San Francisco Giants Rumors

San Francisco Giants trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Giants Acquire Mike Leake

The Giants and Reds have announced a trade that will send right-hander Mike Leake to San Francisco in exchange for 21-year-old Class-A Advanced right-hander Keury Mella and corner infielder Adam Duvall.

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Leake, 27, is in the midst of his third straight season of solid run prevention in one of baseball’s most hitter-friendly atmospheres. The free-agent-to-be currently sports a 3.56 ERA with 5.9 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a 51.5 percent ground-ball rate in 136 2/3 innings. Dating back to 2013, Leake has cemented himself as a durable source of quality innings. He made 64 starts from 2013-14, totaling 406 2/3 innings in that time, and he’s made 21 starts this year, averaging 6.5 innings per appearance.

The Giants have cycled through eight different starting pitchers this season and received an ERA south of 4.00 from only two of them, creating a good deal of uncertainty in the rotation, particularly in light of injury struggles for Matt Cain, Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson. The emergence of Chris Heston has been a boon to the San Francisco pitching staff, but the club has reportedly been on the hunt for arms to shore up the staff, and Leake will certainly help.

In Leake, the Giants have picked up an asset whose limitations — specifically a below-average strikeout/swinging-strike rate in Leake’s case — are minimized by their home park and provided the team some much-needed stability in the rotation. While Leake isn’t on the same level of other rumored Giants target such as David Price and Cole Hamels, he’s an upgrade to the team and, perhaps most importantly, could factor into a potential postseason rotation for the reigning champs. Leake will also improve the Giants’ chances of keeping up with the Dodgers in the division and thereby avoiding a one-game playoff. A half-game currently separates the two clubs.

The move to San Francisco will be advantageous for Leake in multiple ways. First and foremost, Leake will move into a much better pitching environment for the final push toward his first bout with free agency, which should lead to improvements in his overall run prevention numbers. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, is that the trade makes him ineligible to receive a qualifying offer. Set to reach free agency after this season, before his age-28 season, Leake would’ve been a lock to receive a QO despite his status as more of a mid-rotation arm than a front-of-the-rotation piece. Now, however, he’ll hit the open market as one of the youngest players available and without the burden of draft pick compensation, which figures to work quite nicely in his favor.

The move to the rotation for Leake means that one of Hudson, Peavy or Cain will be demoted from their spot, and Giants GM Bobby Evans tells reporters, including Andrew Baggarly, that it will be Hudson who will be departing from the starting five (Twitter link). While Hudson has a 4.80 ERA in 101 innings this season and has not pitched near the level he did in a brilliant debut campaign with the Giants in 2014, it’s nevertheless unusual to see him heading for a bullpen. Hudson has appeared in 475 games over the course of his Major League career, and 474 of those contests have been starts. The San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea tweets that (per Evans) Hudson “ultimately wants to see this club excel, have success and win and told me he’d do whatever it takes for that to happen.”

Turning to the Reds’ side of the deal, Mella ranks first on MLB.com’s midseason list of Giants top prospects and second on Baseball America’s version of the same list. ESPN’s Keith Law tweets that he considered Mella the best arm in San Francisco’s system as well. MLB.com’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo write that Mella has the best combo of stuff and pitchability of any arm in San Francisco’s system, making him a candidate to rise quickly through the minors. He’s 93-95 mph with his fastball regularly, touching 97 when needed, per their report, and has the potential for three average-or-better pitches. BA notes that a scout has likened his sinking fastball to a bowling ball, and that movement helps him limit homers. Still, some see the bullpen in Mella’s future, BA adds.

The 26-year-old Duvall doesn’t rate as highly on San Francisco prospect lists, but MLB.com still pegged him 25th. Duvall made his big league debut with the Giants in 2014 and has already blasted 26 homers at the Triple-A level in 2015, albeit in the extremely hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Callis and Mayo feel that power is Duvall’s lone tool, making him best suited for a utility role or first base duty. Given his strong Triple-A numbers and the fact that he’s already appeared in the bigs, I’d think Duvall could emerge as a bench option for Cincinnati in short order. (For those that enjoy a good anecdote, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer points out that Duvall homered in his first career game … a solo shot off of Leake.)

