Giants' annual FanFest set for Feb. 13

Giants' annual FanFest set for Feb. 13

SAN FRANCISCO -- Virtually every square inch of AT&T Park will be thrown open to the public next Saturday, Feb. 13, when the Giants conduct their annual FanFest.

Admission is free as gates open at 10 a.m. and close at 3 p.m. PT. Although parking is available on a first-come, first-serve basis in Lots A and B and at Pier 48 for $10, the Giants urge fans to take public transportation to the ballpark.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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: Any surprises to open season with Giants?

Beat reporter Haft answers fans' questions

Inbox: Any surprises to open season with Giants?

What are the chances of someone like Ricky Romero or Kyle Blanks making the Opening Day roster? Also, is there any rookie who might be a surprise to open the season with the Giants?
-- Mike V., Tucson, Ariz.

Blanks conceivably could be this year's Justin Maxwell. He might not be as proficient of a defensive outfielder as Maxwell, but his ability to play first base makes him more versatile. Romero or any other starting pitcher will struggle to make the season-opening rotation, unless somebody in San Francisco's projected five-man contingent (Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Matt Cain and Jake Peavy) sustains an injury that sends him to the disabled list.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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.

Healthy Susac leads crowded backup catcher's field

Healthy Susac leads crowded backup catcher's field

SAN FRANCISCO -- On paper, a scramble for the Giants' backup catcher's job appears imminent. In reality, Andrew Susac should reclaim the role with minimal fuss.

Settling on a stand-in for Buster Posey, San Francisco's three-time All-Star, shouldn't be a consuming issue after pitchers and catchers report to Major League camp on Feb. 17 in Scottsdale, Ariz. General manager Bobby Evans reported that Susac, last year's reserve until arthroscopic right wrist surgery ended his season in early September, seems healed.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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.

High-risk trades pay off for Sabean's Giants

Ex-GM returned results in deals despite drawing ire of fans

High-risk trades pay off for Sabean's Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Brian Sabean observed that the Groundhog Day aspect to trades, the issue that emerges and commands notice with every deal, is the risk-versus-reward factor. Sabean obviously has been rewarded more often than not, assembling teams that won three World Series and finished above .500 in 13 of his 18 seasons as the Giants' general manager.

But one particular trade exposed Sabean to considerable criticism from fans and media: The November 1996 swap that sent third baseman Matt Williams and utility man Trent Hubbard to the Indians for second baseman Jeff Kent, shortstop Jose Vizcaino and right-handers Joe Roa and Julian Tavarez. Sabean received so much disapproval for parting with All-Star slugger Williams that he felt compelled to defend himself by saying, "I am not an idiot." He wasn't, as Kent, Vizcaino and Tavarez contributed significantly to San Francisco's National League West title in 1997.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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.

A Hunter Pence face for any situation

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A Hunter Pence face for any situation

Ever have trouble making the correct face in certain situations? Whether it's smiling for the camera, looking angry when somebody takes a bite of your hot dog or being excited that Spring Training is just 14 DAYS AWAY.

Well, allow these Hunter Pence faces to guide you through your daily lives.

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Kontos, Giants reach agreement on deal

Kontos, Giants reach agreement on deal

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants and right-hander George Kontos avoided salary arbitration by reaching a compromise Monday on a one-year, $1.15 million contract.

First baseman Brandon Belt is the lone Giants player remaining in the arbitration process.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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' Arroyo lands on Top 100 Prospects list

Young shortstop could force tough decisions for San Francisco in coming seasons

Giants' Arroyo lands on Top 100 Prospects list

SAN FRANCISCO -- Christian Arroyo could cause nightmares for the Giants' decision-makers in a year or two. For now, they can still dream about him blissfully.

Arroyo, named Friday as baseball's No. 82 prospect on MLBPipeline.com's annual Top 100 Prospects list, appears destined to join the group of productive infielders the Giants have developed in recent years. San Francisco possesses an entirely homegrown starting infield consisting of first baseman Brandon Belt, second baseman Joe Panik, shortstop Brandon Crawford and third baseman Matt Duffy.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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: Who will replace Affeldt in Giants 'pen?

Beat reporter Chris Haft answers fans' questions

Inbox: Who will replace Affeldt in Giants 'pen?

