Fresh off the Hunter Pence deal, the Giants now look to retain Tim Lincecum

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The Giants made headlines earlier today when they signed outfielder Hunter Pence to a five-year, $90 million contract extension. With that hurdle cleared, the Giants are now focusing on keeping starter Tim Lincecum around, reports Hank Schulman.

Though Lincecum has had a tough couple of years, he has been the biggest reason for their recent success, taking home back-to-back NL Cy Young awards in 2008 and ’09, and contributing to their championships in 2010 and ’12. Since the start of the 2012 season, however, Lincecum has a 4.76 ERA over 65 starts. He has shown promise at times and has looked better lately, posting a 3.66 ERA in his last six starts to wrap up the season.

Lincecum earned $22 million this season, the last of a two-year, $40.5 million extension signed in January 2012. CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly suggests Lincecum could fetch $30 million over three years on the open market, so the Giants would need to present a competitive offer.

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”