Giants prepare extensions for Sabean, Bochy

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The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the Giants will re-sign both GM Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy to contract extensions.
Both are being rewarded for the Giants’ turnaround from a 72-90 team in 2008 to one that remained in contention until the final week of 2009.
It’s a definite case of good timing for both, in that their contracts came up after this year. Bochy is still just 229-254 in his three years at the helm of the Giants. Sabean benefitted from having one of the best players ever for the first 11 years of his reign, yet his teams advanced past the NLDS just once, losing to the Angels in the World Series in 2002.
Giving Sabean and Bochy three-year extensions isn’t something the Giants will want to do, but it’d be tough to do shorter deals without undermining them. This is a huge offseason for the team, what with Bengie Molina and Randy Winn coming off the books and Tim Lincecum ready to discuss an extension. The Giants simply must upgrade the offense and they have the flexibility to go about it in any number of ways; Pablo Sandoval and Aaron Rowand should be the only locks for the 2010 lineup, and Sandoval could play either third or first. Unfortunately, finding productive hitters is far and away Sabean’s biggest weakness and the Giants could be setting themselves up for another fruitless run by relying on him again.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.

Manny Machado teaches us to never give up

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The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.

Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.

Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:

Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.