Greetings from Giants camp in Scottsdale

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Scottsdale Stadium, the spring training home of the San Francisco Giants, is pretty great.

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It just sits here nicely in the neighborhood. The scale is just right. The food is a cut above a lot of parks which means the smell is a cut above. Every time I’ve been here it’s been a gorgeous day. Unless you’re a Dodgers fan it’s just hard to not enjoy yourself when you come to see the Giants.

Personally, I’m just giddy. No, not because of the ballpark. Because, after being thwarted due to my late arrival yesterday, I was finally able to get an equipment bag shot:

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Ahhh. Sweet, sweet addiction.

I looked to the left and saw this:

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That’s Eric Byrnes interviewing Sandoval for MLB Network. I listened to the interview. You’ll be shocked that Sandoval, when asked how the Giants can turn two World Series titles in three years into a dynasty said “we just have to play our game.” Earlier Byrnes was telling his crew how he deals with haters on Twitter. He actually does it right. If someone insults them, he says “thanks for watching!” and basically kills them with kindness. Say what you want about Byrnes, but he doesn’t feed the trolls. Seems to have a pretty good head about him with that sort of thing.

Down into the clubhouse. You can’t take pictures inside, but just outside the door was the day’s lineup:

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Bruce Bochy is a wily devil. Gonna confuse the Mariners with the old “two catchers” trick. Which one is the pitcher throwing to? I don’t know! And neither do you! Bwahahaha!

While in the clubhouse I (a) made some observations about race; and (b) talked to Hunter Pence about some stuff.  I’m going to have separate posts about that later.

In the meantime, I’m back up in the press box. Where, as evidenced by my computer logging on to the Wi-Fi automatically, the Giants have not changed the password in the three years I’ve been coming here. Good ole “AaronRoward4MVP,” you shall always be the key to the information superhighway.

Oh and for those who care, Pedro Gomez is at today’s game, and you can’t prove he isn’t. Jon Heyman is here too, sitting three seats down from me in the press box.  Inasmuch as we here at HBT are about to introduce a new Mystery Blogger, it’s quite appropriate for the master of the Mystery Team to be on site.

That’s serious by the way: come back here at noon. We have a genuine Mystery Blogger to unveil.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.