San Francisco Giants Rumors

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

Giants To Sign Draft Picks Logan Webb, Austin Slater

Just a handful of picks from the top 10 rounds of the 2014 draft remain unsigned. Here are the latest signings as we inch toward tomorrow’s 5pm ET deadline…

  • The Giants have signed fourth-rounder Logan Webb and eighth-round pick Austin Slater. MLB.com’s Jim Callis reported the Webb agreement (via Twitter) and a $600K bonus, while Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game USA first tweeted that Slater had agreed to terms. According to Callis, Slater receives a $200K bonus. Webb, a high-school righty out of California, had a slot value of $440,600, and he features a mid-90s fastball. A two-sport star (he was also a quarterback), Webb ranked 214th on Baseball America’s Top 500 list. Slater, meanwhile, ranked 139th on that same list. The Stanford outfielder has good speed and gap power, and his bonus was about $31K over slot.
  • As Callis tweets, there are now just nine picks from the top 10 rounds that remain unsigned. Of particular note are first-rounders Brady Aiken (Astros), Sean Newcomb (Angels) and Erick Fedde (Nationals). Newcomb, however, is said to be nearing a deal.

Minor Moves: Mitch Lively, Hector Gimenez, Ryan Verdugo

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • Righty Mitch Lively has opted out of his contract with the Giants and inked a minor league deal with the Nationals, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (Twitter links). He can opt out of his new contract on September 1, Cotillo adds. The 28-year-old had spent virtually all of his career in San Francisco, though he has yet to make a big league appearance. He began working as a starter last year after six years throwing exclusively from the pen. At Triple-A this season, Lively owns a 5.08 ERA through 90 1/3 frames (including 15 starts and seven relief appearances), with 8.0 K/9 against 4.2 BB/9.
  • The Brewers have signed catcher Hector Gimenez after his recent release by the Blue Jays, tweets Cotillo. The 31-year-old switch-hitter has seen only limited MLB action, but has been fairly productive in the upper minors in recent years. That has not held in 2014, however: in 127 plate appearances with Jays and White Sox affiliates, he owns a .177/.260/.292 triple-slash.
  • The Red Sox have acquired lefty Ryan Verdugo from the Royals in exchange for cash considerations, Kansas City announced on Twitter. The 27-year-old has only one MLB start under his belt — it did not go well — and has spent most of the last four seasons in the upper minors. Through 46 2/3 frames over 9 starts this year, he owns a 4.24 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.

Bowden On Price, Hamels, Byrd, Angels, A’s, Reds, More

ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden (Insider subscription required and recommended) offers a bounty of information on the trade market as we draw to within two weeks of the deadline. While you’ll want to give the piece a full read, here are some of the many highlights:

  • The Rays are in no hurry to deal ace David Price, and some possible trade partners increasingly believe that he will not change hands before the deadline. The club still wants to see if a post-season run remains possible; though the club sits 9.5 games back at the break, the division does still look somewhat vulnerable. If Tampa does look to move Price, arguably the best potential trade chip in baseball, it will demand more in return than the Cubs received for Jeff Samardzija — who, you may recall, was the key piece in a package that brought back one of the game’s elite prospects in Addison Russell. Needless to say, Price is a rare commodity, especially given his additional season of control, and his potential absence from the market (combined with the A’s early strike for two other top starters) could have interesting repercussions.
  • One player whose trade attention would potentially rise if Price stays put is Cole Hamels of the Phillies, who of course has plenty of value regardless. Bowden says that GMs around the league get the sense that Philadelphia will be very hesitant to move their star lefty, however. (Fellow top southpaw Cliff Lee, meanwhile, looks more and more a potential August trade piece.)
  • Ultimately, while the Phillies will not conduct a true fire sale, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has indicated through conversations with his peers that the club is prepared to sell. Outfielder Marlon Byrd is the most likely to go, says Bowden, though his contract presents some complications. While the Mariners are interested in him, Bowden says that the recent free agent signee will ask that the club guarantee his $8MM option for 2016, which Seattle is not currently willing to do. The Royals could also make sense as a partner, but also appear on Byrd’s four-team no-trade list and do not want to take on that level of mid-term commitment. It would appear that Byrd’s representatives at ACES advised their client well in selecting the relatively paltry number of teams to which he could refuse a trade.
  • Angels owner Arte Moreno has enabled GM Jerry Dipoto to be aggressive in trade talks, says Bowden. In addition to Huston Street and Ian Kennedy (read more on them here), the Halos have asked the Padres about righty Tyson Ross, though the Super Two hurler is unlikely to be moved. Indeed, now in the midst of his second consecutive season of high-end production, the 27-year-old starter (and his three remaining years of control) would require a significant return.
  • The Athletics remain aggressive on the second base market, with GM Billy Beane also said to be exploring more creative means of improving his club. Oakland is not inclined to deal away shortstop prospect Daniel Robertson after moving their top prospect, says Bowden, with the club’s internal evaluators believing that he could have as much future value as the more-hyped Russell.
  • The Reds are still looking to add a hitter, with Ben Zobrist of the Rays making a perfect match on paper given his positional flexibility and the club’s current injury situation. (Of course, the same could be said of several other clubs.) With Josh Willingham of the Twins set to hit free agency, he has also been looked at by Cincinnati.
  • Bowden provides several other interesting notes. Among them: the Braves have canvassed the market for a southpaw reliever and could be interested in James Russell of the Cubs and Oliver Perez of the Diamondbacks. The Dodgers will likely add a starter. The Cardinals are planning to scout Twins‘ catcher Kurt Suzuki as they assess things behind the plate. And the Giants remain interested in a second base addition in the event that Marco Scutaro cannot stay healthy and productive.


