San Francisco Giants Rumors

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

Tim Lincecum Undergoes Season-Ending Hip Surgery

7:04pm: Club trainer Dave Groeschner says that Lincecum is expected to require about five months to recover from the procedure, as Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports (Twitter links). Lincecum underwent both a labrum repair and a shaving of bone to address an impingement. “The doctor was pretty confident this will help him, and help him return to pitching next season,” said Groeschner.

11:43am: Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum underwent season-ending hip surgery this morning, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Giants GM Bobby Evans said Thursday in a KNBR radio appearance that Lincecum is out for the season, though he did not definitively mention Lincecum’s surgical procedure (hat tip: Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle). Said Evans:

“He won’t be able to come back this season. That’s evident. He went to Colorado to see a specialist and get a second opinion and get an evaluation with the prospect that he will have surgery. The next step for him is to do everything he can and get back and get well, but it’s going to take him out for the season. What that leads to in terms of his progression healthwise will dictate what opportunities he has with us or elsewhere.”

As Schulman notes, the injury may very well bring to a close Lincecum’s historic career as a member of the Giants.

Selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2006 draft, Lincecum debuted in 2007 as a hard-throwing 23-year-old, tossing 146 1/3 innings of 4.00 ERA ball and averaging better than a strikeout per inning with initially shaky control. The control woes quickly dissipated, however, as Lincecum won consecutive Cy Young Awards in his next two seasons. From 2008-11, there were few pitchers in the game that were decisively better than “The Freak,” whose unorthodox delivery and dominant results won the hearts of Giants fans. Over that four-year stretch, Lincecum posted a 2.81 ERA with 10.0 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 in 881 2/3 innings, earning All-Star honors each year.

Since that time, though, Lincecum’s career has gone in the opposite direction. He’s lost the mid-90s fastball that he had in his early to mid-20s, and he averaged just 87.2 mph on his vastly diminished heater this year. Lincecum inked a two-year, $35MM extension after the 2013 season despite marginal bottom-line results (sabermetric stats pegged him in a more optimistic light), but he hasn’t lived up to that deal. In the end, he’ll have pitched just 232 innings with a 4.54 ERA to show for it under that contract.

Schulman writes that Lincecum “surely will not get a Major League deal” from the Giants this offseason, and if that’s the case, it does seem likely that his days with San Francisco are coming to a close. Barring an exorbitant recovery timetable from this operation, it’s tough to imagine that no team would give Lincecum a big league deal, his lack of recent results notwithstanding.

Heyman wrote earlier this week that Lincecum was seeing renowned hip specialist Marc Philippon in Vail, Colo. Per Heyman’s report, surgery would most likely have Lincecum ready in time for Spring Training, and there’s a belief among some doctors that the dip in velocity is partially tied to his hip troubles.


Giants Designate Justin Maxwell For Assignment

The Giants announced that they have designated outfielder Justin Maxwell for assignment in order to clear space on the 40-man roster for September callup Nick Noonan.

Maxwell, 31, batted .209/.275/.341 in 274 plate appearances with the Giants this year. He’s soaked up a number innings in the outfield as San Francisco has dealt with injuries to its entire starting outfield — Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan and Nori Aoki. Maxwell is capable of playing all three outfield spots and is a particularly good defender in the corner outfield positions. As Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area tweets, the move is at least somewhat surprising, as the team could’ve transferred Tim Lincecum to the 60-day disabled list. Lincecum has been on the DL since late June.


Giants Acquire Alejandro De Aza

The Giants have officially acquired outfielder Alejandro De Aza from the Red Sox, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported on Twitter. Lefty Luis Ysla will return to Boston in the deal, as Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Twitter.

Jul 23, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Alejandro De Aza (31) during the game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox will pay $650K of De Aza’s salary in the deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. Having agreed to a $5MM salary to avoid arbitration in his final year of eligibility, De Aza is still owed just under $930K the rest of the way. But Boston reportedly only took on around $1MM in total commitments to De Aza when it added him on June 4. With $650K said to be going with the veteran to San Francisco, it appears that the Giants will not be paying much (if anything) of the tab.