The rebuilding Reds have now moved two of their most desirable assets — Leake and Johnny Cueto — and netted a quartet of promising arms in addition to a potential big league bench piece. Mella and Duvall are joined by lefties Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed in an improving Reds farm system.

FOX’s Jon Morosi first reported that the two sides were in discussions. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted that Leake would go to the Reds, adding that Cincinnati would net two minor leaguers. Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area reported Mella’s inclusion (on Twitter), and Morosi reported that Duvall was in the deal, too (on Twitter).


Giants, Reds Discussing Mike Leake

The Giants and Reds are in “active discussions” regarding right-hander Mike Leake, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Earlier tonight, Joel Sherman of the New York Post said that a Leake/Giants connection was one of the most commonly heard scenarios he heard speculated upon among rival executives (Twitter link).

The 27-year-old Leake has spent his entire career pitching in one of baseball’s best hitting environments but has rattled off two and a half seasons of solid run prevention in spite of that fact. Dating back to Opening Day 2013, Leake has a 3.54 ERA with 6.2 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9. Leake’s never been one to miss many bats, but he’s posted a ground-ball rate of 50.1 percent in his career and paired that ability with solid control to overcome his hitter-friendly home park. A free agent at season’s end, Leake is earning $9.75MM this year and is owed about $3.6MM over the final two months.

One would imagine that a move to the spacious AT&T Park would do wonders for Leake, who could see a nice boost to his ERA by making a drastic shift to one of the game’s more pitcher-friendly environments. Certainly, he’d provide the Giants with a regular does of quality innings; he made 64 starts in 2013-14 and totaled 406 2/3 innings in that time. He’s yet to miss a start in 2015 and is averaging 6.5 innings per game this year — an appealing benefit to a Giants rotation that has cycled through eight starting pitchers this season, only two of whom have an ERA south of 4.00. The Giants do have internal options for the rotation should injuries arise, as both Yusmeiro Petit and Ryan Vogelsong are currently in the bullpen.

From a financial standpoint, a trade to the Giants would hold extra benefit for Leake. Not only would his numbers tick upward — he’d also be ineligible to receive a qualifying offer at the end of the year, thereby increasing his appeal to interested parties in free agency.


Pitching Market Notes: Ross, Gallardo, Iwakuma, Indians, Chapman, Pirates

The Padres are “progressing” on multiple deals, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, and Tyson Ross is a key piece among their trade chips. Rosenthal adds that trading him would be considered a concession on the 2015 season, and while that’s likely, it’s certainly possible that the Padres could acquire some MLB-ready talent to make it more even for 2015 purposes than if they went with an all-prospects package. The Padres could add some pieces as well, he notes.

Meanwhile Bob Nightengale of USA Today chimes in on Ross as well, tweeting that executives from other teams are “convinced” that Ross will be dealt. Nightengale says the Cubs continue to push for Ross. (Earlier today, ESPN’s Jayson Stark heard that Ross is Chicago’s top pitching target.)

Here’s more on the trade market for pitching help — starters and relievers alike:

  • The Cubs, Blue Jays and Dodgers are the most aggressive teams pursuing Yovani Gallardo of the Rangers at this time, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Yankees and Giants also have some level of interest, he adds. Gallardo started tonight, and things went poorly; the Yankees knocked him around for five runs in six innings, and he struck out just one hitter.
  • Despite a record that is well below the .500 mark, the Mariners aren’t planning to make right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma available, tweets Yahoo’s Jeff Passan. While other teams have apparently inquired, they’ve been informed that Mariners ownership prefers to keep him. Iwakuma’s value is down after a shaky, injury-filled season, though given his reasonable $7MM salary and track record, I’d imagine he’d draw no shortage of interest if put on the block.
  • Teams are still in touch with the Indians regarding their crop of young pitching talent, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. There’s nothing close at this time, but the Indians remain willing to engage in conversations. To this point, they’ve reportedly discussed Carlos Carrasco with other clubs, and one can imagine that Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer are of interest to other teams as well. Cleveland did bolster its impressive stockpile of young pitching today — albeit with a future-oriented move — acquiring Class-A lefty and former first-round pick Rob Kaminsky from the Cardinals for Brandon Moss.
  • The D-Backs reportedly have an offer on the table to the Reds for Aroldis Chapman, but Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic spoke to a pair of executives (Twitter link) about the asking price on Chapman, with one calling it “high” and the other using the term “ridiculous.”
  • Following today’s acquisition of Joakim Soria to strengthen his bullpen, Pirates GM Neal Huntington told reporters, including Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that he doesn’t plan to acquire an additional starting pitcher prior to tomorrow’s non-waiver trade deadline (Twitter link).


