San Francisco Giants Rumors

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

Giants Designate Casey McGehee For Assignment

The Giants announced this morning that Casey McGehee has been designated for assignment in order to clear space on the 40-man roster for infielder Ehire Adrianza, whose contract has been purchased from Triple-A.

There was some confusion surrounding McGehee’s first removal from the roster this year. The Giants announced that he’d been designated for assignment, but McGehee had merely been designated off the 25-man roster in order to be optioned to Triple-A. As a player with five-plus years of big league service, he had the right to refuse the option, but he accepted and remained on the 40-man roster.

Today, the Giants explicitly stated in the announcement that McGehee has been removed from the 40-man roster, making this a standard DFA in which the team will now have 10 days to trade McGehee, release or attempt to outright McGehee. (He could refuse an outright assignment without forfeiting his 2015 salary due to service time.)

McGehee was acquired from the Marlins this offseason in a trade that sent Luis Castillo and Kendry Flores to Miami. San Francisco had hoped that McGehee would produce something similar to the .285/.355/.357 batting line he posted in his return to the Majors last season, helping in part to offset the loss of former franchise cornerstone Pablo Sandoval.

That hasn’t been the case, however, as McGehee has struggled to a .213/.275/.299 batting line in 138 plate appearances this season. He did hit well in his initial demotion to Triple-A, slashing .357/.391/.571 with two homers in 46 plate appearances, though, and he’s batted 5-for-17 with a pair of doubles and three walks since rejoining the big league club.

McGehee, though, didn’t receive a crack at regular playing time upon being brought back from Triple-A due to the strong play of Matt Duffy at the hot corner. Duffy has slashed .303/.349/.491 this season, usurping McGehee as the everyday third baseman and leaving him without a clear path to playing time as a member of the Giants.

This offseason, McGehee avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $4.8MM contract. He’s still owed $2.54MM of that salary, so it seems unlikely that a team would claim him off waivers and take on the remainder of that deal. However, the Giants will have the ability to eat some cash in a potential trade of McGehee, and teams with interest could also simply wait to see if McGehee ends up a free agent, at which point he could be signed for the pro-rated version of the league minimum. (That portion of his salary would then come off the Giants’ books, though they’d still be responsible for the lion’s share of his remaining contract.)


Quick Hits: Heyward, Segura, Giants, Joseph

Jason Heyward got off to a slow start with the Cardinals but he posted a .960 OPS and five home runs over 100 plate appearances from May 27 to June 27.  As Heyward tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the improvement came in no small part due to intensive work on his swing, and it seems like things are finally clicking for the right fielder.  If Heyward can keep this hot hitting going throughout the season, it will send his free agent value soaring; MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes has speculated that if Heyward could land a $200MM contract if he delivers a big season and proves he can be a consistent force at the plate.  Here’s some more from around baseball as we head into the new week…

  • The Brewers haven’t told inquiring clubs that they’re not trading Jean Segura, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes, but the team would clearly want a lot in return for the shortstop.  Haudricourt ranks Milwaukee’s roster in terms of likely trade targets, and the only seeming untouchables being Jonathan Lucroy and young arms like Wily Peralta, Mike Fiers, Jimmy Nelson and others.
  • Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle believes that the Giants‘ top priorities heading into trade season are fixing the bench, improving the outfield if Hunter Pence and Nori Aoki have longer-term injuries, and addressing the rotation.  He adds that while it seems like San Francisco needs to dabble in the market for a front of the rotation starter, it might be too tall of an order.  Over the weekend, Giants GM Bobby Evans acknowledged that it could be hard to pull off a deal for a high-end starter given the team’s glut of pitchers with limited trade value.
  • Phillies prospect Tommy Joseph is being shifted from catcher to first base, CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury reports.  Multiple concussions and a wrist injury limited Joseph to just 63 total games in 2013-14, and after suffering another concussion this season, the decision was made to end Joseph’s catching career for the sake of his health.  The Giants drafted Joseph in the second round of the 2009 draft and he came to Philadelphia as part of the Hunter Pence trade package.
  • The Padres may “take a more measured approach” to their spending when the July 2 international market opens, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes.  The Padres are already scouting the 2016-17 international class and may be looking to spend more heavily next year when several big-market teams will be under bonus penalties and out of the market for the top prospects.

Giants GM Downplays Trade Possibilities

Like every other contending club this time of year, the Giants could probably use an additional piece or two.  Giants GM Bobby Evans will be on the phone quite a bit over the next four weeks and change, but he’s not exceptionally trigger happy either.  Citing the expected returns of outfielders Hunter Pence and Nori Aoki and pitchers Matt Cain and Jake Peavy, Evans explained that there might not be enough room to really make an addition.