De Aza, 31, turned around a sluggish start upon his move to the Red Sox. The free agent-to-be has slashed .292/.347/.484 over 178 plate appearances since that trade. Once an everyday center fielder with the White Sox, De Aza now profiles more as a platoon corner defender. He’s continued to perform much better against right-handed pitching, with increasing platoon splits in 2015.

For San Francisco, the month of August has required some injury-driven leak plugging. The club reportedly pursued infield help, including Chase Utley, before adding Marlon Byrd and now De Aza to help account for injuries to outfielders Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence.

By squeezing in the deal in advance of midnight eastern time tonight, San Francisco will be able to utilize the veteran De Aza on its post-season roster, if it qualifies. He has now changed teams via trade for the second time this summer and for the third time in the last two seasons.

Ysla, 23, turned in a nice season last year as a starter at the Class A level, but has struggled in High-A ball this year. Serving mostly out of the pen, Ysla has allowed 12.3 hits per nine and 4.6 BB/9 while retiring 10.7 opposing batters via strikeout per nine innings thrown. In 79 2/3 frames, he’s worked to a 6.21 ERA.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.



Giants Designate Ryan Lollis

The Giants have designated outfielder Ryan Lollis for assignment, the club announced. His 40-man spot was needed for the acquisition of outfielder Alejandro De Aza.

Lollis, 28, received his first big league action this year, but made just 13 plate appearances. He has only seen 500 turns at bat in parts of two seasons at the highest level of the minors, though his .319/.385/.451 Triple-A batting line is better than any of his marks in the lower levels of the San Francisco system.

Though he doesn’t have much pop, with just 32 career home runs, Lollis has always hit for a high average and rarely strikes out. He’s split his time about evenly between center and the corner outfield, with occasional work at first base, over his professional career.


August Trade Notes: Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Orioles, Astros

Tonight marks the end of the August trade period, and two deals have already gone down today. Clubs that wish to add players from outside their organizations who are eligible to play in the post-season must do so by midnight eastern time. Of course, to be dealt, players must either clear revocable trade waivers or have been claimed by the team that seeks to acquire them.

Here’s the latest chatter with one and a half hours to the deadline:

  • The Cubs are “pushing hard” to bolster their pitching staff before tonight’s deadline, Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com tweets. Chicago has already added several veteran arms over the last few months, but apparently is still looking at possible moves over the next few hours.
  • Meanwhile, the Dodgers have their eye on a relatively minor addition of outfield depth this evening, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. With several injuries to right-handed outfielders, the club could seemingly stand to put another option on its roster.
  • Giants outfielder Hunter Pence may be progressing more slowly from his oblique injury than had been hoped, Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area tweets. Manager Bruce Bochy did note that there hasn’t been any setback, though Pence may have been hoping to feel better in his light hitting session today, as Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News adds on Twitter. We heard earlier this evening that San Francisco remained active in the market, with outfielder Alejandro De Aza still on their radar and a continued desire to add an infielder.
  • While he’s now ticketed for Chicago, Austin Jackson drew interest from the Orioles, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. Baltimore has been said to be quite active over the month of August even as they’ve faded in the standings. As things stood before they lost tonight, however, the club was already 5.5 games out of the Wild Card and a full 11 back in the AL East.
  • While the Astros pursued several avenues over the month of August, they appear set to move on with only the addition of lefty Oliver Perez, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes“We made some, a few claims that we didn’t get,” said GM Jeff Luhnow. “And [on]] players we probably would have been interested in working out a deal for, but it didn’t work out. We feel pretty good about the guys we have on our roster right now.”

Giants Still Discussing De Aza, Looking At Infielders

The Giants are still active in the run-up to tonight’s deadline to add players from outside the organization who will be postseason-eligible, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). San Francisco continues to discuss outfielder Alejandro De Aza with the Red Sox, per the report, but is more interested in acquiring an infield option.

A potential match between those clubs on De Aza was reported about a week back by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. As he explained then, San Francisco felt the asking price was too steep at the time the original discussions occurred, and it was not entirely clear whether talks had continued after the Giants’ acquisition of Marlon Byrd. Of course, unlike Byrd, De Aza is capable of playing center and hits from the left side.

Meanwhile, the Giants were also said to be seeking infield depth and made a run at Chase Utley. It’s unclear precisely what type of player might be pursued at this point, but second baseman Joe Panik remains something of a question mark as he works to return from back issues.


