Well this was bizarre. After the completion of last night’s Dodgers-Giants game, Dodgers setup man and former Giants closer Brian Wilson walked across the field to the box of Giants CE) Larry Baer and began shouting at him. Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com has the story:
“Just a conversation between me and him,” said Wilson, when I asked him what that was all about.
But as we told you first on CSNBayArea.com, Wilson was steamed that he still hasn’t received his 2012 World Series ring, and he was letting Baer know he wasn’t happy about it.
Baggarly spoke to Giants officials who are totally perplexed. Apparently they have tried to give the ring to Wilson on several occasions, but each time they have been rebuffed by Wilson’s people. Baggarly says Wilson has his ring now, as it was given to Dodgers officials to give to Wilson.
It was a weird year for Wilson, as he made a point to stay out of the public eye as he rehabbed his arm and, rather than try to make any deal with a team early on, waited until he was sure he could pitch before ultimately signing with the Dodgers. It was a good baseball move for him — he’s been lights out since he came back — but secreting himself up on some mountain with samurais or whatever also made him a hard man to reach, I figure.
So much drama, but there’s always drama around Wilson.
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.