With Jeremy Affeldt's retirement, can the Giants pick up another reliever of his caliber and impact? I sense a hole in the 'pen.
-- Robert P., Omaha, Neb.

Affeldt's departure spurred the Giants' interest in free-agent right-hander Joakim Soria early in the offseason. The two-time All-Star has limited left- and right-handed hitters to batting averages of .215 and .210, respectively, during his nine-year Major League career. But Kansas City signed Soria. Nevertheless, the Giants may have another Affeldt in left-hander Josh Osich, who finished 2-0 with a 2.20 ERA in 35 appearances as a rookie last season. Righties hit only .213 off Osich. Left-handers posted a .222 batting average off him. Assuming Osich stays healthy and makes the necessary adjustments against hitters who have devoured his scouting reports and scrutinized him on videos, he could strengthen San Francisco's bullpen for a long time.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Swift reflects on MLB career, coaching in Q&A

Former pitcher discusses post-playing days as Arizona Christian College's head coach

Swift reflects on MLB career, coaching in Q&A

Bill Swift is a baseball lifer. And right now he is enjoying life under the national radar.

The second player selected in the 1984 Draft, Swift spent 13 years in the big leagues, pitching for the Mariners, Giants and Rockies. He led the National League with a 2.08 ERA with the Giants in 1992 and won 21 games for them the next year.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Beede, Arroyo among Giants' camp invites

Beede, Arroyo among Giants' camp invites

SAN FRANCISCO -- Top prospects Christian Arroyo and Tyler Beede, as well as former Major Leaguers such as Kyle Blanks, Grant Green and George Kottaras, are among 21 non-roster invitees whom the Giants will welcome to Major League Spring Training next month.

Despite their relatively low profiles, these players aren't to be ignored. Non-roster invitees who have made a considerable impact for the Giants in recent seasons include outfielders Gregor Blanco and Andres Torres, utility man Joaquin Arias and right-handers Ryan Vogelsong and Guillermo Mota.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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.

Listen to Giants prospect Tyler Beede freestyle

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Listen to Giants prospect Tyler Beede freestyle

Stream the Cut4Cast here or subscribe on iTunes. And, when you're done listening, share your thoughts on these topics with us by tweeting us at @Cut4 with the hashtag #Cut4Cast.

Last week, Yoenis Cespedes came to an agreement with the Mets, and Noah Syndergaard immediately offered to be his roommate. But which MLB player would the Cut4 staff most want to live with? Mike BerthaDakota Gardner and Gemma Kaneko spent this episode choosing their ideal roomies, giving each other baseball advice, and deciding which TV shows need an MLB cameo.

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Resurgent Richmond affiliate supplies studs, lessons

Giants' Double-A club began season 3-17, battled back to finish 72-68

Resurgent Richmond affiliate supplies studs, lessons

SAN FRANCISCO -- A quick look back at last year's exploits of the Giants' Double-A Richmond affiliate gives them more reason to look forward to the near future.

The Flying Squirrels witnessed the legitimacy of one of baseball's most immutable laws -- never give up -- as they recovered from a season-opening 3-17 record to finish 72-68 and barely missed qualifying for the Eastern League playoffs. A 15-game losing streak that could have immediately doomed the Squirrels instead became almost incidental as they built a quartet of six-game winning streaks.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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 a candidate for Cal League Hall of Fame

Bochy a candidate for Cal League Hall of Fame

Giants manager Bruce Bochy has been selected for an online fan vote that will determine the 15th and final member of the California League's inaugural Hall of Fame class.

The shrine is being created in conjunction with the league's 75th anniversary. Fan balloting will be conducted during Spring Training.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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.

Garcia makes MLB Pipeline's Top 10 Catching Prospects list

Cubs' Contreras tops list, Yanks' Sanchez leaps to No. 2

Garcia makes MLB Pipeline's Top 10 Catching Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2016 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday, Jan. 29, on MLB.com. The Top 50 will be revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

MLBPipeline.com's list of the top 10 catching prospects last season featured six players who went on to reach the Major Leagues and become part of a legendary rookie class. Needless to say, the turnover at the position means this year's crop of top-ranked backstops has a much different look.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: What can Giants expect from Cueto?

Beat reporter Chris Haft answers fans' questions

Inbox: What can Giants expect from Cueto?

