SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - After Madison Bumgarner's stunning performance in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series, Larry Baer was asked if Bumgarner had guaranteed himself a statue outside of AT&T Park. He shifted some of the focus to his manager, who had just won his third title in five years.
"How about a Bruce Bochy statue?" Baer said that night, smiling. "The only thing is, I don't know if we'll be able to find enough marble to sculpt his head."
Five years later, Baer and the Giants are now faced with the reality that they must find the proper sendoff for their manager, who one day soon will be in the Hall of Fame. Baer promised tributes, and when he's through with that process, perhaps he'll sit down with Bochy and figure out what's next.
Bochy and Baer already have had a general conversation about the manager staying with the organization after this season. The details will be hashed out at a later date.
"There's an open yearning from the Giants for him to continue in whatever role is the best fit," Baer said. "We're in February, so let's go through the season and have a great season. I know he's super-fired-up about the season and we're very grateful that he's feeling well. It's really going to be for him to define what with the organization he would want to do going forward, but it's an open door to whatever he would want to do."
Bochy said he hasn't given much thought to what he might do specifically, and he did say that he couldn't commit to "never" managing elsewhere. That didn't surprise his longtime boss, Brian Sabean.
"He's announced that this chapter is done here with the Giants, but that can change overnight," Sabean said.
At the moment, nobody really expects it to. Bochy is 63 and about to embark on his 25th season as a manager. The game has changed and front offices increasingly turn to young, analytics-driven managers who can take their directions from general managers and team presidents. Farhan Zaidi will pick Bochy's replacement and surely has some of his own ideas, but Bochy will have a role of some sort, as ex-Giants decision-makers always have.
Felipe Alou, who visited Bochy on Monday, is a special assistant in the front office. Dusty Baker returned last year as an advisor to Baer. Sabean, the former GM, is no longer in charge of baseball operations, but he still has his old office at Scottsdale Stadium and remains involved in the direction of the franchise. Even former pitching coach Dave Righetti remains in the organization, and he has been at Scottsdale Stadium this week.
This is an organization that always finds a spot for past contributors, and few can match Bochy's resume. When he's ready, he'll have a role. He said he'll figure that part out. For now, he knows one thing about his next job.
"I'm a Giant," he said.