Winter Meetings interview with Bruce Bochy

Q. Have you given much thought to guys (INAUDIBLE)?

BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, right now, I think it's pretty obvious that these guys will hit toward the top of the order. Pence, Belt, I don't know what's going to happen from here until Spring Training and what the lineup is going to be exactly. But with Belt being healthy, it's going to help soften that blow of losing Pablo Sandoval, because he gives us a pretty good bat and heart of the lineup. And we'll talk about these things in Spring Training.

Q. Is it nice to be back here in San Diego, is it nice to be somewhere familiar?

BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, I mean, you go outside and it's hard to beat this weather. We've been up in some cold weather during these Winter Meetings. I'm sure a lot of people are enjoying the city. It's a nice city, great city. And I have a lot of friends here. I've had a chance to run into a lot of them here during the meetings.

Q. At the time when you decided to leave San Diego it was a tough decision, but now I bet you can look back and say that was a pretty good decision?

BRUCE BOCHY: No question. It's been quite a ride. And you can be proud of being a Giant and be part of what's happened in the last five years. Change is good at times. And at that time I was ready for a change. And so it really worked out well. Again, I have a lot of friends here. I had a great time here, great run here. But I love the city up there. My son works up there. So I have family around the Bay Area. It's been a great run. And I still come down here occasionally and I see some friends.

Q. Any thoughts of following your wing man Flannery out?

BRUCE BOCHY: I'll miss Timmy, we've been down so many roads together. We've been compared to an old married couple. I don't know how many years he was my third base coach, I'd have to coach. I know in San Francisco and close to that, if not more here in San Diego. It's going to be different without him. We're such good friends. And it's more important than a working relationship. But he's doing great. That's what's important to me. He's happy. I want him to be happy, his family. And so when we talked about this, I understood. So this will give him a chance to do some things he's been wanting to do. I'm sure he's going to come by and get his baseball fix, see some guys. It's going to be different without him. Especially in Spring Training. It's probably where it's going to hit me. I'm going to look out at the third base coaching box and not see him or yelling at him. He needs to come in at least once or twice so I can see him.

Q. Were you surprised at the outcome of the Sandoval situation?

BRUCE BOCHY: You never know. This is part of the game. It's a process. You don't know what the player is thinking, whether it's Pablo. We went through something different with Lester. But, sure, it's different with Pablo. Our thought was that he would stay. But these guys have choices. And I'm sure a lot goes into it. Sometimes I don't think they're easy ones for them. But we'll miss him. We're thankful, grateful for what he did for us. But like I said, now we've got to focus forward.

Q. Knowing Pablo as well as you do, how will he handle being in Boston and going to the American League?

BRUCE BOCHY: He'll be fine there. He's got a great way about him, great personality. He's gotten enthusiasm, passion for baseball, like the Boston fans do. I'm sure they're similar to our fans. He's so easy to get along with. I don't think he's going to have any hard adjustments there.

Q. Have you talked to Headley, yourself?

BRUCE BOCHY: No, no, I have not.

Q. Any whispers, anything you kind of want to drop on us here?

BRUCE BOCHY: I wish I could. I'd give you something to talk about or Tweet. But I don't have anything for you. And I'm being honest here. Once I'm done here I'll go back up to the war room and we'll keep talking about the club. But there's nothing I can give you.

Q. Do you get tired of the every other year jokes?

BRUCE BOCHY: No, no. I'd love them on the even years, that's when I like to hear them. Hey, we'll try to figure a way to break that streak. It's something we'll talk about as we go into Spring Training. But with what's happened here we're all very humbled by it. You want to get greedy and hopefully break the streak. It's been a great year for us. But at the same time we know we've got to get focused here for a new season, new race. And that's what we're doing.

Q. Is there anything to the year after, especially with your pitchers, being taxed with all the work in October?

BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, we looked into that. We talked about it. There's other clubs that have had a lot of success in a four or five year period. The Yankees the most recent. They went three years, took a year off and won the next year. We'd like to think that we keep a watchful eye on our pitching staff and try to just give them a break when we can, the pitching, the starters, Spring Training. We try to make adjustment for them so we don't wear them down. Now, with that said, if you go to 2011 we were playing great. We lost Posey, but we were in first place going into August. I don't think it played a part in that season. And 2013 we just had a rough year. But I was proud of the fact that we did bounce back and played well at the end. So I don't see it. You look at Bumgarner, the innings that he's put in, we'll have to keep an eye on him.

Q. How will you monitor him? Do you push him in Spring Training, will it be a regular spring?

BRUCE BOCHY: Dave and Mike will talk about it. They have to get ready for the season. They have their routine. He didn't show any effects of the load that he carried for us in the postseason, from the Wild Card game until the seventh game going into the fifth inning. We'll talk about it, may need to lighten it up on him little bit.

