Giants get their man early at Winter Meetings

Signing Melancon on first day a boon for San Francisco

Giants get their man early at Winter Meetings

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Giants can consider themselves fortunate -- with emphasis on "fortune" -- to have been the first team to leap into the market for a free-agent closer at baseball's Winter Meetings, which concluded Thursday.

Having agreed with right-hander Mark Melancon on a four-year, $62 million deal Monday, the Giants sat back and watched the next big-time closer, left-hander Aroldis Chapman, come to terms on a five-year, $86 million contract.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Left-field continuity a challenge for Giants

Next season will be 10th straight with different Opening Day starter

Left-field continuity a challenge for Giants

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Call it the Curse of Barry Bonds. Call it a hazard of roster management. Or consider it a very real issue that the Giants must keep addressing to bolster the long-term strength of their roster.

Settling upon an adequate left fielder has remained an annual concern for the Giants since they declined to offer Bonds a contract at the end of the 2007 season. In nine seasons since then, they have employed nine different Opening Day left fielders: Dave Roberts (2008), Fred Lewis (2009), Mark DeRosa (2010), Pat Burrell (2011), Aubrey Huff (2012), Andres Torres (2013), Mike Morse (2014), Norichika Aoki (2015) and Angel Pagan (2016).

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Photo: Johnny Cueto hung out with a donkey

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Photo: Johnny Cueto hung out with a donkey

If there's one thing Johnny Cueto loves more than trolling Major League batters, it's befriending the entire animal kingdom. Last winter, for example, the Giants righty both casually rode a horse and headed over to SeaWorld to become some sort of whale whisperer.

So, now that the offseason is here again, Cueto has decided to become best friends with a local donkey. It seems to be going well.

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Giants trade Heston to Mariners

Cain focused on returning to starting role

Giants trade Heston to Mariners

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Giants traded right-hander Chris Heston, whose promise was dashed by injuries a little more than a year after he pitched a no-hitter, to the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named.

San Francisco needed a 40-man roster spot to clear room for right-hander Mark Melancon, the closer who agreed to a four-year, $62 million contract Monday.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants' commitment to winning drew Melancon

New San Francisco closer boasts great success vs. NL West rivals

Giants' commitment to winning drew Melancon

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- In one respect, the Giants had to squeeze Mark Melancon onto their roster.

Mostly, however, the Giants' new closer seemed like a perfect fit for manager Bruce Bochy's band of professionals that has posted winning records in seven of the last eight seasons.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bochy approves of Posey's Classic plans

Giants manager open-minded about how to use new closer Melancon

Bochy approves of Posey's Classic plans

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Buster Posey has Giants manager Bruce Bochy's blessing to represent the United States in the World Baseball Classic this spring.

"I'm fine with it," Bochy said Tuesday at baseball's Winter Meetings. "If Buster wants to do it, I'm good with it. It's obvious he's got to get himself ready a little sooner than he normally would."

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants' best prospects likely to start at Triple-A

Giants' best prospects likely to start at Triple-A

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Giants general manager Bobby Evans said Tuesday at baseball's Winter Meetings that infielder Christian Arroyo and right-hander Tyler Beede, the organization's top prospects, likely will begin the regular season at Triple-A Sacramento.

MLBPipeline.com ranks Arroyo and Beede first and second, respectively, on the Giants' list of promising Minor Leaguers.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants find their closer, give Melancon 4-year deal

Free agent gets $62 million to shore up SF's top need

Giants find their closer, give Melancon 4-year deal

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Committing an unprecedented sum of money in an attempt to offset unprecedented lapses in performance, the Giants announced Monday that they obtained the closer they sought by agreeing to a four-year contract with free-agent right-hander Mark Melancon. An industry source confirmed Melancon's contract is worth a total of $62 million, including a $20 million signing bonus of which $12 million will be paid up front. The deal includes salaries of $4 million in 2017 and $10 million in 2018, after which Melancon may opt out of the deal. If Melancon opts into the last two years, the salary is $14 million per season.

