Winter Meetings interview with Bruce Bochy

December 12th, 2017

Q. Initial reactions on Stanton?

BRUCE BOCHY: No, we've moved on. He's with the Yankees, in fact, that we were involved, I'm sure that's exciting time, but didn't happen and you move on. That's part of the game.

Q. How well did you get to know Mayor Ed lee and what was your reaction?

BRUCE BOCHY: Just horrible news. 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 just had a real passion, and as I said enthusiasm for the Giants and the city of San Francisco.

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

Q. His speeches were rather interesting at those parades and at the ballpark, weren't they?

BRUCE BOCHY: They were. He was fired up. He loved it. He loved the Giants and he loved being a part of us winning and had a lot of fun with it and he was great to have around. He was "rah-rah" all the time around the Giants.

Q. Three years ago at this time we were coming off a year where offense was really down and a lot of people were talking about how speed was going to become a big part of the game again, and it turns out instead we saw power. So what role does speed play in the game today?

BRUCE BOCHY: Well, I still think it plays a critical role in the game. Speed is not just stolen bases but it's on defense, it's running the bases, there's an extra base, I think every team, when you talk about getting athletes, you want to have guys who are athletic and that usually you're talking about speed there, and speed can disrupt a game, especially when you get to the playoffs.

So speed's always going to be a part of the game. Sure, the power is talked about now and it's all over the game, it's what we're looking for, too, but there's nothing like having speed. That's still going to be a big part of our game I think as we move forward because we're not a team that tries to slug it out with you, we're trying to get more athletic.

Q. I don't know when you're grinding every day even when things are going well that you can actually enjoy it, but was last year one of those years where you go, I probably have to enjoy a little bit more when things are going well?

BRUCE BOCHY: That's a great point. No, I agree with you. We talked about that actually, you don't savor the good times as much as you dwell on the tough times. That's a tough season for everybody. Fans, ownership, front office, coaching staff, players, all of us. It's not a lot of fun to lose 98. It wears on you and it makes the season quite a bit longer, not quite a bit, a lot longer. As we get into August, we were out of it almost like it's become like the movie "The Endless Summer". You know, because you're doing all you can to get back on track and we just had a hard time doing it.

So to your point, yeah, I think that's why you got to enjoy the successes and when you win a game celebrate them. We don't do it enough. Especially in baseball because it's pretty much every night. You're playing 162 and hopefully more, you can't dwell on the losses too much.

Q. Given the team's stated desire to add some thump to the lineup what role do you see Chris Shaw playing next year if any?

BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, Chris is knocking on the door. He's intriguing. We have played him at first, he's playing left field this year. Trying to keep our options open with him. He's a heart-of-the-order type bat. So had a nice year with the power and so I look forward to watching him in Spring Training.

Is he ready? No, I see him probably getting some more playing time, especially on the defensive side, but this guy's, we feel he's a Major League bat, so I look forward to seeing him in Spring Training.

Q. To follow up to the speed question, there's one player that the Reds have, who seems to be getting a lot of interest here. Here's a guy the last two trends are power and OBP, and he really doesn't have any, but he just seems to change a game. Is he unique among leadoff hitters, at least that you've seen in the National League, in his ability to just change a game with the threat of what he can do?

BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, there's few players in the game like Billy Hamilton. I mean, it's disruptive speed. We talked about it earlier. That's how fast he is. He's one of those guys they know he is probably going to go, and he still has a good chance of stealing a base. So when you talk about the gifts and talents of a Billy Hamilton, there are few guys that can do that in the game. He's entertaining. The Reds have a nice player there.

Q. Do you think what he can do when he gets on base into the pitcher's head actually might make up for some of the things he lacks compared to some of the other hitters?

BRUCE BOCHY: Well, it's hard for me to talk about a player that's not mine.

Q. From an opposing standpoint.

BRUCE BOCHY: Anytime you have a speed guy out there, talk about Rickey Henderson, I mean what he did, he got the stolen base but it was the fact that he got inside the pitcher's head and things like that so, sure, that could make up for some other things. That's the type of player he is and that's why he's in the Major Leagues, it's not because of power or hitting ability.

Q. Where did you end up with your Winter League guys? I think a couple had to go home, and I never saw Slater on a roster.

BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, I know Parker, he had an issue with an eye infection, so he came home. Arroyo, as you know, had the surgery and he tried to stay and play and that unfortunately didn't work out with him. , he got off to a slow start and he ended up coming home. So we were hoping to at least get a month out of those guys, but Slater we held back. He wasn't quite ready.

Q. Obviously this off-season we as the media we can speculate what the Giants' biggest need is this off-season but in your opinion what's the biggest pressing issue for you guys this off-season?

BRUCE BOCHY: I think we have multiple needs. We have talked about getting help in the outfield, adding a bat in the lineup. I don't think you ever stop trying to get better in the bullpen. So I don't want to say there's one area we're totally focused on, but we have a few needs.

Q. It's long been said that former catchers make the best managers. But if you look at all the hires the last few years, none of them are catchers. Is there any rhyme or reason to that?

BRUCE BOCHY: No, I can't give you any rhyme or reason. I know that for awhile there catchers had a pretty good run at becoming managers and I've said this, I think the transition probably is a little bit easier for a catcher because in essence you're a manager on the field, you're the one that sees everything, you hopefully you have somewhat of an understanding of pitching, which is a big part of managing, knowing all the plays, you're getting signs from the manager. So that makes it a little easier, but there's so many great managers that aren't catchers.

