Winter Meetings interview with Bob Melvin

Q.  What are your thoughts on the things your team might be looking for?

BOB MELVIN:  Well, you know what, I'm kind of a glass‑half‑full kind of guy.  I like what we have at this point.  Certainly we've lost some guys here recently that we're going to have to fill those voids, but I think we're in a pretty good place to sit back and wait.  I don't think ‑‑ I know that we're really not market‑makers, at least in the free agent market, that we'll sit back and see where the market is going and kind of pick and choose and see where things are going.

But whether it's a Brandon McCarthy or certainly Jonny Gomes, certainly Jonny left, or Stephen [Drew], your situation is short.  There are some places we're looking to upgrade, but I don't think we're in a rush to make a deal that we're not ready to make.

Q.  (Inaudible).

BOB MELVIN:  Well, I think pretty ‑‑ like last year recently we showed that we'd try to match up, and I think based on the fact that some of our guys were injured a little bit, I think we're allowing for that potentially.  We do have the DH spot that we can rotate these guys through.  It gives us the option to rest some guys a little bit more, whether it's Yoenis, who was a little bit run down at the end, we can rest Coco a little bit.  I think the at‑bats are there for all of them to get 400, 450 at‑bats.  It's just a matter of finding the right time, the right spot, and potentially allowing for injury, too.  It does look like we're a little full in those positions.  But as we saw last year, there are a lot of guys that contribute, and I think that will be the case this year, and we have the at‑bats for all these guys at this point.

Q.  You obviously have lost Gomes now.  You mentioned he was an important part of what you guys did.

BOB MELVIN:  Yeah, well, congratulations to him.  That was a nice little deal.  I don't know regardless of where it went if we would have been able to do that.  What you do in this game is you wish him the best.  He's in a good place for him.  I know he's excited about it, and I've talked to him a couple times since the deal, and he's excited.  But that's just the way the game is.  You move on from time to time.  It doesn't mean that a year or two or three down the road that he might not be back.  It's just where we are right now, and we're going to have to find guys in the clubhouse that are going to be able to step up and do some of the things he did.

He is a unique guy as far as clubhouse goes, but we feel with our younger guys a little bit further along now that we'll be able to take up that kind of slack in the clubhouse.

Q.  (Inaudible).

BOB MELVIN:  Well, we saw from day one how well he could adjust.  I was worried more so after I got to know him about off‑field stuff than on‑field stuff.  He is a baseball player, and he prepares every day to play.  He's very serious about it, and you can tell by the adjustments he made, even going from center field to left field, that he's able to make those kinds of adjustments, and then you look at the talent level and you see a kid that the sky really is the limit.  We expect him to get better and better every year.

Q.  Shortstop is obviously one of the places that you talked about trying to add.  What do you feel right now about the personnel that you have?

BOB MELVIN:  Right.  Not much.  I saw some numbers and looked at a little video, and he looks like a scrappy player.  We have Adam Rosales.  We have Eric Sogard.  So we do have some guys in house that played the position for us.  You're always looking to upgrade and that might be a position that we look a little bit harder at.  But if we sat here today and had to move forward with who we have right now, I think we'd be comfortable with that.  But it is one spot that we probably don't have as much experience or the numbers in that spot as maybe some of the other spots.

Q.  When you look at last season, what do you see?

BOB MELVIN:  It was a group that came together as the season went along.  Our second half was dramatically better than our first half.  And I think when the guys went home, they felt about what we accomplished this year, whether it was win‑loss or whether it was guys taking their game to another level, so I think that will be the case come this spring that everybody would be pretty excited, feel good about what we accomplished last year and look to improve upon that.

Q.  (Inaudible).

BOB MELVIN:  Well, you can never have too much pitching, as you saw last year for us.  We had quite a few starters, and we ended up with five rookie starters, and you're not going to go with the same five guys over the course of one season.  So you're always looking to potentially add your depth there.  But we do have, I think, six guys right now that we can lean on for those spots, and I think we're in a pretty good position as far as that goes.

Q.  What are your thoughts on McCarthy?

BOB MELVIN:  Yeah, I think that door is always open until it's closed.  Again, we're probably not going to be the market‑maker on this one.  We'll probably sit back and see what kind of offers he gets and whether or not we're able to afford him, what the guaranteed money is, what the incentives are in his deal, which I'm sure will be somewhat incentive laden.  But that door is not closed.  Again, we're probably going to wait and see where he's at when he probably narrows it down a little bit.