Stark, Crasnick On Mariners, Cubs, Ross, Padres, Chapman

The Mariners and Cubs have had recent trade talks, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter), though he’s yet to ascertain which specific players were involved. The conversations didn’t center around Starlin Castro, Crasnick continues. Clearly, there could be a wide range of targets at play here, though the Cubs have been connected to pitching upgrades in both the rotation and the bullpen.

Some more trade notes from a couple of ESPN’s top reporters…

  • In today’s Rumor Roundup over at ESPN, Jayson Stark writes that other teams view Tyson Ross as the Cubs‘ top trade target. Chicago likes Andrew Cashner but considers him a fallback option, should the price for Ross become too steep. Both Castro and Javier Baez have previously been of interest to the Padres, although Castro’s stock is way down. Stark also reported today that the Cubs are now “aggressively” shopping Castro.
  • From that same piece, Stark adds that other clubs believe Justin Upton, Cashner and Joaquin Benoit are the most likely players to be traded by the Padres, and one particular executive to whom Stark spoke feels it’s “likely” that Craig Kimbrel will be traded as well. In a followup tweet, Stark adds that the number of people who feel Kimbrel will end up with the Yankees is “amazing.” New York already possesses a dominant late-inning duo in the form of Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances. Adding Kimbrel to the mix would give them a trio to rival the three-headed bullpen monster (Greg Holland, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera) that the Royals rode to the World Series in 2014. The Astros, too, like Kimbrel, according to Stark. However, Houston wouldn’t want to take on all of the money he’s owed.
  • Stark also tweets that the Reds are still discussing Aroldis Chapman with teams, but the price remains very high. At this time, the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Giants and Astros are all in the mix for Chapman, who is earning $8.05MM in 2015 and is controlled via the arbitration process for the 2016 season.

Pitching Notes: Teheran, Karns, Ross, Giants

We just checked in on Yovani Gallardo, who may or may not be dealt before the deadline. Here’s the latest on the starting pitching market, which was one of many topics covered in today’s podcast with Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca.

  • Despite reportedly being prepared to deal Alex Wood to the Dodgers, the Braves are still listening on Julio Teheran, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports (Twitter links). He suggests, however, that the club may just be hoping for an overpay rather than actively shopping the young righty.
  • Given their starting depth, the Rays have indicated a willingness to listen to offers on right-hander Nate Karns, Passan reports on Twitter. Karns is already 27, but has ample team control and has emerged with 115 innings of 3.37 ERA pitching this year.
  • Padres righty Tyson Ross is “drawing intense interest,” Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. The AstrosBlue JaysCubs, and Dodgers are all in the mix, says Heyman, and Houston could be the “at the forefront” of efforts to pry him away from San Diego. Notably, many of those clubs are also viewed as prime contenders for David Price. Heyman further breaks down Price’s market in an article today.
  • The Giants are also said to be looking into a run at Price after falling short in a “late push” for Cole Hamels (per Rosenthal, on Twitter). GM Bobby Evans says he doesn’t foresee the club parting with players from the team’s current everyday lineup in any deals, as Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com tweets. But the Tigers do like several of San Francisco’s minor league arms, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets, which could make them plausible pursuers of the ace lefty.

Dodgers, Giants, Blue Jays, Yankees, Astros Show Initial Interest In David Price

David Price has generated significant early interest since the Tigers declared themselves open to offers earlier today. Several teams have already emerged as early leaders to get the ace lefty.

