Giants executive Brian Sabean discussed his organization’s chief needs recently with reporters including MLB.com’s Chris Haft. While the team is facing a difficult situation with regard to payroll — both in 2018 and beyond — Sabean says there’s urgency to improve in several areas. “Center field needs to be upgraded,” he said. “We have to find an everyday third baseman. And we have to be resourceful in how we reconstruct the bullpen.” Those are the primary spots that seem in need of improvement from the outside; truly getting better, though, will require some combination of creativity and tough tradeoffs.
Here’s more from the National League:
- The Marlins have confirmed that Don Mattingly will, as expected, be back as manager, as Tim Healey of the Sun-Sentinel writes. The veteran skipper is under contract, as president of baseball operations Michael Hill noted, but the organization had not yet made clear in the midst of an ownership change that he would retain his role. (Of course, it would have rated as a big surprise had the team suddenly gone in a different direction at this point in the offseason.) Mattingly has said he’s excited to get underway with the new ownership group led by fellow Yankees legend Derek Jeter, but it’s yet to be seen just what kind of roster he’ll have to work with.
- Speaking of notable possible roster changes, Hill has held a conversation with Giancarlo Stanton, Healey reports, but the Marlins are understandably keeping things close to the vest. Expectations remain that the club will slash salary through some significant trades; Hill acknowledged that things haven’t gone as hoped of late and says the goal is to “build a sustainable, consistent, productive major league organization.” Stanton’s massive contract and excellent 2017 season seemingly make him a rather obvious trade piece, and we took a look earlier today at some teams that could line up on paper for Stanton, but his no-trade clause gives him quite a lot of say in a future destination.
- We’re still waiting to hear about league punishments for the Braves slate of alleged amateur signing transgressions, and it seems the wait will take a while longer. A decision is expected sometime between the GM Meetings and Winter Meetings, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. It’s likely that word won’t come down until December, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick adds on Twitter. Interestingly, though, Sherman says that the organization could end up making a front office decision before the commisioner’s office acts. Indeed, the team has been “quietly interviewing” some potential candidates that could join the front office in some capacity, per Sherman, who adds that the preference remains to seek a reunion with Royals GM Dayton Moore — who hasn’t been allowed to speak with the Atlanta organization to this point.
- The Giants have hired Rick Schu as their assistant hitting coach, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports on Twitter. Schu, a former big league third baseman, had served as the Nationals’ hitting coach since 2013 but was among the personnel allowed to seek other opportunities after the Nats decided not to retain Dusty Baker. Washington ended up hiring Kevin Long as its new hitting coach.