A 'great day' for Bochy as he become Giants' manager
SAN FRANCISCO -- Bruce Bochy had no intention of leaving a winning situation with the San Diego Padres -- until the division rival Giants came calling.
|The Bochy File|
Bruce Bochy, hired as manager of the San Francisco Giants on Friday, is 951-975 in his career, which includes one World Series appearance (1997, when the Padres lost to the Yankees) and one manager of the year award (1996). A closer look at Bochy's career with San Diego:
|Year||Record||Finish in NL West|
|1996||91-71||1st (lost to St. Louis in NL Division Series)|
|1998||98-64||1st (lost to New York Yankees in World Series)|
|2005||82-80||1st (lost to St. Louis in NL Division Series)|
|2006||88-74||1st (lost to St. Louis in NL Division Series)|
On Friday, Bochy concluded a whirlwind week with his introduction as San Francisco's manager. After guiding the Padres to consecutive division titles, his task now is to turn the Giants into a contender after two "off track" seasons by his assessment.
"Oh, what a great day," Bochy said when introduced at San Francisco's waterfront ballpark. "I look forward to this challenge. I think this is a situation that is just going to get better. ... I've been managing in this division for 12 years. I know it."
Bochy agreed to a three-year contract worth roughly $6 million to replace Felipe Alou after working out details late Thursday. Fittingly, Bochy's opening-day opponent in April will be the Padres, his employer the past 24 years.
Normally, Major League Baseball frowns upon such announcements during the World Series, but the Giants were excused because Bochy is set to leave Monday for Japan with an All-Star team.
Bochy was the only candidate to replace Alou who has previous major league managerial experience, something general manager Brian Sabean said he preferred.
Bochy had one year left on his contract in San Diego but was told he would not receive an extension now, and he was allowed to explore other options. He and Sabean already had an informal conversation about the job after the GM spoke extensively to Padres general manager Kevin Towers about the possibility of hiring Bochy away.
"As he became available and expressed his sincere interest in coming to San Francisco as a priority, we accelerated those talks," Sabean said. "We're thrilled to get him in uniform after a long process we believe was very thorough. ... This is a solid move for the organization and the right move at this point in time."
Bochy beamed as he held up his new No. 15 San Francisco jersey. After addressing the media, he was whisked away for a lunch reception with Giants staff. The stadium's main center-field scoreboard screamed, "A Giant Welcome to Bruce Bochy!" and the skipper did a photo shoot on the field.
"It's nice to get this done with an outstanding manager," Giants owner Peter Magowan said.
San Francisco received permission from the Padres on Wednesday to talk to Bochy, who traveled to the Bay Area on Thursday to meet with Sabean and other team officials. They negotiated into the night before reaching a deal -- and the Padres will not receive any compensation from San Francisco.
The Giants had only a seven-day window in which to come to an agreement with Bochy because he was employed by another team.
"There will be some competitive juices flowing on opening day," Towers said.
Bochy, 51, who just finished his 12th season as the Padres' manager, led San Diego to back-to-back NL West titles and is the winningest manager in franchise history. He spent the last 24 years in the organization, dating to his playing days as a catcher.
It wasn't an easy decision to leave a team he helped build into a contender.
"We won 88 games -- or they won 88 games, as I should say now," Bochy said. "I wasn't planning on listening until the San Francisco Giants called."
Bochy was due to make $1.9 million in guaranteed money in 2007 from the Padres, so his new deal is a raise.
"It was unique," Sabean said of dealing with a division rival. "I can't pretend to understand what their business at hand is down there."
Giants first baseman Mark Sweeney, who played for Bochy in San Diego, attended the news conference and had said Bochy would be a good fit.
"He's a players' manager and he goes out and communicates," Sweeney said. "People know where he stands. He brings stability and has a track record for winning. He's a really good communicator and he's going to attract some free agents."
San Francisco, which has 11 potential free agents including Barry Bonds, did not renew the 71-year-old Alou's contract after finished its second straight losing season and third in a row out of the playoffs. Sabean and Bochy already have begun to discuss personnel -- and the Giants believe Bochy will do plenty to attract players to the Bay Area, too.
"Not only will he help with our players, he will help in the market," Sabean said. "He's got a baseball name."
Sabean spoke to Wotus and the other candidates late Thursday and noted the conversation with Wotus -- in the organization the last 19 years -- was tough. Sabean said Wotus will be allowed to pursue other jobs if he chooses.
A call to Wotus was not immediately returned Friday.
Sabean said he didn't intend to hire away any of Bochy's former staff in San Diego. Bochy, who was headed to Arizona for a workout with the U.S. all-star squad, hoped to have his coaches in place soon.
"There is a sense of urgency," he said. "Those decisions need to be made pretty soon."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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