The Giants considered a formal announcement Thursday to name Astros assistant Alonzo Powell their new hitting coach, but decided to wait until next week to allow the San Francisco native to enjoy Friday’s World Series parade in Houston.
Having raided the two World Series organiztions for coaches — Powell from the Astros and bullpen coach Matt Herges from the Dodgers — the Giants will continue to focus on hiring a pitching coach.
Meanwhile, the Giants’ most important player-acquisition period in two decades began Thursday morning when 149 players were declared free agents.
The list includes four Giants: pitcher Matt Cain, who is retiring; third baseman Jae-Gyun Hwang, who is not expected back; outfielder-first baseman Michael Morse, whose Giants comeback ended on Memorial Day when he banged heads with Jeff Samardzija during the Hunter Strickland-Bryce Harper brawl; and catcher Nick Hundley.
The first order of business is a Giant who could become the fifth free agent, pitcher Johnny Cueto. He has until Saturday to decide whether to opt out of the final four years of his six-year, $130 million contract.
Cueto has been coy about his choice, saying after Game 162 that “of course” he wanted to come back. But he also said negotiations between his agent and the Giants were necessary.
Given Cueto’s health and performance last year, he hardly seems in a position to negotiate. He could ask the Giants to guarantee his $22 million option for 2022, but he will be 36, an unenticing prospect for the club.
Hundley is the only for-sure free agent who could return. He and the club expressed a desire to make it happen, Hundley saying after the final game, “I love it here, and I love these guys. It’s a wonderful place to play, and the opportunity to win a World Series here is as good as anyplace else in the league.”
He still suggested he would examine his options in free agency.
Under the collective bargaining agreement, over the next five days, free agents can talk to any team to gauge mutual interest and discuss potential roles and playing time, contract length and even no-trade clauses, but they can talk dollars only with their incumbent teams.
Thus, the Giants have the exclusive right to sign a deal with Hundley until Tuesday, after which he can sign anywhere.
One potential free-agent outfielder and power threat fell off the board quickly Thursday when the Angels tore up their 2018 option on Justin Upton and agreed to a five-year, $106 million deal.
That was great news for new free agent J.D. Martinez, who has every right to demand a similar deal, particularly after he hit .302 with 29 homers in just 62 games after the Diamondbacks acquired him from the Tigers at the deadline.
Talk about “comps”: Not only are Martinez and Upton both 30, they were born four days apart.
Martinez is exactly the kind of hitter the Giants need, but during the season, team sources downplayed expectations that they would fix their outfield through large free-agent signings, focusing instead on trades.
That brings up Giancarlo Stanton, who is halfway out of Miami, if reports are accurate. One national baseball reporter, Jon Heyman, repeatedly has reported that the Giants are front-runners to land Stanton, partly because he would be eager to waive his no-trade rights to come to San Francisco.
The Giants have had ongoing talks with the Marlins about several players. Stanton’s fate now that Derek Jeter’s group has bought the club will be perhaps the single biggest story in baseball this winter.
Henry Schulman is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @hankschulman