So there's no reason that I can give you to why there's been a few hires that aren't catchers.

Q. Do you think analytics play a role that a lot of non-catchers look at a lot of the same information that typically only catchers would do as players?

BRUCE BOCHY: I'm not sure I follow you there.

Q. Basically as a catcher you have to know the other team in depth and now with analytics non-catchers may look at a lot more data than they used to?

BRUCE BOCHY: Well, yeah, but we have a coaching staff, so everybody has their department and whether it's the defense, pitching coach, looking at other hitters. So it's not just not the catcher and manager looking at it. So it's a coaching staff that hopefully works together and that's how you get it done.

Q. What do you see Pablo's role being this Spring Training?

BRUCE BOCHY: You know what, I probably can answer that better when I get into Spring Training, I'll see where we're at with this club. Right now if we started the season tomorrow, he would be at third base. That's a hard question to answer.

Q. You kind of looking forward to how Alonzo is going to work with some guys, bringing maybe in a fresh eyes to especially like a Pence, who you know still has the ability to hit with power but only had 13 doubles, how he gets the ball in the air?

BRUCE BOCHY: I am looking forward to working with Alonzo. I knew him a little bit but I got to know him a lot better, obviously, and he's got a great way about him. I just think he's going to be an asset to these hitters. He's coming off a tremendous year with Houston, of course, working with great hitters and he's going to give us some fresh ideas and I'm sure these hitters will be picking his brain. But a very positive guy, very upbeat.

Now, what we have to be careful of is, because it's talked about, we need more power. There's not a silver bullet on this, on this thing, so I don't want to put that on Alonzo Powell, that, hey, he's going to have us hitting more home runs. Sure, he's going to have probably a little different philosophy, but it's not a case where you're going to see the ball flying out of the ballpark. We are who we are. Hopefully we get better, because we need to get better offensively and I think we do need to drive the ball more, and I think he's going to help us there.

Q. Has Alonzo done any road trips to meet with some of your players?

BRUCE BOCHY: Well, he's in Arizona, so I know he's been to our Spring Training facility there, so I think he's touched base with a lot of them, but I don't know how much, to be honest.

Q. I know you're not really going to change much up on how you go about Spring Training, but is there almost a sense that April becomes a little bit more important, you want to get off on the right foot to really push this year?

BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, I think so, I agree with that. 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. Not that I'm worried about their confidence because our core players are there and they have been through it. They will, 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.

Q. What have you done this off-season to relax a little bit, enjoy, get over last season?

BRUCE BOCHY: I really haven't been anywhere. We made some coaching changes, been busy with that. Of course a couple guys we were talking to, Winter Meetings, really, I spent time at home. I had a rough day in the backyard moving some wood, as you see, but really I spent time with the family and that's what I do now.

Q. Some reports have tied you guys to . Cardinals have become the frontrunner it looks like. How would a guy like that fit in your lineup?

BRUCE BOCHY: You're talking about a great player. He had a tremendous year, and I think every club would like to have him, to have a complete player like this. But I can't answer too much about a player I don't have.

Q. Is there enough, you played now a long time in this park, is there a reality to trying to get players who fit a park? Is your park unique enough where you do think about that at all? Is that one of the factors?

BRUCE BOCHY: I think so. Especially now with the analytics, they have ways of figuring out what a player is going to hit in your ballpark. Does it suit him. That helps any decision making when you talk about a player, in particular maybe a power hitter. But still we look for the right type of player that we think fits our culture and is a winning type player that we want to tie ourselves to. But still I think you have to get all the information you can about your ballpark and the player.

Q. Do you like what you're hearing about some of your relievers and how their recovery is coming along?

BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, we're just talking about that. Yeah, they're doing well. Melancon, Will Smith, they're coming along just fine and look forward to seeing them both in Spring Training, it's going to be nice to have those two healthy.

Q. Will Will be kind of touch and go whether he will break with you or what's the expectation?

BRUCE BOCHY: I think so, we'll obviously see where he's at when he's in Spring Training and we still have some time there, and I can answer it better once we get there and see how he's throwing the ball but we'll have to keep a watchful eye on him this spring, and it's probably where we can use him like we used him before, you're probably talking All-Star break. Back-to-back, maybe three days in a row, things like that.

Q. What were your reports and what did you think about what Beede was able to do?

BRUCE BOCHY: It was good to have him back throwing, I'll start with that but, he's got the stuff. He's got the equipment. We think a lot of Beede and it's a shame he missed some time and maybe who knows, the possible call-up to get him back out there throwing, that's a good thing and it's what he needs, to get on the mound and continue his progress. He's got some things to improve at, but that doesn't happen unless you get on the mound.

Q. Any comment on Jack and Alan getting in the Hall of Fame?

BRUCE BOCHY: That's awesome. I just saw Jack and I congratulated him from a distance because I flew in with Tram and what a moment. I was proud to be part of that. We had a little photo there and it's in my phone now and I'll keep that, because he coached for me and what a great player. I think it's overdue, to be honest. You look at his numbers, his longevity, of course he killed us in '84 in the World Series, so I couldn't be happier for him, it's really a special moment.

Q. For both of them, too, to come in together, drafted to and then inducted?

BRUCE BOCHY: I agree. It's pretty cool that they're both going in together and it's made for a very nice Winter Meetings for both of them. Both well deserved because you look at what they did in the '80s and it's pretty amazing the things they accomplished. So well deserved.