Q.  (Inaudible).

BOB MELVIN:  Well, you know what, if you do well, you're going to get the at‑bats, and I think that's what ‑‑ everybody knew that last year, and Chris Carter is a guy that can hit righties and lefties when he's going well and Brandon Moss is a guy that showed he can hit lefties, as well.  We're in a good position of having two guys.  In the American League you can rotate through the DH spot.  We do have some guys that last year we also pinch‑hit for, and that comes up for us, as well.  There's spots for both those guys in my opinion.  We'll see the way the offseason plays out, but two talented guys that were really very impactful for us.  I think when they started playing as a tandem, that's when we really took off was I think middle of June, somewhere around then.  And both those guys had a big impact on that and certainly the power ended up being a big part of our game, and those two guys were at the forefront of that.

Q.  You mentioned how unique Gomes was in the clubhouse.  What is it that he does?

BOB MELVIN:  He's just a guy that's respected based on the fact that he's there to win.  He's been some places where their teams weren't expected to do well and did.  I mean, everywhere he's been, it seems like teams have done pretty well.  You know, especially for us with the younger group last year, he was kind of a resource for a lot of our younger guys, and there's certain guys that are able to do that, and he's one of them.  Really I said many times last year very rarely do you see a guy that has that kind of impact in the clubhouse that's not an everyday player.  And he's not an everyday player, but they know he comes to play each and every day.  He prepares.  If his name is in the lineup, he's going to go out there and try and produce.  If somebody else is in his spot that day, he's going to pat them on the back and support them.  So he is an ultimate team guy, and I think that's why he plays so well in clubhouses.

Q.  (Inaudible).

BOB MELVIN:  I wouldn't argue that.  I mean, not only in the rotation about some of our younger guys, but also in the bullpen we feel like we're in a very good spot as far as our pitching goes.  It played out that way last year, and I think the experience that some of those guys last year have the potential to be that much better this year.

Q.  In the grand scheme of things, talk about adding an extra team.

BOB MELVIN:  Well, it's a different dynamic.  You know, we were the one division that had four teams, and now it's five.  It's a team that we don't know a whole lot about.  They broke it down here over the last couple years and expect to get better going forward and probably have some resources to do it.  You look at the record last year, I don't think that's going to be indicative of the type of team they are this year, and now you're going to have to make two stops in Texas along the way three different times, and it's just something that we're going to have to deal with now, a team that's probably going to be an up‑and‑coming team in the years to come.

Q.  Can you shed some light (inaudible)?

BOB MELVIN:  Well, they asked me about him, and I certainly have some experience with Chris.  He's a very good player with a lot of athletic ability in the prime of his career.  I think ultimately that was ‑‑ the decision was a guy like this that's that good in the prime of his career, let's try to get this guy and then we'll figure out where we go as far as the at‑bats and the rest of the guys.

But he played very well for me his rookie year.  He had over 30 home runs, led off for me.  He hit 4th, 5th.  He hit anywhere in the lineup.  And plus the center fielder is probably going to have to get some reps in the other spots in the outfield this year, as well.  But a talented guys that we think can really enhance our team both offensively and defensively.

Q.  Do you see him still as a leadoff hitter or would you consider him further down the line?

BOB MELVIN:  Just depends.  I think you probably more have to lead him off against lefties.  We kind of fit him into a spot that I'm not sure he was real comfortable with based on a need when we were in Arizona.  You look at him with the on base and so forth, probably not the prototypical leadoff guy if we need to Coco Crisp is about as good as it gets leading off.  On a day off for Coco or something like that against a lefty, if it was a good matchup, and I wanted to get him up there another time or two in the game, he has experience doing it and he could do it again.

Q.  Have you heard the name of the Japanese players (inaudible)?

BOB MELVIN:  I have.

Q.  How have you heard it?

BOB MELVIN:  Well, we've talked about him.  I think that's about as far as ‑‑ we haven't met in the room here.  I just got here.  We haven't been throwing around too many names here as of yet, but his name came up before I came.  I'm sure there will probably be quite a few suitors for him.  He's a hitter.  I've seen a few at‑bats, yeah.

