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Wotus 'humbled' to stay on as third-base coach

@goodforball
November 13, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- Like a lighthouse in San Francisco Bay, Ron Wotus provides illumination, offers guidance and remains a constant presence. A byproduct of Gabe Kapler’s hiring as the Giants’ manager was the news that Wotus would remain the team’s third-base coach. The longest-tenured coach in franchise history, Wotus approaches

SAN FRANCISCO -- Like a lighthouse in San Francisco Bay, Ron Wotus provides illumination, offers guidance and remains a constant presence.

A byproduct of Gabe Kapler’s hiring as the Giants’ manager was the news that Wotus would remain the team’s third-base coach. The longest-tenured coach in franchise history, Wotus approaches his 23rd consecutive season on the club’s coaching staff.

“I’m humbled and I’m appreciative,” Wotus said. “This is the place where I always wanted to be.”

A new manager typically begins his tenure by bringing aboard an entirely new coaching staff. But Wotus, 58, has proven so valuable to the organization that he has survived three changes in managerial regimes. Felipe Alou saw fit to retain Wotus after succeeding Dusty Baker as manager following the 2002 season. Wotus also emerged unscathed from the transition from Alou to Bruce Bochy before the '07 season.

Kapler opted to maintain this custom, though he and the rest of the Giants’ hierarchy must fill every other coaching position.

“One of the things I’m most excited and passionate about is hiring a top-of-the-charts staff to lead this organization that I can lean on and give a lot of responsibility to, so I can be better equipped to sit down and have conversations with our players, and Ron Wotus is going to be our third-base coach in 2020,” Kapler said. “[I’m] very honored, very excited about working with Wo, and specifically, his reputation is stellar. He’s been in this city forever, and as I look for places to get perspective, part of the first couple of months entering an organization as a manager is going on a listening tour. That listening tour includes not saying as much, but really asking a lot of questions, something that I plan to do with Wo.”

Giants catcher Buster Posey, who resides in the Bay Area year-round, attended Wednesday’s news conference at Oracle Park and lavished praise upon Wotus, a former utility infielder who appeared in 32 games with Pittsburgh in 1983-84.

Posey referred to Wotus’ positioning of the Giants’ defense, a responsibility often belonging to the bench coach. Wotus served as the Giants’ bench coach from 1999-2017.

“I’m really excited about Wo being back,” Posey said. “It’s hard to put his value to this organization into words. What I’m always so impressed with is how long he’s been doing it with the passion he still has about it. You get him talking about a certain play, or something that's wrong, a defensive alignment or a shift or a bunt -- he loves it. Those are the type of guys you want to have around and spend your time with.”

Wotus clearly wanted to continue spending time with the Giants, who interviewed him shortly after the regular season ended for the managerial vacancy created by Bochy’s retirement. Nevertheless, to explore his options, he interviewed for the New York Mets’ bench coach job last weekend and was scheduled to receive a second interview this weekend.

Wotus added that David Ross, the Chicago Cubs’ new manager, invited him to interview for that club’s bench coach spot. But Wotus admitted that he procrastinated and missed his chance to enter that competition.

Wotus was told approximately a couple of weeks ago that he would not get the Giants’ managerial position. But he did get candor from Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi.

“Farhan was honest and upfront with me the whole time that he wanted the manager to be on board with any decisions,” said Wotus.

Thoughts of migrating to the Mets or elsewhere deserted Wotus when Kapler gave him his blessing.

“I interviewed for the [Giants’] managing job, but I made it clear to Gabe and the organization that it’s not the first time I’ve been passed over,” Wotus said. “At this point in my career and who I am, it’s about helping the Giants get back to where we need to be. Some will say, bench coach is a better position than third-base coach. I’ve enjoyed coaching third base; I enjoy the competition on the field.

"And the bottom line for me, as I said, is this is where I wanted to be. I have so many great relationships over the last 30 years here in San Francisco. I think your life and the people you want to be around are more important than your professional career. I chose that for me and my family.”

Chris Haft has covered the Major Leagues since 1991 and has worked for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @goodforball.