Quick Hits: Arrieta, Lincecum, Pirates

Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta threw his first career no-hitter tonight, shutting down the Dodgers on 12 strikeouts and just two runners allowed (one via walk, one via error).  By coincidence, Charlie Wilmoth looked at Arrieta’s case as an extension candidate earlier today on MLBTR to see what it might take for Chicago to lock the ace up over the long term and whether or not an extension makes sense for either side at this time.  Needless to say, Arrieta’s stock only continues to rise after performances like tonight’s history-making gem.  Here’s some more from around baseball…

  • Tim Lincecum is still experiencing discomfort in his hips and back and there’s a chance he might not pitch again in 2015, Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports.  Since Lincecum is a free agent this winter, it could also mean the end of his Giants tenure.
  • The Pirates aren’t planning to call up Tyler Glasnow for the September stretch run, GM Neal Huntington told reporters (including Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review).  Glasnow, one of the game’s most highly-regarded pitching prospects, has an 0.81 ERA and 10.5 K/9 over 33 1/3 Triple-A innings this season, albeit with 17 walks as well.
  • Also from Sawchik’s notebook piece, A.J. Burnett said he was pain-free after throwing five simulated innings on Sunday.  The veteran has spent a month on the DL with a flexor strain in his throwing elbow, though he is now aiming to return for a mid-September series against the Cubs.
  • Indians assistant GM Mike Chernoff has been rumored as a candidate to become the Tribe’s general manager if Chris Antonetti is promoted to replace Mark Shapiro as president, though Fangraphs’ David Laurila notes that “Chernoff is a hot commodity” around baseball.  If Chernoff is offered multiple jobs, Laurila wonders if he would prefer running a team with more payroll flexibility than small-market Cleveland.
  • Also from Laurila’s piece, he wonders if the Angels are disappointed enough with their season that Mike Scioscia’s job could also be in jeopardy.  It has been assumed that Scioscia is safe given his close ties with owner Arte Moreno, not to mention the fact that the manager is still owed $18MM through the 2018 season.

Quick Hits: Kepler, Hanley, Giants Pen

Twins prospect Max Kepler has progressed greatly since signing out of Germany as a teenager, as Parker Hageman of TwinsDaily.com writes in an interesting look at the 22-year-old. “His [development] was limited out of Germany,” said VP of player personnel Mike Radcliff. “Played a lot more soccer games than he did baseball games before he was signed. It takes patience and we have a lot of that in our organization, thankfully.” Kepler, who joined the Minnesota organization for a $800K bonus, is one of an increasingly promising group of European prospects who have come to North American baseball in recent years. He has been outstanding in his first run at the Double-A level, slashing .334/.420/.558 with nine home runs and 16 stolen bases over 431 plate appearances.

If you’re interested in the topic of European baseball, be sure to keep an eye out for today’s MLBTR podcast, which discusses it extensively. In the meantime, here are a few more stray notes from around the league:

  • Whatever the Red Sox do with Hanley Ramirez the rest of the way in 2015, opines John Tomase of WEEI.com, finding him a new home this winter should be at the top of the to-do list of president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. Ramirez has had a deleterious effect throughout the organization, Tomase argues, suggesting that relying on the veteran at first carries too much risk. Yesterday, we polled MLBTR readers on the matter. The current results: a virtual dead heat between “move him to first” and “deal him away.”
  • Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle takes a look at the Giants‘ upcoming offseason bullpen questions. It could be time for the club to say goodbye to southpaw Jeremy Affeldt, he writes. The 36-year-old has struggled this year, the last of a three-year, $18MM contract he inked to return to San Francisco. Closer Santiago Casilla, meanwhile, can be brought back with a $5.5MM option or cut loose through a $1MM buyout. While it’s an open question whether he should be given the ninth inning, says Schulman, Casilla still seems likely to be retained at that price.

Injury Notes: Martin, Sabathia, Affeldt, Stanton

Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin will have surgery tomorrow to remove the hamate bone from his right hand, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter). Martin was optioned to Triple-A in early August due to severe struggles in the Majors but had batted .297/.372/.541 with a pair of homers in nine Triple-A contests. Per Wilson, he’ll be able to play defense again in two weeks’ time and could hit in four to six weeks. Martin most likely would’ve rejoined the Rangers’ active roster on Sept. 1, but it seems that his return to the active roster will be delayed.

