As the Giants do battle in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Dodgers, Kris Bryant will be manning first base. Before the game, the versatile Bryant offered John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle a positive review of his time out west, drawing comparisons to the fun, winning culture cultivated during the Cubs’ 2016 playoff run and suggesting openness to a longer-term arrangement. Whether there’s enough mutual interest in a reunion will likely come down to dollars, but this endorsement will only serve to intensify reunion rumors between Bryant, a West Coast native, and San Francisco in the months ahead.
A couple other notes out of the Bay Area…
- Left-handed reliever Tony Watson is working his way back from a shoulder strain in hopes of returning to a potential Giants’ NLCS roster. The veteran acknowledged to Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic however that he may be running out of time. Advancing past the Dodgers is the Giants’ chief objective at the moment, but if they do just that, it would be a boon to their pitching staff if Watson returned. Acquired in a mid-season trade with the Angels, Watson dominated for the first-place club down the stretch— in 26 appearances he produced a stingy 4.4% walk rate, a sub-3 ERA (140 ERA+), and was among the best in the league at limiting hard contact.
- J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group meanwhile offered some insight into another barrel-dodging left-hander. Alex Wood spoke to Hoornstra about his decision to sign with the Giants this past offseason after securing a ring with the Dodgers during last year’s campaign. Wood spoke glowingly of his time in LA but cited his relationship with Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and a clearer path to consistent starts as a reason to move on. Signed to a one-year, $3MM contract, Wood’s performance has been one of several unmitigated successes for the upstart Giants this year. Boasting above-average strikeout, walk, and groundball rates of 26%, 6.7%, and 50%, Wood helped his club across 26 starts to win the NL West by the thinnest of margins. His 3.83 ERA looks sustainable in the eyes of advanced metrics, a factor likely to play into yet an even more competitive offseason for the starter’s services.