The pact's average annual value of $15.5 million and the total figure established highs for relief pitchers. Both all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera, whose salary topped out at $15 million annually, and Jonathan Papelbon, who signed for $50 million over four years with Philadelphia before the 2012 season, were eclipsed.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Winter Meetings interview with Bruce Bochy

Q. What do you think of your new closer?

BRUCE BOCHY: It's great news to come in here and fill a need, a huge need on this ball club. To get one of the premier closers in the game, it was something I'm very grateful for.

Ownership and the front office stepped up, and to go out and acquire an elite closer like Mark -- and I know him a little bit. We went on a trip to Taiwan, so I had a chance to get to know him there. Just a quality guy, a guy that's going to stabilize this bullpen and make us better there.

We had our issues, as you well know, and to get somebody to finish the games, now we can build below that and get this thing sorted out and get back to, you know, who we are and that's to be a more complete and consistent bullpen.

Q. Will Melancon be a traditional ninth inning closer or do you see yourself using him in different situations?

BRUCE BOCHY: I will sit down and talk to Mark, I would like to talk with him about that. There are times when you use a closer maybe for four or five outs but I need to sit down with him. For the most part, he's going to pitch the ninth. If it's something that he's capable of doing or is comfortable doing, you know, we would like to stay open-minded about it.

Q. You mentioned the rest of the bullpen, what do you envision with that for the guys who are going to be back?

BRUCE BOCHY: We have some really good arms when you look at this bullpen. I think the guys grew this season despite our struggles, guys like Hunter Strickland, Law, I thought Okert made a lot of progress. You look at Osich, Will Smith, what Gearrin did for us that first half, and George Kontos who gives us experience, we feel like we have the guys that have, you know, the weapons and the make-up to be those guys, to be that bridge to the closer.

Now, with that said, there's no question, when you have three guys that become free agents from your bullpen like Lopez and Romo, Casilla, that's a lot of experience to miss and not that they're not going to be back. We don't know what's going to happen. In fact, they're not with us right now, and that's something you do miss. I think we missed Affeldt last year, a little bit, his experience. He was part of the glue to the bullpen. So I thought we missed him at times, not just what he did on the mound but leadership that he provided for that bullpen. But we feel like we have some really good arms that can fill those holes.

Q. The Indians bullpen usage got attention during the postseason. What sorta went under the radar was their extreme curveball usage, especially against the Cubs, because data showed that they didn't hit the curveball well. How willing are you going into game planning to say we are going to throw 20% more of a pitch in a certain series?

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Posey commits to playing in World Baseball Classic

Posey commits to playing in World Baseball Classic

With the World Baseball Classic just a few months away, the rosters are beginning to take shape. More names surfaced Monday as the World Baseball Classic released an initial list of 30 players who are confirmed to be participating in the 2017 tournament.

Spanning 16 countries, the players include 24 Major League All-Stars, but the upcoming WBC, which will take place in March, provides a global stage for veterans and rising stars alike.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants remain willing to use farm system for LF

Giants remain willing to use farm system for LF

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Giants general manager Bobby Evans reiterated Monday at the Winter Meetings that he's leaning toward reserving left field for a Spring Training competition featuring Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson, instead of pursuing a proven Major League outfielder through free agency or trade.

Evans did not completely rule out making a deal to bolster left field, where the Giants statistically ranked in the middle of the pack or worse among National League clubs last season. San Francisco was 13th in home runs (14) and RBIs (64) while finishing eighth in runs (87) and ninth in OPS (.720).

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants agree to deals with Adrianza, Gearrin

Club tenders contracts to Nunez, Gillaspie, Kontos and Smith

Giants agree to deals with Adrianza, Gearrin

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants tendered contracts to four salary arbitration-eligible players Friday and agreed to one-year deals with two others, right-hander Cory Gearrin and infielder Ehire Adrianza.