We have to be open,” Evans said, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. “That’s true in the market in general. Our primary focus is depth. You can add depth in the outfield, but if you’re bringing in a big everyday guy, you’re going to be jammed up here. That may not be what you want. You’ve got to be careful what you do.”

Speaking specifically about the team’s pitching situation, Evans said that it’d be hard to find space for an additional arm given that the team has seven capable starters.  With Peavy and Cain back in the fold, both Tim Lincecum and Tim Hudson are likely to be bumped from the rotation.  It sounds like Evans is hoping that move alone will help bolster San Francisco’s starting five.  If Cain and Peavy are not pitching up to snuff, however, the Giants still have more than four weeks to change their minds.

The Giants are 41-35 and 1.5 games back of the first place Dodgers heading into today’s contest against the Rockies.



Cafardo On Buchholz, Samardzija, Cueto, Hamels

In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe pit Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts against Tigers shorstop Jose Iglesias.  Of course, Boston once had both, but Iglesias was shipped out in 2013 in a three-team deal that brought Jake Peavy to Fenway.  Bogaerts offers more potential as a hitter, but Iglesias clearly has the superior glove.  That difference in the field never made Bogaerts doubt himself, however.

No, that’s just a guy who’s really gifted beyond anyone else,” Bogaerts said. “I just paid attention to trying to get better. I never compared myself to him because you can’t compare anyone to him. He’s a great defensive player and flashy.”

More from today’s column..

  • The same teams that are pursuing Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz are going after White Sox hurler Jeff Samardzija.  That list of teams includes the Royals, Tigers, Twins, Blue Jays, Yankees, Cardinals, Orioles, Angels, and Dodgers, according to Cafardo.  Late last week, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Astros are also interested in Samardzija.  Meanwhile, at this time, the Red Sox reportedly are not interested in moving Buchholz.
  • The Astros are a team to watch in July as they could get very aggressive in their pursuit of a starter.  Cafardo hears that the Astros have been evaluating Reds pitchers Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake quite a bit.  Cole Hamels obviously stands as one of the biggest prizes out there, but Cafardo feels he likely wouldn’t sign off on a trade to Houston.  Over the weekend, Hamels indicated that he would be “open-minded” to being traded to any team.
  • Giants GM Bobby Evans told Cafardo that his club is out of the starting pitching market for now thanks to the upcoming returns of Matt Cain and Jake Peavy.
  • The Phillies would like to sell off their pieces little by little rather than make a ton of deals right at the deadline.  However, Cafardo hears that teams aren’t coming to the table with actual offers yet, leaving the Phillies frustrated.
  • Baseball execs who spoke with Cafardo say the Mets are still the best match for Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.  A package for Tulo could start with left-hander Steven Matz, who makes his big league debut today.
  • Even at his advanced age, one NL evaluator feels that Phillies veteran Carlos Ruiz is still “a better option than “more than 50 percent of the catchers in the league.”
  • Some teams are concerned with Hamels’ poor performance in interleague play while others see it just as a fluky thing.  Hamels has a career 4.73 ERA across 31 interleague starts.

Minor Moves: Mazzaro, Gillespie, Brigham, Carson

Here are today’s minor moves from around the game.

  • The Marlins have outrighted righty reliever Vin Mazzaro, according to MLB.com’s transactions page. Mazzaro had recently been designated for assignment. It’s not clear whether he’ll accept the outright. He pitched 12 innings for the Marlins this season, posting a 3.75 ERA with six strikeouts and six walks. Mazzaro has pitched in the big leagues in all of the last seven seasons, but in the past two years he’s spent most of his time in the minors. He’s pitched 20 innings with Triple-A New Orleans this season, with a 3.15 ERA, 9.9 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9
  • The Marlins have announced that they’ve selected the contract of outfielder Cole Gillespie, who will take Giancarlo Stanton‘s place on the active roster as he heads to the disabled list with a hamate fracture. The 31-year-old Gillespie has played for the Diamondbacks, Giants, Cubs, Mariners and Blue Jays in a big-league career that has spanned small parts of four seasons. He was hitting .291/.356/.360 in 281 plate appearances for Triple-A New Orleans.
  • The Braves have selected righty Jake Brigham‘s contract, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman tweets that the Braves haven’t made a corresponding move but that that could depend on whether the Braves’ game today in Pittsburgh is postponed due to rain. Williams Perez hurt his foot in yesterday’s game and could be placed on the disabled list, but if the Braves have to play a doubleheader tomorrow, Brigham could simply be used as the 26th man. The 27-year-old Brigham has a combined 3.13 ERA, 7.0 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 at Double-A and Triple-A this season. He has never pitched in the big leagues.
  • The Athletics have released outfielders Matt Carson and Kent Matthes, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy tweets. The 33-year-old Carson hit .209/.296/.336 for Triple-A Nashville after the A’s acquired him from the Dodgers last month. The 28-year-old Matthes was once a highly regarded prospect in the Rockies system, but he also struggled for Nashville in 2015, hitting .233/.294/.358 in 239 plate appearances after also hitting poorly at the Triple-A level last year.
  • The Red Sox have released catcher/first baseman Luke Montz, Bill Koch of the Providence Journal tweets. The 31-year-old was hitting .167/.270/.333 for Triple-A Pawtucket. He appeared briefly for the Nationals in 2008 and the Athletics in 2013 and has a .163/.250/.347 in his very brief big-league career.