Johnny Cueto had a rough September in Kansas City and then mostly seemed to turn it around in the postseason. Are the Giants worried about this Jekyll-and-Hyde aspect of Cueto?
-- Gary B., Geneva, Switzerland

The Giants believe that Cueto's inconsistency was an aberration. Besides, even the best starting pitchers are vulnerable to enduring a subpar outing or two in September. It's a long year. Example: in September 2008, Tim Lincecum yielded five runs in one start and six in another while totaling 9 1/3 innings in those games. One year later, he laid a five-run egg in September. He won the National League Cy Young Award in both years anyway.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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.

Ishikawa getting a fresh start with Seattle

Ishikawa getting a fresh start with Seattle

SAN FRANCISCO -- Travis Ishikawa accomplished something last year that the Giants couldn't: He reached the postseason. And while Ishikawa didn't make the Pirates' 25-man roster for their Wild Card Game loss to the Cubs, he still featured quite prominently in October.

Ishikawa joined a cast of sluggers whose monumental home runs provided video for a thrilling montage that MLB Network aired to promote its postseason telecasts. Ishikawa's walk-off long ball for the Giants in Game 5 of the 2014 National League Championship Series appeared in a 61-second highlight sequence of similar homers hit by Carlton Fisk, David Freese, Joe Carter, George Brett, Jeff Kent, Reggie Jackson, Chris Chambliss, Derek Jeter, Ozzie Smith, Robin Ventura, Kirk Gibson and Jayson Werth, among others.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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.

For this year only, Trade Deadline to be Aug. 1

Adjustment made because July 31 falls on a Sunday

For this year only, Trade Deadline to be Aug. 1

This is a leap year, and for Major League Baseball, it will mean a one-day leap in the annual non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The non-waiver Trade Deadline this season will be moved to Aug. 1 from the traditional July 31 -- which in 2016 falls on a Sunday. The deadline is 4 p.m. ET, and on July 31, there are seven games scheduled to begin between 1-1:30, five between 2-3:30 and three at 4. There are only eight games on Aug. 1, all of which are night games.

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

Belt, Kontos exchange figures with Giants

Arbitration-eligible players unable to agree on one-year contract

Belt, Kontos exchange figures with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- First baseman Brandon Belt and right-hander George Kontos met with the expected differences of value Friday when they continued the salary arbitration process by exchanging suggested figures on one-year contracts with Giants management.

An industry source confirmed that Belt requested $7.5 million, more than double the $3.6 million he earned last year. The club countered with $5.3 million.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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.

MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Late, great scout Genovese eulogized in LA

Late, great scout Genovese eulogized in LA

LOS ANGELES -- The late super scout George Genovese helped sign 44 big league players, who hit 3,344 homers, in Genovese's long career for the Giants and Dodgers. Ten of his signees became All-Stars. 

Genovese, 93, was eulogized in a stirring 60-minute memorial service at the stadium club down the right-field line in Dodger Stadium on Saturday. A native of Los Angeles, Genovese died this past Nov. 15 at Providence St. Joseph's Medical Center in Burbank, Calif., shortly after a visit from Mike Lieberthal, the catcher and Genovese signee who finished his career in 2007 with the Dodgers.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Where does Lincecum fit in Giants' future?

Beat reporter Chris Haft answers fans' questions

Inbox: Where does Lincecum fit in Giants' future?

Is there even the slightest chance that Tim Lincecum gets a bare-bones contract with the chance to compete for a bullpen role? I could see him being a great setup option, even with his declining velocity. If he's healthy, that is.
-- Michael C., Mesa, Ariz.

Will the Giants sign Lincecum to an incentive-laden contract and use him as the new Yusmeiro Petit -- as a replacement when a starter in the rotation gets injured or underperforms and as a long or middle reliever otherwise?
-- Rich S., San Diego

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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 looking to farm system to replenish bullpen

After initially targeting free agents, club identifies several relief candidates ready for promotion

Giants looking to farm system to replenish bullpen

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants would prefer to promote a reliever from their Minor League system rather than add one through free agency, general manager Bobby Evans has indicated.

Earlier in the offseason, Evans acknowledged that relief pitching was an item on San Francisco's free-agent shopping list. The retirement of left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, who was equally effective against left- and right-handed batters and capable of handling multiple bullpen roles, created a void. Moreover, the Giants seemed to want a proven reliever to complement the bullpen's growing youth brigade, which includes right-hander Hunter Strickland and lefty Josh Osich.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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.