Q. With Lester having gone to the Cubs and obviously Sandoval gone, where are you guys at, in your mind where do you need to go, what's your biggest priority?

BRUCE BOCHY: That's what we were talking about. I don't have a good answer for you except that when you huddle up and talk about what your next move is and the players that you want to pursue. We don't have anything that we're talking about that I can give you or any player. He was a priority, we spent a lot of time on that. So now it's time to regroup and see what we're going to do.

Q. Madison said he feels great. Given his mentality, might you have to take that out of his hands a little bit in Spring Training?

BRUCE BOCHY: It's hard to not let a guy get ready for the season, so in Spring Training you still need to do there are some things that make sure they're ready to go on opening day. Now, during the course of the season, times I can maybe get him out and give him a little break, give him an extra day, these type things, we will talk about. But this is a big, strong man that has tremendous discipline in his conditioning. And I think it showed at the end of the year last year. He showed no signs of wear. A lot of guys are starting to run out of gas, but if anything, he hit the accelerator, and he was throwing better than the beginning of the season.

Q. Going back to Lester, were you surprised at his decision to go with the Cubs?

BRUCE BOCHY: You don't know. I can't say "surprised" because when you get two or three teams involved, you really don't know. No, I can't say surprised. We really don't know what his priorities are or what his thinking is. You're hoping, but at the same time

Q. (INAUDIBLE)?

BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, Matt's doing well. He's going to throw this month. So we're all looking forward to seeing where we are with Matt Cain in Spring Training. I'm really optimistic that he's going to be just fine. He goes about his business, how hard he works. There was a lot of junk taken out of that elbow, and it's probably going to be an adjustment period for him, throwing, bouncing back, depends how much we can work him. But you can't answer that until he gets to a point where he's throwing off the mound and we'll see where we're at.

Q. Will Tim Lincecum be your insurance policy or will you move him to the bullpen?

BRUCE BOCHY: Tim is in the rotation. He's in our rotation. What we signed him for. At times he was very good last year. This guy threw a no hitter, he's very capable of really having to bounce back, have a good year for us and that's how we feel.

Q. You said you figured out why your team was able to elevate its play under the most intense pressures in postseason. What separates you guys?

BRUCE BOCHY: I've actually thought about that. I'll start with I think good players, great players have a way of elevating their game. Their focus and sense of purpose has a lot to do with that. And what I mean is it's a very unselfish group. They play for each other. They play for their fans. And they have a cause that is bigger than their own agenda. And that's hard to find on any professional level, I think. But they have that in them. And I think when your cause is big enough there's movement. And their movement was, Hey, we don't want to go home, and that's how bad they wanted it. The other clubs, who knows? There could have been more talent there. But I'll tell you, nobody wanted it more than they did.

Q. You've had the good fortune to work with a couple of general managers you had a very good relationship with. I wonder whether you've seen maybe not necessarily have you seen an evolution in the manager general manager relationships since you started on this job? It seems like there's been more of an impact from the GM's perspective, maybe more involvement in the everyday decisions?

BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, I think it's hard for me to really speak on for the other clubs or the manager or GM relationships, because I don't know. I just know mine and I've said this so many times, your general manager, he can make your job so much easier, so much more difficult, depending on your relationship and your support and trust. And I'm lucky to have the best. I think he's a genius at finding the resources and giving us the tools to win here. But probably as important for me is he's not only my boss, he's my friend. We spend time, a lot of time together, talking baseball. So I'm in a really good situation here. To have my general manager, a guy that I'm comfortable with and I have such a great friendship with that I can say anything.

Q. Has the development of the advanced metrics impacted that relationship in any way?

BRUCE BOCHY: You know what? It hasn't changed anything. Our baseball ops I'll put with any baseball ops. We get all the information we can. We believe in it, we use it. We've said, it may not be in the forefront, but it's there. We also believe we've got to treat these players like humans and we go with our gut, too, whether it's a decision to get a player or get the information we can as far as the numbers, the stats. But a lot of things don't show up on the spreadsheet. So we use both.

Q. When you embarked on this managerial career, did you have any idea you were going to endure this long? And what do you think has allowed you to do that?

BRUCE BOCHY: Well, I really didn't think about it. Not first year. I'm just hoping to make it another year, to be honest. I had one year with an option on my contract. I didn't know if I was going to be around in 1996. Let's start with that. But I know how fortunate, how blessed I am to have had the support that I've had from the front office, the general managers. And also my coaching staff, players. And really, they're the reason I'm still here. We're all drinking from wells dug by others. And these are the people that have kept me here this long. And I'm very thankful because it doesn't happen a lot. I understand that. And I really can't believe when people mention the number of years I've been doing this, I don't know where they went. But it's been a great ride.