Minor Moves: Clint Robinson, John Buck, Brandon Hicks

Here are today’s minor moves and outright assignments from around the league…

  • The Dodgers have outrighted first baseman Clint Robinson after designating him on Thursday, according to the PCL transactions page. In the midst of a highly productive minor league campaign (.309/.402/.523 with 14 home runs), the 29-year-old was able to pick up his first three big league hits during a brief stint with the big club.
  • Catcher John Buck was released today by the Mariners, the club announced. Buck was recently designated for assignment after struggling to a .226/.293/.286 line in his first 92 plate appearances with Seattle. He signed a one-year, $1MM deal to join the club over the offseason.
  • The Giants announced that Brandon Hicks has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Fresno. Hicks was designated for assignment upon Marco Scutaro‘s activation from the DL. While he hit just .162 in 242 trips to the plate, Hicks showed plate discipline (13.2 percent walk rate) and some pop (eight homers) in his time with the Major League club.

Giants Agree To Terms With Second & Third-Round Picks

4:31pm: The Giants have also inked third-rounder Dylan Davis for a $650K bonus, tweets Jim Callis of MLB.com. That lands just over the $622,300 slot allocation that came with the 87th pick.

The Oregon State outfielder was rated 74th on MLB.com’s list, 77th on that of ESPN.com’s Keith Law, and 93rd by Baseball America. In addition to his power bat, Davis also owns a mid-90s fastball.

11:32am: The Giants and second-round pick Aramis Garcia, reports Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game USA (on Twitter). The catcher from FIU will receive a $1.1MM signing bonus, which is slightly above the slot value for the No. 52 overall selection ($1,066,900).

Garcia ranked 74th on Baseball America’s list of the Top 500 draft prospects, and he ranked 78th on the Top 200 compiled by Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo over at MLB.com. Garcia’s bat draws more praise than his glove from both scouting reports, with BA noting that he profiles as an offense-first catcher with a good approach to all fields. Callis and Mayo note that while he currently has more of a line-drive stroke, some feel that he can grow into more power as his lean, 6’2″, 200-pound frame fills out a bit more. Both outlets note that he has an average throwing arm but will need some work on his footwork and blocking skills.

Garcia’s Junior season at FIU was very impressive from a statistical standpoint, as he batted .368/.442/.626 with eight homers, 14 doubles and two triples. He caught 27 percent of opposing base stealers.


Latest On Huston Street And Closer Market

With his club sitting 12 games back in the NL West at the All-Star break, Padres closer Huston Street certainly looks to be a prime trade candidate. The 30-year-old righty owns a 1.09 ERA through 33 games and 33 frames on the year, with a sparkling 9.3 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9. This is his third straight season of sub-3.00 ERA work. Street is playing on a $7MM salary for 2014, and can be controlled for $7MM next season via club option.