Giants Sign Phil Bickford

SATURDAY: The Giants have officially announced the signing.

FRIDAY: The Giants have agreed to an at-slot, $2,333,800 bonus with first-rounder Phil Bickford, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com reports on Twitter. The righty was taken 18th overall.

Bickford previously went unsigned by the Blue Jays as the tenth overall selection back in 2013. He spent a year with Cal State Fullerton, but then moved to the Community College of Southern Nevada to advance his draft eligibility by a season.

The right-hander was rated as high as 21st among prospects heading into the draft, with MLB.com placing that mark on him. Mayo & Co. were impressed with Bickford’s big fastball, which runs into the upper nineties in a relief capacity, along with his improving slider.

While MLB.com likes Bickford to stick as a starter, ESPN.com’s Keith Law noted that some scouts who saw him recently believe he’s a pen arm in the long run. The issue seems to be one of consistency and of developing a third pitch, as Bickford has a lot of work left on his changeup. Law ranked Bickford 38th on his board and called him “the most volatile prospect in the draft,” with ambiguous health and personality issues also factoring in.

Obviously, San Francisco felt comfortable taking a chance on Bickford’s significant upside. As Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area notes on Twitter, Bickford becomes the last of the club’s first dozen picks to agree to terms.


West Notes: Martin, Harrison, Bradley, Giants

Here’s the latest from the game’s western divisions:

  • Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin may be fighting for his roster spot over the next week, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes. The speedy outfielder is sporting a .270 OBP on the year, and with Delino DeShields and Josh Hamilton set to return before long, the club may soon have viable replacements in center. Martin can still be optioned, so Texas can give him some time in the minors to work things out if it wishes.
  • The Rangers also have new options in the rotation with Matt Harrison seemingly nearing readiness for a big league start, Grant further writes. A six-man rotation is possible, says manager Jeff Banister, as is the potential of resting one of the current rotation members with a DL stint. Regardless of the team’s course of action, it’s remarkable that we’re at this point, as it once seemed that Harrison might never pitch again.
  • Diamondbacks hurler Archie Bradley is headed for a visit with Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on his balky right shoulder, Nick Piecoro reports (Twitter links). The club’s physician found only tendinitis, but Bradley continued to feel discomfort in his latest rehab outing. It’s far too soon to speculate, of course, but at a minimum it seems it’ll be a while longer until Arizona gets Bradley back into its rotation.
  • The Giants are working hard on the July 2 market, Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs tweets. San Francisco is “trying hard” to land Bahamian shortstop Lucius Fox and may be the single team most closely pursuing Eddy Julio Martinez, says McDaniel. But the sense in the industry is still that the Dodgers will get both players, he adds.

NL Notes: Evans, Cardinals, Flores, Utley

Giants GM Bobby Evans has succeeded with subtly bold action, as Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News writes in an interesting feature on the recently promoted executive. If you’re interested in learning how exactly one can make it to the top echelons of baseball decisionmaking without a professional playing career or other “in” to get you there, this is essential reading. Now 46, Evans got his start with an internship, worked in the commissioner’s office, and then jumped on an opportunity to join the San Francisco organization as a minor league administrative assistant. “He was very eager, obviously an intelligent kid, he had the intern experience in Boston and the commissioner’s office, and quite frankly, he was single and wide-eyed and willing to put the hours in,” said former Giants GM and current executive VP of operations Brian Sabean of Evans’s start with the club.  “That’s half the battle. You have to be willing to punch the clock, and put up with the demands.” 21 years and a lot of hard work later, Evans was given the general manager’s chair as Sabean moved to a more senior post.

Here’s more from the National League:

