Spring training in Scottsdale, Arizona is going to be just a tad bit different for Bruce Bochy and his defending World Series championship ball club. Bochy has been making the trip to the Cactus League since 1983 and this season will be a change, with the Giants being the team with a target on their back after winning their first World Series title since 1954, when the organization was back in New York.
The San Francisco Giants shocked the baseball world last season, dominating October with a core of young pitching that included Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Jonathan Sanchez. We cannot forget the rookie sensation that was Buster Posey behind the plate last season as well, along with the most talked about beard in baseball for closer Brian Wilson. Somewhere along the way Edgar Renteria was able to come up in a big spot against Texas earning World Series MVP honors. This season the Giants are confident they can repeat as long as they can ride their talented four horsemen in that starting pitching staff sprinkled in with a few veteran bats to help bolster the lineup.
Bruce Bochy joined ESPN Dallas with Galloway and Company to discuss spring training being a little different than usual after winning the World Series title, what are his overall impressions on the Texas Rangers contending this season, if he was manager of the Texas Rangers how would he handle the Michael Young situation and does it really matter that the Giants didn’t make many offseason transactions because they have such great starting pitching.
Is it a little different this year to have a World Series title next to your name when heading into spring training?
“Oh it’s different. I’ve gotten a lot more requests coming out of spring training for tickets and things like that and also in San Francisco, so it’s quite a bit different. It’s been a short offseason. You mentioned we played in November, so it went by quick. You know I’ll take a lot more of these short off-seasons.”
What is your overall impression on the Texas Rangers and do you think they can contend this season?
“Oh I do. I’m sure there’s a lot of disappointment not getting [Cliff] Lee for the Texas fans. To see what he did. He helped, almost carried you to the World Series you know with those big games, so that’s an area they’ll have to replace, but that lineup is so good. We knew that going in. You have speed. You have power. It’s very well-rounded club. Very well-coached and I’m going be surprised if they’re not back in postseason. Your centerfielder [Josh Hamilton], I mean this guy is an animal if you look at what he’s doing. You know we were very careful with him. I know [Michael] Young very well. I know there are some things going on there. Hopefully that gets ironed out because he’s such a good player. I know he’s been there so long. There’s no weakness in your lineup. I think you’re going to like your catcher. He’s got some experience. He [Yorvit Torrealba] helped led the Rockies to the World Series, so I think he’ll do a good job with your staff.”
If you were the Texas Rangers manager how would you handle the Michael Young situation?
“Well you know it’s hard for me to answer on another club’s situation, but I will say when you’re dealing with the star players it’s all about sitting down and talking it out. You have to communicate. I think that’s something where he [Michael Young] and Nolan [Ryan] got together, but that’s what it’s going to take. Ron [Washington] and Michael just getting a chance to sit down and spend a lot of time and let’s talk this thing out. When you get a star player a little upset you know there’s ego’s involved and you know even with a Michael Young who’s so well-rounded and not just a great player, but great person. I’m sure he does a lot in your community. There’s probably some hurt feelings along the way that the only way you mend the fence is sit down and just talk it out. Now I’ve got a couple of situations in my own camp I have to worry about, like Aaron Rowand. Of course you know Barry Zito who wasn’t put on our roster, but they were great you know. I’m sure coming into this camp they want to know a little bit more what their roles are going to be. That’s on-going. You have it a lot. I’m sure the parties will sit down and talk it out.”
The Giants haven’t done much improving this offseason, but as long as you have those 4 pitchers it doesn’t matter right?
“Well it actually is a good point. My general manger, Brian Sabean, has even brought that up a couple of times. You know you want to keep the core there, but at the same time you probably need to make a couple of changes and try to get better. He’s said…he actually had a little bit more anxiety this offseason thinking about that. Now as far as upgrade you know we’re going to have some guys for a whole year that we didn’t have last year. Buster Posey being one. [Madison] Bumgarner who you saw in Texas. One of my pitchers. These guys were in Triple-A last year. Freddy Sanchez was hurt. He missed the early part of the year. We did pick up Miguel Tejada. We lost [Juan] Uribe, so we think Tejada helps off that blow. We’re counting on a guy like Pablo Sandoval, who wasn’t the player he had been the year before for him to get back to the condition he needs to be in and be the player he is. That would be like getting another player, so we think we’re sitting better this year. We got Cody Ross for a whole year too, Pat Burrell, so I like where we’re at this year more than where we were at here last year.”