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Bochy open to being 'creative' with roles in '19

Veteran skipper is flexible regarding 'openers' and platoons
MLB.com @mi_guardado

LAS VEGAS -- Echoing the new front office's desire to leave everything on the table, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said on Wednesday that he'll be open to using players in non-traditional roles to get the most out of his roster in 2019.

That includes a willingness to experiment with openers.

LAS VEGAS -- Echoing the new front office's desire to leave everything on the table, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said on Wednesday that he'll be open to using players in non-traditional roles to get the most out of his roster in 2019.

That includes a willingness to experiment with openers.

"I think anytime you could get creative to help win a ballgame, you should do it," Bochy said during his 20-minute session with reporters at the Winter Meetings. "I think it's important that you do stay open-minded. There's been some changes in the game, and of course that's one of them, using an opener. That's going to be driven by your personnel, your roster. You see where you're at, and in your mind if you have to do it to give you a better chance to win a ballgame, I'm all for it."

Giants pitchers aren't the only group that could be deployed differently next season, as president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said on Tuesday he's also considering platooning certain position players to create more favorable matchups. Bochy acknowledged that he'll likely have to have conversations with some of his veteran players about their potentially evolving roles.

Video: Bochy on being creative, using opening pitcher

"You've got to sit down with the players, say, 'Listen, we're going to probably do things a little bit different sometimes,'" Bochy said. "Roles won't quite be as defined, possibly. But that's always been the case in baseball. It's probably a little more common today, especially when you're trying to get more versatility, more flexibility on your roster. You want them to have a heads up, not be surprised by anything. And also just remind them that the best way to get where we want to go is to have an unselfish attitude. Just do whatever you think or what we think is the best way to win a ballgame, and got to get them to buy into this."

Still, Zaidi has made it clear that whatever strategies the Giants choose to pursue will ultimately depend on the composition of their roster in 2019. It's still too early to predict what type of talent the club will have at its disposal come Opening Day, but Bochy is certain he won't be using openers on days Madison Bumgarner is lined up to pitch.

While Bochy's old-school style stands in contrast to Zaidi's analytical background, the skipper said their interactions have been positive so far.

"We all know he's very, very bright," Bochy said. "He's got new ideas, he's very creative, very into analytics. But he has deep respect for people in baseball on the scouting side, development side. He's a listener. He's the man in charge, but he wants to hear what you have to say and he respects that. And so I think he keeps a balance, and it's not his way or the highway."

Video: Bochy gives update on status of Posey's injured hip

Posey update
Bochy revealed that catcher Buster Posey had a microfracture in his right hip that was surgically repaired along with the torn labrum and impingement in August. Posey's rehab is progressing as expected, and Bochy said he's optimistic the 31-year-old backstop will be able to regain some of the power that was zapped by the injury in 2018.

"I think we're going to see a different player, because we're going to see a healthy Posey," Bochy said. "If you're a catcher and you've got a bad hip, the game is hard enough to play. And he had a micro fracture there, too, and we didn't know that until he went in there. It was a little worse than we thought."

Zaidi meets with Boras
Zaidi met with agent Scott Boras for nearly two hours at the Four Seasons Hotel on Tuesday night. The trip itself proved eventful, as he accidentally knocked on the wrong hotel door before realizing his mistake.

"Rather than standing there and apologizing, I just made a run for it," Zaidi said.

Video: Bochy on Giants' eyeing offseason additions

Boras represents several free agents who could be of interest to the Giants, including outfielder Bryce Harper, super utility man Marwin Gonzalez, along with left-handers Dallas Keuchel and Yusei Kikuchi. Boras said on Wednesday that Kikuchi's signing isn't imminent, as he is planning to meet with interested teams in Los Angeles later this month. The Giants, who are in need of rotation help and have extensively scouted Kikuchi, will likely be among the clubs in attendance.

"The market for Kikuchi is vast," Boras said. "Whether you're a developmental club, a club that's a playoff team or getting there, all have expressed interest in him."

Kikuchi, who was posted by the Seibu Lions of Nippon Professional Baseball earlier this month, has until Jan. 2 to sign a deal with a Major League club.

Though Zaidi said he feels talks are progressing on various fronts, he did not sound confident about completing any kind of transaction before the Winter Meetings end on Thursday.

"I'm not sure we're going to see anything really finalized in the next 24 hours," Zaidi said. "But I could certainly see some of the conversations we're having leading to some moves next week before the holidays."

Rule 5 Draft preview
With only 35 spots filled on their 40-man roster, the Giants will have the opportunity to be active during the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday.

"We'll certainly have the ability to take four or five guys," Zaidi joked.

Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000.

"As of now, I could see us taking somebody," Zaidi said. "We haven't had our specific meetings about it, but we have enough roles on the roster that we're looking to fill. We certainly like some of the players that are potentially going to be available."

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.

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