Here’s the latest news on Street and the rest of the closer market:

  • Street expects to be dealt, he tells Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link). The club has approached him to discuss that possibility, he adds.
  • San Diego has had enough discussions regarding Street that a deal does indeed appear likely, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The club is, however, somewhat hesitant to part with both Street and set-up man Joaquin Benoit, Heyman adds.
  • The Angels are one club looking at Street, reports Heyman. The club’s interest was reported yesterday by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Los Angeles has also considered Jonathan Papelbon of the Phillies, but his contract is an obvious turn-off. (On the other hand, of course, he would presumably require less of a prospect return to acquire.)
  • Also weighing a move on Street are the Pirates, says Heyman. The Orioles and Giants have been mentioned by sources as other speculative possibilities. But Heyman says that those clubs appear more likely to prioritize rotation help.
  • Though the Tigers have been mentioned as a team that could conceivably be interested in late-inning relief help, Heyman says that Detroit has not indicated interest in bringing in an option to challenge or supplant Joe Nathan.

Quick Hits: Soriano, Indians, Price, Smith

Rafael Soriano needs 32 more games finished to cause his $14MM club option to vest, but the Nationals closer says that vesting option or not, he wants to return to Washington in 2015, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reports.  Soriano would need to get up to the 62-finish mark (a career high) to make it, though with the Nats in a tight pennant race, they’ll undoubtedly need their closer as much as possible down the stretch.

Here’s some more news and notes from around baseball…

  • Scouts for the Indians have been told to focus their attention on Rays minor leaguers, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo reports, and Cotillo wonders if this could suggest that Cleveland is revisiting talks for David Price.  Cleveland and Tampa discussed a Price trade during the offseason, as Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported, that involved Carlos Santana and Danny Salazar going to the Rays. (Tampa Bay also had interest in Francisco Lindor but the Indians consider Lindor virtually untouchable in any trade.)  A new trade package, Cotillo speculates, could be Santana/Salazar for Price and a couple of Rays prospects, hence the Tribe’s interest in scouting Tampa’s farm system.
  • Also from Cotillo, the Angels made the same three-year, $15.75MM offer to both Joe Smith and Edward Mujica this past offseason and told both pitchers that the contract would go to whichever accepted first.  Smith took the deal first and is enjoying a strong season, even moving into the Halos’ closing job.  Mujica, meanwhile, signed a two-year, $9.5MM deal with the Red Sox and has struggled to a 5.45 ERA in 34 2/3 IP.
  • The Giants are still without agreements for five of their top 10 draft picks, a situation Cotillo believes could be due to the club devoting their time and draft pool resources to signing first-rounder Tyler Beede, who couldn’t negotiate until after the College World Series.
  • Despite the number of recent stars to come out of Cuba, teams are still relying on very little or no scouting information when signing these players, Danny Knobler writes for Bleacher Report.  Knobler’s piece explores the future of the Cuban talent pipeline while also delving into the limited data the White Sox and Dodgers, respectively, had when signing Jose Abreu and Yasiel Puig to major contracts.
  • While the Royals‘ farm system is still considered strong, it is short on prospects ready to help at the Major League level, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star writes.  Thanks to a few thin drafts, the prospect package sent to Tampa Bay in the James Shields trade and the fact that many of their top prospects of recent years are already in the bigs, “between Omaha and their [Double-A] club, there’s nobody that looks like they’re going to jump up soon as a significant piece,” an AL executive said.
    Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/mlb/kansas-city-royals/article719772.html#storylink=cpy

AL East Notes: Price, Zobrist, Lackey, Lester

David Price is trying to just focus on pitching amidst the many trade rumors surrounding him, and the Rays ace admitted to being a bit nervous when he was recently summoned from a pre-start hot tub soak to Joe Maddon’s office.  Price told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he was wondering if the long-rumored deal had finally come, but upon arriving at Maddon’s office, the skipper merely wanted to congratulate Price on making the All-Star team.  Topkin’s piece quotes Price and several other Rays on how everyone is handling all the trade buzz surrounding the star left-hander.