Per Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), the Dodgers, Giants, Blue Jays, and Yankees are all in contact with Detroit and make up the “four main teams” in the mix. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, who was first to note that the Blue Jays had made contact on Price, adds the Astros as a team that is in discussions (Twitter link).

Especially with Johnny Cueto and Cole Hamels now off the market, Price is undoubtedly the best pitching trade piece remaining. He was dealt at the last minute in 2014 for an interesting package in a three-team deal, and now seems destined again to be one of the most-watched names in the final two days leading up to the deadline.


Cole Hamels Rumors: Wednesday

7:44pm: Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area tweets that one scenario which was discussed between the Giants and Phillies was centered around young catcher Andrew Susac as well as right-hander Tyler Beede and two more minor leaguers. Clearly, that’s a sizable ask, but the much ballyhooed Susac would be a logical target for the Giants, as he’s blocked in San Francisco by Buster Posey, and the Phillies are in need of a long-term solution behind the plate.

2:07pm: A deal on Hamels is not likely to come together until tomorrow or possibly Friday, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com tweets.

12:12pm: The Giants are “fading” back of the pack chasing Hamels, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. San Francisco has not communicated with the Phillies on a deal in the last 24 hours, he adds.

It’s not entirely surprising to hear that San Francisco could fall out of the running. The club does have plenty of options in its rotation, so the immediate need is not pressing. And the Giants arguably lack the same stable of high-upside minor leaguers that other teams with interest can dangle.

8:51am: The Red Sox appear unlikely to land Phillies lefty Cole Hamels, according to a report form Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Boston’s pursuit of the veteran has been complicated throughout by his no-trade clause, per the report.

While the Red Sox have seemed more an outside contender to add Hamels in recent weeks, the report provides interesting insight into how the Phillies will handle their decision. Philadelphia reportedly asked teams to submit their best offers on Hamels today, and presumably will move to work out a deal with the preferred suitor in relatively short order.

Bradford says there are indications that the Phillies may be devoting more attention to working with interested teams that do not appear on the list of teams over which Hamels has veto power. That may suggest that the clause is a significant barrier — and one, perhaps, that the Phillies do not want to deal with in finalizing an agreement.

As Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com recently tweeted, Hamels can be dealt to two American League clubs (the Yankees and Rangers) or seven National League clubs (the Nationals, Cardinals, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cubs, and Mets) without his consent. Of those teams, of course, Texas and Los Angeles have been most heavily tied to Hamels, with the Yankees and Cubs also mentioned at times as teams with possible interest.


Trade Notes: Chapman, Chavez, Shields, Dodgers, Gomez, Kelley, O’s, Nats

The Reds are currently “examining offers” for closer Aroldis Chapman, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney, but at this time, there’s no sense as to whether or not they feel “devoted” to finishing a trade as they did with Johnny Cueto over the weekend. Chapman’s name has been connected to the Nationals (who have since acquired Jonathan Papelbon), D-Backs, Blue Jays and others in recent weeks, but because he’s controlled through 2016, the urge to move him isn’t as great as the urge to move Cueto or teammate Mike Leake.

