The Giants held a conference call this afternoon to discuss the contract extensions for GM Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy. Asked about their offseason agenda by John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, Sabean said he doesn’t plan on making a “big splash” to upgrade the team’s lackluster offense.
While it’s not a surprise to learn that they won’t be in the mix for top-tier hitters like Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder or Jose Reyes, Sabean even downplayed the team’s chances of signing Jimmy Rollins or Carlos Beltran. When asked specifically about Beltran, Sabean said, “Whether it’s (Beltran) or anybody else, we have a very definitive game plan on each conversation on what we think is a reasonable length.”
Beltran, who turns 35 in April, batted .323/.369/.551 with seven homers and a .920 OPS over 179 plate appearances with San Francisco after being acquired from the Mets in a mid-season trade. While the Giants are still interested in bringing him back, the major concern is that he could receive a longer contract from an American League club, as they would have the option of using him as a designated hitter down the road.
For now, Sabean is committed to allocating resources to the pitching staff, which he considers the organization’s “gold standard.” With that in mind, assistant GM Bobby Evans said he has already spoken with the agents for Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, describing it as “an exchange of ideas and some conversations about numbers.” Cain is set to become a free agent after the 2012 season while Lincecum is under team control though 2013.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.