy.’ “

Sabean, to his credit, has mentioned statistical analysis more than once during recent months to explain certain moves — or non-moves.

Given the state of the economy, it’s wise for anybody involved in baseball to understand more about the game’s monetary aspects. The recession, said Neukom, “is a serious matter and it’s changing the complexion of the finances of the game. We want to try to stay in front of that if we can. Be prudent.”

– Chris Haft

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