A few more general trade notes for all you late-night readers…

  • ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick gets the sense that the Athletics won’t move right-hander Jesse Chavez (Twitter link). I listed Chavez in my breakdown of the trade market for starting pitching, but as Crasnick notes, he’s controlled through 2016 at what should be a reasonable rate. Chavez is owed just $2.15MM in 2015 and should get a nice, but not enormous raise in arbitration this winter. Following today’s trade of Ben Zobrist, A’s general manager Billy Beane said that he didn’t plan on moving pieces that are controlled beyond the current season.
  • Sticking with the ESPN group, Jayson Stark noted in today’s roundup of trade rumors that one exec predicted to him that James Shields would end up with the Giants. However, Stark hears that the Padres have changed their stance on trading within the division and now may be hesitant to trade their top chips to a division-rival. San Diego, of course, made a huge intra-division trade by acquiring Matt Kemp from the Dodgers this offseason.
  • Speaking of the Dodgers, Stark also hears that L.A. could land two starting pitchers instead of one this week. He goes on to add that the Dodgers have a limited number of prospects they’re actually willing to deal, though, so if they can line up on a trade for a big name like Cole Hamels, they may not have the remaining pieces to add a second arm.
  • One executive tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he doesn’t think the Brewers particularly want to trade Carlos Gomez (Twitter link). The asking price on Gomez at this time is “very” high, the exec tells Rosenthal, adding that he thinks Milwaukee is hoping to get blown away but may otherwise hang onto the center fielder.
  • The Pirates have interest in Padres right-hander Shawn Kelley, reports John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times (on Twitter). A free agent following the season, Kelley has turned in a very strong 3.09 ERA with excellent strikeout-to-walk numbers in 2015. He’s averaged 10.9 K/9 against a minuscule 1.8 BB/9 in his first season with San Diego.
  • The Orioles‘ interest in Carlos Gonzalez was characterized by one source as “mild,” tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. However, Morosi tweets that the Orioles are still in the Justin Upton market. Baltimore is known to be looking for a corner outfield upgrade but has limited prospect depth from which it can deal to achieve that goal.
  • Morosi also notes (via Twitter) that the Nationals are interested in upgrading their bench, but the want to fully assess the health of Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth, both of whom are now off the disabled list. He notes that an extra outfielder would be a nice pickup for the team, speculatively listing both Will Venable of the Padres and Gerardo Parra of the Brewers as fits.

Red Sox Claim Jean Machi From Giants

The Red Sox announced that they have claimed right-handed reliever Jean Machi off waivers from the Giants. In order to clear room on the 40-man roster, right-hander Clay Buchholz has been transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL, meaning he can’t be activated until at least Sept. 9 (h/t: Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, on Twitter).

The 33-year-old Machi had a somewhat surprising breakout season in San Francisco’s bullpen in 2013, and over the ’13-’14 seasons he totaled a 2.49 ERA with 7.7 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9 in 119 1/3 innings of relief. However, he’s struggled a good deal in 2015, with an ERA of 5.14 in addition to K/9 and BB/9 rates that have taken significant steps backwards. He’s also missed about three weeks due to a groin strain.

On the plus side for Machi, his velocity (92.6 mph) is still about the same as it was in previous seasons. His ground-ball rate, while down a bit, is still an above-average 49.6 percent. The Red Sox will hope that the strong 119 1/3 innings he displayed from 2013-14 are more indicative of his talent level than the 35 poor innings he’s delivered in 2015. Machi figures to be a Super Two player this winter, as he’ll finish the year with two years, 154 days of big league service if he remains on Boston’s big league roster all year. The Sox will have the ability to control him through the 2019 season if he can rediscover the successful form he showed in recent seasons.


Giants “Making Strong Push” For Cole Hamels

10:50am: The Giants “don’t have a strong enough package of prospects” to land Hamels, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.

8:20am: The Giants are “making a strong push” for Phillies lefty Cole Hamels, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. San Francisco has previously been mentioned as a suitor, but it appears that the team is looking to make a serious attempt at landing the lefty.

Of course, we heard yesterday that the Astros, too, were also driving after Hamels. And there were indications that the Diamondbacks had entered the conversation as well. It’s not yet clear, though, that clubs with more long-standing interest — particularly, the Rangers and Dodgers — have been displaced as the likeliest landing spots.

From the Giants’ perspective, yesterday’s news suggested that the club was interested in adding a starter, but only if it was a significant upgrade. And San Francisco did not seem terribly likely to actually pull something off.

It remains to be seen, of course, whether the run at Hamels will amount to anything. The Giants do have forward-looking financial flexibility, as Rosenthal notes on Twitter, but the same could probably be said of several other teams reportedly in the hunt. It’s not clear what kind of package the team would be interested in dangling, though young catcher Andrew Susac would seem likely (in my opinion) to hold significant interest to Philadelphia.

Hamels could block a deal to the Giants, who are not on his list of nine teams to whom he can be dealt without consent. (Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com tweeted the updated list recently.) It’s not clear at present whether that would pose any issues.