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Bochy sees confident start as key to 2018

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Bruce Bochy would like to see the Giants begin next season with a certain edge.

The Giants manager expressed confidence Tuesday at baseball's Winter Meetings that his ballclub can regain the quiet, almost-but-not-quite-smug confidence it maintained for years. But, Bochy said, the Giants will need a few more early-season wins than they engineered last season.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Bruce Bochy would like to see the Giants begin next season with a certain edge.

The Giants manager expressed confidence Tuesday at baseball's Winter Meetings that his ballclub can regain the quiet, almost-but-not-quite-smug confidence it maintained for years. But, Bochy said, the Giants will need a few more early-season wins than they engineered last season.

And the players must develop a healthy springtime outlook to pave the way toward that instant success.

"When you're coming off a very tough season like we had, for the psyche of the ballclub, I think it would be important to get off to a good start to get their confidence -- their swagger, so to speak -- back," Bochy said.

"Not that I'm worried about their confidence, because our core players are there and they have been through it. I'm hoping that they all come in a little ticked off about what happened last year and come in with an attitude, so that's going to make a difference, too."

Bochy addressed other subjects during his media availability, including:

• Chris Shaw, the organization's second-ranked prospect according to MLBPipeline.com. The power hitter is being moved from first base to left field in an effort to get him in the lineup, which might not happen until 2019.

"Chris is knocking on the door," Bochy said. "He's intriguing."

Video: Bochy impressed with prospects Shaw and Beede

• The recoveries of right-hander Mark Melancon and left-hander Will Smith from forearm and Tommy John surgeries, respectively.

"They're coming along just fine and I look forward to seeing them both in Spring Training," Bochy said. "It's going to be nice to have those two healthy."

• Whether Smith will be healed enough to open the season with San Francisco.

"Obviously, we'll see where he's at when he's in Spring Training," Bochy said. "... I can answer it better once we get there and see how he's throwing the ball. We'll have to keep a watchful eye on him this spring."

Rule 5 pick a possibility: Having received a No. 2 overall pick as the result of their 64-98 finish last season, the Giants will consider selecting a player in the annual Rule 5 Draft, general manager Bobby Evans said. The Giants have rarely felt compelled to dive into the Rule 5 Draft, in which teams are allowed to pluck Minor Leaguers from other organizations who are left off the 40-man roster and thus unprotected from the Draft. With such a high pick this year, the Giants might be able to choose a prospect who's more Major League-ready than those in the pool of players usually available to them.

Each draftee costs the selecting team $100,000. If the player doesn't stay on that club's 25-man Major League roster all season, he must be offered back to his original team for $50,000. Often, the teams engineer a deal, such as a minor trade, to enable the selecting team to keep the draftee and send him to the Minors.

In mourning: The Giants' family mourned the death of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who died of a heart attack early Tuesday at 65.

"Just horrible news," Bochy said. "I just found out really an hour ago, and I had the chance to spend some time with him. He's just a huge supporter of the Giants and I just loved his enthusiasm. You saw him during the parades, and when he came to the ballpark, he had a real passion ... for the Giants and the city of San Francisco.

"So it's a tough loss for the city, a real sad day, and I feel for his family, how sudden this happened. We're going to miss him."

Video: Bochy reacts to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's passing

Club president and chief executive officer Larry Baer called the organization "deeply saddened and shocked" to hear of Lee's death.

"He was a true San Franciscan who devoted his life to serving our great city and to supporting those most in need," Baer said in a statement. "He was the Giants' No. 1 fan and we are blessed to have shared so many wonderful memories together. He will be dearly missed by everyone in our organization."

Renel Brooks-Moon, the public-address announcer at AT&T Park, tweeted the following remarks with a photograph of her and Lee:

"In shock & devastated. Prayers for Mrs. Lee & the family. It was an honor to serve SF under his leadership. He always jokingly & lovingly asked me to give him 1 of my WS rings."

Tweet from @RenelSFVoyce: In shock & devastated. Prayers for Mrs. Lee & the family. It was an honor to serve SF under his leadership. He always jokingly & lovingly asked me to give him 1 of my WS rings. Here we are celebrating Dubs 2015 championship. #ripmayorlee 🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/kP9DQ2o7wY

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

San Francisco Giants, Mark Melancon, Chris Shaw, Will Smith