Here’s some more news from around the AL East…

  • The Giants are considered to be the team most interested in Ben Zobrist, Marc Topkin reports, with the Reds and Mariners among other teams also intrigued by the 33-year-old.  Zobrist would help the Giants and Reds at second base while the versatile 33-year-old would fit in Seattle as a shortstop or right fielder since Robinson Cano has the keystone locked up for the M’s.
  • The Red Sox have over $72MM coming off the books this offseason and will have lots of payroll flexibility to get the team back in contention, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes.  While the Sox seem adverse to signing veteran free agents to major contracts, there’s still plenty of payroll space for moves like re-signing Jon Lester.  The Sox are still committed to their young prospect base, though Cafardo notes that the club could trade from this minor depth to acquire a more expensive proven Major Leaguer.
  • John Lackey worries that the negotiations between Lester and the Red Sox have resembled his own extension talks with the Angels, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald writes.  Lackey and the Halos tabled talks during Spring Training of Lackey’s final contract year in 2009 and then the Angels were outbid on the open market by the Sox.  Now, Boston could be the ones who lose their ace due to another aggressive bidder if Lester ends up testing free agency.  “(The Red Sox) messed up in spring training for sure. The price of gas is going up every time (Lester) goes out there,” Lackey said.
  • Lackey also didn’t say whether he will approach the Red Sox about an extension, given that he’s under contract for a league minimum salary in 2015.  “I haven’t even thought that far ahead. I’m just worried about pitching right now, and we’ll see what happens at the end of the year,” the righty said.
  • Derek Jeter‘s retirement marks the end of the “Core Four” era for the Yankees, and ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand notes just how unlikely and special it was for the franchise to reach the postseason from every year, save one, from 1995-2012.

Giants Designate Brandon Hicks For Assignment

The Giants have designated infielder Brandon Hicks for assignment, the club announced (via Twitter). His roster spot will go to Marco Scutaro, who will be activated off the DL for his first action of the year.

Hicks joined the club as a minor league free agent in the offseason. The 28-year-old journeyman, who has played for four organizations in the last four years, saw far and away his most extensive playing time at the big league level with the Giants this year. With Scutaro out, Hicks started 59 games for San Francisco at second base. Now, with Scutaro returning, he will either take up an assignment in the Giants’ minor league system or find another new home.

Hicks has already made 242 trips to the plate this year after having just 98 plate appearances to his name entering the season. Though his .162/.280/.319 triple-slash was obviously not getting the job done, Hicks did manage to swat eight home runs.


Giants Sign Tyler Beede

FRIDAY: The Giants have officially announced Beede’s signing via press release.

TUESDAY: Mayo clarifies that Beede actually received the slot value of $2,613,200 (Twitter link). The additional $36,800 that he originally reported was included to go towards Beede’s completion of his college education. That money, therefore, does not count toward the Giants’ bonus pool.

MONDAY: The Giants have agreed to terms with first-round pick Tyler Beede, reports MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo (on Twitter). The Vanderbilt right-hander will receive a signing bonus of $2.65MM, which is slightly higher than the $2,613,200 slot value for the No. 14 overall selection.

Tyler Beede

Beede was drafted in the first round by the Blue Jays back in the 2011 draft but turned down a $2.4MM bonus to attend Vanderbilt rather than begin his pro career out of high school. Mayo and MLB.com colleague Jim Callis ranked Beede 12th among draft prospects, while he ranked 15th on Baseball America’s Top 500 list and 15th on the Top 100 of ESPN’s Keith Law as well.

Mayo and Callis note that Beede has three above-average pitches, with a fastball that sits 92-94 mph and touches 97 mph. However, Beede also has had some well-documented command issues in the past and doesn’t always repeat his delivery. BA notes that his changeup is his best secondary pitch, but calls his 80-81 mph curveball a plus pitch as well, noting that Beede throws it harder than most other curveballs in this year’s draft class. Law offers a similar take — excellent stuff with command issues and enough problems with his delivery that some have wondered if he has some structural damage in his shoulder.

Beede’s stuff is better than his numbers with Vanderbilt this year; the right-hander posted a 4.05 ERA with 116 strikeouts and 53 walks in 113 1/3 innings. He also hit 18 batters and uncorked eight wild pitches, though he he did hold opposing hitters to a meager .223 batting average.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.