These were largely procedural steps as the Giants approach baseball's Winter Meetings, which begin Monday. MLB.com and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2016 Winter Meetings from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, D.C. Fans can watch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, including the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday at 6 a.m. PT.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal

New agreement includes change to home-field advantage in World Series

Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal

IRVING, Texas -- Major League Baseball's players and owners reached a tentative five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement through the 2021 season on Wednesday night. The parties will follow up today with a formal document, which then must be ratified by representatives of both sides. 

At 8:40 p.m. ET, an assortment of happy players, owners, lawyers and staffers poured from meeting rooms to exchange handshakes and hugs. That's how quickly 36 hours of round-the-clock negotiations ended, nearly four hours before today's deadline of 12:01 a.m. ET to reach a deal. Short of an agreement, the sport was faced with the best-case scenario of an extension or owners could have imposed a lockout.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @richardjustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

The Next Big Leaguers: Giants' Stratton

A team-by-team look at future key contributors who starred in the 2016 Arizona Fall League

The Next Big Leaguers: Giants' Stratton

The Arizona Fall League always is loaded with talent, and it was stronger than usual in 2016. In the initial installment of MLBPipeline.com's "The Next Big Leaguers," which premieres Tuesday, we focused on five prospects: Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger, Twins shortstop Nick Gordon, Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez, Red Sox infielder Yoan Moncada and Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres.

We could have spotlighted many more promising prospects if not limited by time constraints, and below we'll do exactly that.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Huff reveals personal struggles in new book

Baseball vet, who overcame anxiety and depression, hopes to help others

Huff reveals personal struggles in new book

SAN FRANCISCO -- In November 2010, Aubrey Huff stood before hundreds of thousands of people outside San Francisco City Hall, reached into his jeans and whipped out the red "rally thong" that was a symbol of the Giants' successful World Series bid.

Two years later, Huff sequestered himself inside a closet at his home, holding a .357 Magnum to his head, and contemplated pulling the trigger to end his misery.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants refute talks about acquiring Sandoval

Giants refute talks about acquiring Sandoval

SAN FRANCISCO -- Contrary to reports issued on Saturday, the Giants have not internally discussed reacquiring third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who has struggled with the Boston Red Sox since leaving San Francisco.

Club executives are prohibited from publicly discussing the potential acquisition of players under contract with another team. Thus, Giants general manager Bobby Evans had little to say about a Boston Herald report citing a "baseball source" who claimed that San Francisco had contemplated bringing back Sandoval.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Moore doing his part to help US veterans

Giants left-hander supports cycling-based nonprofit organization Ride 2 Recovery

Moore doing his part to help US veterans

SAN FRANCISCO -- Helping improve the quality of life for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces isn't just something that's nice to do for Matt Moore. It's personal.

Moore, the Giants left-hander, was immersed in military life as a youth. His father, Martin, served for 23 years in the Air Force. One of Moore's best friends since boyhood, Shane Turner, is a combat-wounded veteran. Additionally, Moore is acutely aware of the statistic that approximately 20 veterans commit suicide each day.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Watch Zito's music video for 'Secret to Life'

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Watch Zito's music video for 'Secret to Life'

In his 15-year career as a pitcher, Barry Zito won 165 games, was a two-time World Series champion and took home 2002 American League Cy Young Award honors after going 23-5 with a 2.75 ERA for the AL West-winning A's.

Here's an image from that press conference, just for reference's sake.

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Five players added to Giants' 40-man roster

Five players added to Giants' 40-man roster

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants selected the contracts of five Minor Leaguers on Friday and added them to the 40-man roster. The moves protected each member of the quintet from being taken in next month's Rule 5 Draft.

The prospects involved were right-handers Chase Johnson, Reyes Moronta and Dan Slania, infielder Miguel Gomez and infielder-outfielder Orlando Calixte.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Could Posey see time at hot corner?

Fans also ask about Heston, Parker, Williamson, Peavy

Inbox: Could Posey see time at hot corner?

Why have the Giants always insisted on first base as Buster Posey's backup position? Given his prior position as a shortstop, it seems that he would be well-suited to play third base.
-- John H., Folsom, Calif.