  • As it investigates Cardinals employees’ improper access of the Astros‘ computer system, the FBI is still working to determine precisely which personnel were responsible for the breach, Michael Schmidt of the New York Times reports. Per the report, the focus is on “a small group of Cardinals employees who specialize in statistical analysis and computer programming and had access to a computer in a residence” in Jupiter, Florida last spring. Given the potential criminal ramifications, several individuals under investigation have obtained representation, which necessarily constrains the fact-finding process. It appears that the intrusion came from a commonly-used computer, as the report indicates that a significant part of the puzzle involves the questions of when and for how long various Cardinals employees were utilizing a single machine around the time that the Astros’ databases were accessed.
  • Though a lawsuit against the Cardinals by the Astros is not likely given the league rules barring such an action, and fines are capped at $2MM, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes that the Cards could still face significant financial exposure. Namely, commissioner Rob Manfred could function as an arbitrator to award damages should Houston seek to prove that it suffered harm due to the actions of the St. Louis employees (and the public exposure of the information).
  • The Mets shortstop saga may have a new chapter, as the team appears likely to move Wilmer Flores to second base when Daniel Murphy is activated from the DL, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports. In that scenario, Murphy would play third (in place of David Wright), while Ruben Tejada would slide in at short for at least some time with Dilson Herrera moving to the bench. Hypothetically, of course, the club could seek an outside addition to take over for Flores while keeping his bat in the lineup at second. But it’s far from clear whether that is a realistic or wise option for the New York front office, particularly with the team sliding of late.
  • Chase Utley‘s DL stint for a nagging ankle injury came as something of a surprise to Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg, Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News reports“In my communication with Chase throughout the season about playing he’s always been up and willing to go and no real reports of anything holding him back, so I was a little bit surprised by it in some regards,” Sandberg said. The skipper’s reaction is at least potentially notable because of the delicate situation that seems to be playing itself out in Philly. Sandberg had increasingly turned to Cesar Hernandez at second, but it has remained unclear what strategic direction the organization was taking with Utley, one of the faces of the team’s last great run. The veteran is already halfway (249/500 plate appearances) to triggering a $15MM vesting clause for next year. Given his recent injury history and marked production downturn this year, it would obviously behoove the club to avoid that obligation, but doing so will likely require some deft handling.

Giants Could Pursue Outfield Acquisition

In the wake of Nori Aoki‘s injury, the Giants have “added outfielder to [the team’s] list of trade targets,” Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports on Twitter. No outside moves are imminent, however, and the club has announced that Travis Ishikawa will be recalled to take Aoki’s roster spot for the time being.

It remains unknown how long Aoki will miss, and that may not be clear until he is reevaluated in about two weeks. But the injury came at an inopportune time: Aoki has been excellent this year, and the club is still waiting for Hunter Pence to return to full health.

Ishikawa, of course, played an important role late in the year for last year’s club, and the Giants saw enough there to tender him a contract through arbitration (ultimately agreeing on a $1.1MM salary). He was ultimately outrighted after missing the early part of the season with a back injury. Over 149 plate appearances at the Triple-A level this year, Ishikawa has slashed .271/.342/.421 with four home runs.

San Francisco has some other options on the big league roster to flank Angel Pagan. Minor league signee Justin Maxwell has cooled after a nice start, but has already seen plenty of action. And Gregor Blanco is carrying a nice .283/.361/.417 line in his first 144 turns at bat on the season. Then, there’s first baseman Brandon Belt, who has recently spent a few games in left.

All said, it does not appear that the San Francisco front office will or must have much urgency, at least unless more serious news comes down on Pence and/or Aoki. Given the uncertainty in those players’ timelines, it would be foolish to speculate at this point as to what kind of acquisition (if any) the team could conceivably pursue this July. Certainly, a quick and impactful trade seems rather unlikely.


Nori Aoki Headed To DL With Fractured Fibula

The Giants received further poor luck on the injury front last night, as X-rays revealed a fracture in left fielder Nori Aoki‘s right fibula, writes Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. An exact timeline for Aoki’s return is not yet clear, but he’ll head to the 15-day disabled list and be in a cast for two weeks before being re-evaluated.

Aoki’s injury actually occurred on Saturday night in Los Angeles when Aoki was hit by a pitch from Dodgers righty Carlos Frias, but initial tests didn’t reveal the fracture. Aoki had been in the lineup as of Tuesday afternoon, having tested the leg by running some sprints, but the pain in his leg worsened after that and he was sent in for new X-rays, Schulman writes.

The loss of Aoki is a difficult one for the Giants, as the 33-year-old has been outstanding. The one-year, $4.7MM contract (plus a club option) that Aoki signed this winter looks to be one of the best free agent pickups in all of baseball, as he’s hitting .317/.383/.385 with a pair of homers, 12 steals and strong left field defense.

Between Aoki’s injury and the fact that Hunter Pence is on the disabled list for a second time this season, this time due to tendinitis in his left wrist, the Giants are without their starting corner outfielders and two of their more productive all-around hitters. Justin Maxwell and Gregor Blanco could now be pressed into everyday corner outfield duty in San Francisco, although Schulman discusses a number of scenarios to replace Aoki’s bat. One interesting possibility would be deploying Brandon Belt in left field, with Buster Posey shifting to first base and Andrew Susac handling everyday catching duties. As far as replacing Aoki on the 25-man roster, Triple-A outfielder Jarrett Parker, who made his big league debut earlier this season, is an option, Schulman writes. Double-A outfielder Mac Williamson is a longer shot, he adds.