A few more injury notes from around the game…

  • Upon meeting with doctors, CC Sabathia learned that he won’t need surgery to repair his arthritic knee, writes George A. King III of the New York Post. Sabathia hopes he can return in early September, and the lefty tells King he’ll pitch with the Yankees in any capacity upon his return, as his main priority is helping the team win. “If that means pitching out of the bullpen, it is what it is,” said Sabathia. “I am not here to make that decision, that’s not for me to make.” Sabathia did add that he feels like he could start, if healthy. Manager Joe Girardi said yesterday that there was a chance Sabathia would be out for the season, but that now seems unlikely.
  • The Giants‘ injury troubles continued today, as lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt landed on the 15-day disabled list due to a subluxed left knee sustained when playing with his children, per an Associated Press report. The 36-year-old Affeldt hasn’t been himself this season, struggling to a 5.46 ERA with 5.7 K/9 against 4.0 BB/9 in 31 1/3 innings. His injury nonetheless thins out the bullpen for the Giants, who have turned to Triple-A right-hander Mike Broadway.
  • Giancarlo Stanton believes he’s about 10 days away from returning to the lineup, writes MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, meaning he’d tentatively come off the disabled list on Sept. 4. Stanton has been absent from the Marlins since breaking his hamate bone on June 26 and undergoing surgery two days later.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Utley, Angels, Zobrist, Zimmermann, Giants, Execs

In his latest notes column for FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal looks at the failed attempt to acquire Chase Utley made by both the Angels and Cubs. Anaheim “blew it” by not adding Utley, opines Rosenthal, as the Halos had more playing time to offer than the Dodgers but didn’t pull the trigger on a deal despite only having acquired “complementary hitters” in July. (That seems harsh, as there’s no guarantee that the current iteration of Utley is anything more than a complementary piece himself.) As for the Cubs, they initially showed interest while Utley was still hurt, but Utley wasn’t comfortable being traded while on a rehab assignment, says Rosenthal, so the Phils waited to put him through waivers. By the time he returned, Howie Kendrick had been hurt in L.A., creating a match with the Dodgers.

Some more highlights from the column…

  • As others have noted, the Angels‘ GM opening is a tough sell to prospective candidates because Arte Moreno is more involved than the average owner, and Mike Scioscia has more power than the average manager. One rival general manager described the Angels’ GM role to Rosenthal as such: “You take all of the beatings (from Moreno) and you’ve got no power (due to Scioscia).” Jerry Dipoto resigned from his post this summer due to reported clashes with Scioscia.
  • The Blue Jays tried to trade for Ben Zobrist, but the Athletics‘ asking price was Matt Boyd plus other pieces, Rosenthal hears, which was too steep for GM Alex Anthopoulos. Boyd was ultimately one of three pieces used to acquire David Price from the Tigers.
  • Rosenthal reports that the Giants are likely to pursue right-hander Jordan Zimmermann as they look to bulk up their rotation this offseason. However, he notes that the Wisconsin native may prefer to return to the Midwest. Zimmermann ranked eighth on the most recent edition of MLBTR’s Free Agent Power Rankings, though he’s had a couple of rough starts since then.
  • The Giants may also consider attempting to unload the final year of Angel Pagan‘s contract this winter. Pagan is slated to earn $10MM next season in the final season of a four-year, $40MM contract after playing in just 167 games from 2013-14 and struggling at the plate in 102 games to this point in 2015. San Francisco could use Gregor Blanco in center field in the event that they’re able to move Pagan.
  • The recent trend of teams promoting an assistant GM to GM and a current GM to president (as the White Sox and Giants have done) could continue this offseason as teams try to prevent their top AGMs from departing for GM vacancies elsewhere, Rosenthal writes. The Rangers could promote Thad Levine to GM (and presumably elevate Jon Daniels), for instance, and the Cardinals could promote Mike Girsch (presumably promoting GM John Mozeliak as well). And, should Mark Shapiro end up with the Blue Jays, the Indians could bump Mike Chernoff to GM and make Chris Antonetti president (Cleveland previously did his by moving Shapiro from GM to president and Antonetti from AGM to GM). Levine, Girsch and Chernoff could all attract interest from other teams this winter.