Q. When you got hired as a manager and all your experience as a catcher, backup, et cetera, who influenced you in terms of your personality to handle players in the clubhouse? Is there one guy that you took something from that said, Yeah, I like this approach and I'm going to adopt it, which gave you the ability to hit the right button all the time with most of your players?

BRUCE BOCHY: I probably would say my first manager, Bill Virdon. I think anytime you have your first mentor or coach or manager, you're probably going to be influenced by him as much as anybody. This is your first time in the Major Leagues. But Bill Virdon, he had a great way about him. He never embarrassed a player. He treated the player like he would want to be treated; and that's fair, be firm. If he had an issue with you, he brought you in the office and he told you up front exactly what he thought. He didn't sugarcoat anything. So you knew where you stood. But at the same time you were never embarrassed. And you appreciate that. And I know I did as a player. I made my mistakes and he would call me in and I've seen it the other way, where you get a lot of yelling or you read it through the papers, and I just appreciated how he did it.

Q. Have you reflected on the World Series much, and thought about how this one might have been unique compared to the first two?

BRUCE BOCHY: Not really. We haven't had that much time. Once it seemed like it was over and we enjoyed the festivities, the parade and everything. But we had to get to work. Pablo, free agents, so I really have not had a lot of time. But I will say the little time that I've had and with players reflecting on what happened, I am amazed at what these guys did, how much heart and determination they played with. Because we did go through a lot. Losing Pagan and Scutaro to start with, and Matt Cain, if you told me Matt Cain wouldn't have been with us and then we would win the World Series, I probably wouldn't have believed you in the spring. They're all special. But they all took the same efforts, they're pretty similar, though, because of how hard the players got after it, and how unselfish they were for each one.

Q. Do you have a sense of when Hector can catch again?

BRUCE BOCHY: I don't think he's going to catch winter ball. So my guess would be in Spring Training.

Q. You talked about Susac having the inside track there. Could Hector, given how many at bats he missed, benefit a lot from three or four months of playing every day in Fresno?

BRUCE BOCHY: I don't want to say that's sure, it would benefit him, but at the same time I don't want him to think he's coming to Spring Training not competing for a job. He'll go through drills this spring, but what's going to happen, I can't tell you. But we will keep it competitive. And he should be ready to go.

Q. (INAUDIBLE)

BRUCE BOCHY: Game changing play. I don't know what happens in Game 7 if he doesn't make that play, to be honest. We're in a tough position. Jeremy is probably facing one more hitter and Timmy would have been in the game. But you go from getting two outs to having first and third, nobody out, that's a huge difference, particularly when you're looking at their bullpen. You can win games on defense, and that certainly won the game for us.

Q. Have you talked to Marco recently about what he'll be able to do?

BRUCE BOCHY: No, I have not. I need to call him. But I have not.

Q. If you had to fill out a lineup card tomorrow, what would you face?

BRUCE BOCHY: We really haven't talked about that much because we feel like we're going to have to find a third baseman. I don't want to leave somebody out, filling out that lineup card and disappoint somebody.

Q. (INAUDIBLE)

BRUCE BOCHY: I wouldn't say never. Sometimes we had Ishikawa in left field. Would you have thought that? If you'd have asked me never on him in left field in the World Series a couple of years ago, I probably would have said yes (laughter). But you just don't know.

Q. What kind of role do you see for Ishikawa?

BRUCE BOCHY: I think he's great for center field. If you look at the job he did there (laughter), you never know with him. But he's going to come in as a guy that's going to help us on the bench compete for that spot, first base, and left field. He's a valuable left handed bat coming off the bench.

Q. Is there any concern about, this is kind of out of left field, replacing what Flannery and Sandoval brought to the club internally in terms of chemistry and just emotion and all those things, both those guys?

BRUCE BOCHY: I mean, yeah, these are things you talk about, these intangibles, with players, coaches. I can tell you this, Billy Hayes is really excited. He's done a great job being a bullpen catcher. He's a funny guy. He knows baseball. He's managed. So for him to get this chance to get on the bases, you'll see a different Billy Hayes, I think. Because his responsibilities have changed. And Kelly, the same. But we'll bring somebody up. But that's part of what you look at, somebody who may bring some energy or something to help out the club.

Q. Are you monitoring what the Dodgers are doing?

BRUCE BOCHY: No, there's been no talk. We don't really look at what other clubs are doing. The focus is always on what we think we need to do.

Q. Are there any updates on the health of Don, are you totally committed to him?

BRUCE BOCHY: He's doing well. I saw him during the World Series and he was really moving around quite well. Really confident that he's not going to have any issues next year. He talked about playing 160 games, so that's how good he was feeling.