Johnny Cueto rides horse in Instagram photos

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Johnny Cueto rides horse in Instagram photos

You may be asking yourself a number of questions. Where did Johnny Cueto get this horse? Does Johnny Cueto own a horse? Where did Johnny Cueto travel with this horse? Why does Johnny Cueto prefer horse travel? 

Do not concern yourself with these things. Free your mind. Forget all you thought you knew. Because the only thing that matters in this brave new world of ours is that Johnny Cueto rode a horse on Saturday, and it was awe-inspiring.

Continue Reading on Cut4

Hall of Famer, trailblazer Irvin dies at 96

Seventh African-American to play in big leagues helped many during game's integration

Hall of Famer, trailblazer Irvin dies at 96

Monte Irvin was a mentor to Willie Mays and a friend to Ted Williams. He was in the Polo Grounds' home dugout when Bobby Thomson hit the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" and was visiting Havana when the Cubans ran out a hotshot pitching prospect named Fidel Castro.

Irvin's long, wonderful life was the stuff of dreams, a uniquely American story and an enduring testament to talent, perseverance, grace and dignity. Perhaps it is the greatest tribute to this remarkable man, who died Monday night in Houston of natural causes at age 96, that he'll forever be remembered as much for his decency and sense of humor as for his amazing skills.

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Richard Justice and Chris Haft are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Baseball world remembers Monte Irvin

Baseball world remembers Monte Irvin

As news of Monte Irvin's passing Monday night of natural causes at age 96 made its way around the baseball world, many shared their memories of the Hall of Famer.

Rob Manfred, MLB Commissioner
"Monte Irvin was a true leader during a transformational era for our game. A longtime member of the Newark Eagles of the Negro Leagues in his native New Jersey, the All-Star slugger made a seamless transition to the New York Giants in 1949. With the Giants, he played a key role on two National League pennant-winning clubs and befriended fellow Hall of Famer Willie Mays. Monte remained an exceptional ambassador for the national pastime long after his playing career concluded in 1956. He spent 17 years working under Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and long maintained a close association with the Giants franchise.

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Former players fondly remember Irvin

Former players fondly remember Irvin

SAN FRANCISCO -- Monte Irvin commanded and reciprocated a brand of respect that towered above his considerable baseball achievements.

Irvin, who died Monday at 96, didn't make his Major League debut until he was 30, his progress delayed by the sport's institutional racism. Once he broke into the bigs with the New York Giants in July 1949, the grace he displayed off the field matched the grace he sustained on it. Obviously, Irvin endured unfair treatment simply by being black. But he chose to cling to the opportunities that awaited him rather than the chances he lost.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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.

Span adds to Giants' already superb defense

Span adds to Giants' already superb defense

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants literally can defend their optimism regarding the upcoming season.

Newly acquired center fielder Denard Span should complement catcher Buster Posey, second baseman Joe Panik and Gold Glove-winning shortstop Brandon Crawford to strengthen San Francisco up the middle, traditionally regarded as the figurative backbone of any efficient Major League defense.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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' 1st Spring Training workout dates announced

Major League Baseball released the first workout dates for every club in advance of Spring Training 2016. They are as follows:

Angels
Pitchers and catchers: Feb. 19
Full squad: Feb. 24

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Giants remove Hall from 40-man roster

Giants remove Hall from 40-man roster

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants announced Monday that right-hander Cody Hall was designated for assignment, clearing 40-man roster room for freshly acquired outfielder Denard Span.

Hall, 28, recorded 6.48 ERA in seven appearances late last season as a rookie reliever for the Giants. Before that, he finished 1-3 with a 3.46 ERA and three saves for Triple-A Sacramento.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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.

Span excited for new chapter with Giants

Outfielder introduced in San Francisco after signing 3-year deal

Span excited for new chapter with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Denard Span revealed a significant aspect of his character Friday: He's eager to please.

Span, the Giants' new center fielder and leadoff hitter, met the Bay Area media during a news conference at AT&T Park, and he couldn't hide his anticipation for the upcoming season. As club president Larry Baer, general manager Bobby Evans and manager Bruce Bochy looked on, Span vowed to deliver a maximum effort on the three-year, $31 million investment the Giants made in him.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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.