Fans just won't quit discussing where Posey should play, even if the subject is his secondary position. I believe Posey is capable of doing almost anything necessary to win. For example, check out his six steals in seven attempts last season. But third base is not for dilettantes. That is, it's difficult to master because it comes with less margin for error (no pun intended). Mishandling a grounder at third base almost always results in an error. A first baseman mishandling a grounder might still have time to make the play. Think of Bob Brenly on his four-error afternoon as a third baseman against Atlanta in September 1986. He had become primarily a catcher by then, and his extensive prior experience at third base didn't help him a lick. Reds great Johnny Bench briefly played third regularly during 1983, his final season. Observers agreed that the experiment didn't work.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants announce busy Cactus League schedule

NL Wild Card winners will be tested early against World Series champs

Giants announce busy Cactus League schedule

SAN FRANCISCO -- Matchups against both of this season's league champions will highlight the Cactus League Spring Training schedule that the Giants announced Monday.

San Francisco will face the World Series-winning Chicago Cubs in the spring's second game on Feb. 25 in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Giants also will visit the Cubs in Mesa, Ariz., on March 28.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Crawford, Posey named top defenders

Crawford, Posey named top defenders

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants continued to receive tangible proof of their excellence in the field, as shortstop Brandon Crawford and catcher Buster Posey were named 2016 Wilson Defensive Players of the Year for both leagues at their respective positions Friday.

The Giants were also named Defensive Team of the Year. by Wilson.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants glad to have Nunez in tow for next year

GM Evans eager to see third baseman in full season with club

Giants glad to have Nunez in tow for next year

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- This year's free-agent list at third base includes Justin Turner. But Giants general manager Bobby Evans said he is happy with the deal he made last season for Eduardo Nunez.

Nunez, 29, who came from the Twins for pitcher Adalberto Mejia on July 28, contributed offensively and defensively during a late run that put the Giants in the playoffs.

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Thomas Harding has worked for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Posey, Panik, Crawford win Gold Gloves

Posey, Panik, Crawford win Gold Gloves

SAN FRANCISCO -- Catcher Buster Posey, second baseman Joe Panik and shortstop Brandon Crawford, who always have emphasized defense, were rewarded for their diligence Tuesday by being named winners of Rawlings Gold Glove Awards at their respective positions.

They formed the largest group of Giants to win Gold Gloves since 1993, when San Francisco had four recipients (outfielder Barry Bonds, catcher Kirt Manwaring, second baseman Robby Thompson and third baseman Matt Williams).

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants add Alguacil, Nevin to coaching staff

With 1st-, 3rd-base coaches' vacancies filled, San Francisco will turn to alumnus Bonds

Giants add Alguacil, Nevin to coaching staff

SAN FRANCISCO -- Having filled their first- and third-base coaches' vacancies with Jose Alguacil and Phil Nevin, respectively, the Giants will turn their attention to an alumnus who seems destined to rejoin the organization at some juncture: Barry Bonds.

Club president Larry Baer said Monday that Giants representatives expect to "have coffee in the next week or two and see if there's a match" with the all-time home run leader, who was not rehired as the Miami Marlins' hitting instructor.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants pick up Moore's club option

Giants pick up Moore's club option

The Giants have picked up the $7 million option on left-hander Matt Moore's contract, the club announced on Thursday.

San Francisco acquired Moore, 27, from the Rays at the non-waiver Trade Deadline -- in exchange for two Minor Leaguers and third baseman Matt Duffy -- to help bolster its rotation in a potential postseason run.

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Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB Photostore captures season's best moments

MLB Photostore captures season's best moments

Whether you need a holiday gift suggestion, a matte black wood frame for a wall, a superstar poster, a print to be autographed at Spring Training or a way to commemorate a championship 108 years in the making, the MLB Photostore is waiting with stunning photography from Getty Images.

There's something for everyone, and here are 10 examples representing the clubs in the 2016 Major League Baseball postseason.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.