Seems like storylines are flying all over the place this week involving Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, and it’s only Tuesday. Time to sift through the muck:
– On Sunday, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com ran a quote from a White Sox source who had this interesting tidbit about the club’s desire to obtain Gonzalez: “That’s really what we need, a big left-handed hitter,” said the Sox source. “They’re saying [General Manager] Kenny [Williams] would give anything to get him, maybe even Gordon Beckham.”
– The baseball world was given a quick response to that notion this afternoon, when White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen revealed his undying love for the young Beckham. “We plan to have Gordon for a long time,” said the skipper. “I
don’t see why people talk about it.” He hasn’t heard anything about a possible trade because no trade is being discussed. Or, probably. The White Sox are known for moving in mysterious ways and Williams, one of the more interesting GMs in the game, is also a wizard at controlling the message.
– HardballTalk’s own Matthew Pouliot analyzed a possible Beckham-Gonzalez swap in a post earlier this evening.
– There’s one thing we know for sure: Gonzalez, a San Diego native, is probably on his way out of the city (and probably the state of California) by the end of this calendar year, and maybe as soon as the July trade deadline. We know this because Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune says Gonzalez is going to ask for a free agent contract similar to the $180 million monstrosity that Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees last offseason. It’s pretty apparent the Padres are not going to pay that.
Gonzalez, 27, has batted .279/.371/.519 with 106 home runs, 318 RBI and 105 doubles over the last three seasons while calling the ultimate pitcher’s park his home. He is under team control through 2011, for what it’s worth.
After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.
According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.
Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.
Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.