Q.  What makes Mike (inaudible)?

BOB MELVIN:  You know, you're one pitch away from three runs, and he has power to all fields.  It seems like he had a little bit of a step back as far as his average last year, but he's gotten better and better as the years have gone on and a guy that can hit the ball in any ballpark, really right center or left.  Those are the type of guys you can't make mistakes to, and if you do you're going to pay.  And we've seen plenty of times with him with the type of power that he has, and in that position when you have that kind of an impactful bat, it goes a long way.

Q.  How much does that help, the fact that he's able to hit so many pitches?

BOB MELVIN:  Well, good hitters do that, and I think he's gotten better about that over the course of his career and the more playing time he's got and with the results that he has.  Before in the past you try to get him out, out of the zone, now he's a little bit more apt to lay off those pitches and make you come to him.

Q.  What type of working conditions will Derek have?

BOB MELVIN:  Well, he'll go in as our No. 1 catcher.  That's the way we envision him.  How many at‑bats George gets probably has a lot to do with how Derek does, but we envision him being an everyday guy.  Nothing has changed from the time we traded for him.  We felt like he would be our catcher of the future and has the tools not only offensively but defensively to be an everyday guy.

You know, how he does and what he accomplishes are going to say a lot about the workload, but we expect him to get a lot of reps, yeah.

Q.  (Inaudible).

BOB MELVIN:  You know what, I think he's probably talked to a few guys, and I had talked to him last year after the fact, too.  He felt bad about it.  I certainly don't think this is something that he's done over the course of his career, and he just made a mistake.  He's a quality person on top of it.  Everybody that's around him knows that.  He was a good fit for us, and he's just going to take his punishment and come back and try to do his thing in the same fashion that he did last year.  He's a great resource for our younger guys and a good fit for our team.  You know, he just made a mistake, he's paid for it, and he's looking forward to coming back and being a part of our club.

Q.  The Giants won a second World Series because of great pitching.  How hard is it for you guys given the formula that they use when you're thinking in terms of long‑term success?

BOB MELVIN:  Well, that's the way we envision doing things.  And we felt like last year if we were going to have success it would be based on that dynamic.  We felt like we were better defensively.  We felt like we had pitching depth.  How far along these guys were was probably the question in Spring Training, but that's the way we envision doing things.  Now we start to get some offensive performance in the second half and things all started to click.  But it's going to come down to pitching and defense, and it always does in the postseason on top of that.  That's how you win games.  Good pitching usually will keep the hitting down.  We feel like as far as that goes we're ahead of the game, and that's where our strength is is our pitching.

Q.  Pitching has always been important, but there seems to be more emphasis on it.

BOB MELVIN:  No.  I would agree, and you never know where those things go, and some guys surprise you and some guys do something for the first time or try to get better in a certain way and then they realize and pay for it a little bit better.  I think MLB is doing a great job in the policies that they've put in place.  You're seeing guys get caught, and I think our ‑‑ MLB's policy is as stringent as my sport.  I think that's about as good as you can do.

Q.  (Inaudible).

BOB MELVIN:  Absolutely, and I don't think we've seen the best of Dan Straily yet.  We saw him pitch in good games and we saw him pitch pretty well in spurts, but I think once he gets really confident and feels comfortable at the big league level, the strikeouts and the dominance that you saw in Triple‑A.  I think he has the stuff to do that at the big league level.

Q.  (Inaudible).

BOB MELVIN:  There's more.  You know, I think we saw him grow as much as anybody last year.  Now, we had some terrific stories of Sean Doolittle who never pitched before and all of a sudden was closing games.  But I think if you watched Jarrod last year, he didn't even go to Japan with us, he didn't break with us to Japan based on a couple of tough outings and what we felt like at the time were maybe some mechanical issues.  But boy, he ‑‑ and then you go through the season and watch him get better and better and better and more confident and now all of a sudden he's pitching in a prominent role in the postseason the first game for us.  That was quite a story in its own, and I think he's just scratching the surface.  As long as he stays healthy and he's had his Tommy John and he works very hard to keep himself healthy, I think you're seeing a guy that's got a chance to be a top of the rotation guy, whether it's No. 1 or No. 2.