San Francisco Giants Rumors

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

Cardinals Claim Gary Brown

The Cardinals have claimed outfielder Gary Brown off waivers from the Giants, tweets Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area. He was designated for assignment earlier this week.

Brown is a former first-round pick and top 100 prospect whose career has yet to take off as many expected. Brown surfaced in the Majors for the first time in 2014, collecting three hits in seven at-bats. A center fielder, Brown has batted .277/.342/.415 in parts of five Minor League seasons.


Giants Agree To Extend Brian Sabean, Bruce Bochy

8:27pm: Bochy and Sabean have agreed to the extensions and they should be announced tomorrow, Heyman reports (Twitter link).  Slightly amending his earlier tweet, Heyman reports that the extensions will run through “at least” the 2018 season.

8:24pm: The extensions for Bochy and Sabean would run through the 2018 season, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets.  Sabean’s deal could also involve a promotion, as CSNBayArea.com’s Alex Pavlovic reports that he and the Giants have discussed making Sabean the organization’s president of baseball operations.  Longtime assistant GM Bobby Evans would then become San Francisco’s new general manager.

9:15am: The Giants are “getting close” to long-term deals for GM Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy, Bob Nightengale reports in the midst of a longer piece addressing the defending World Series champions. The pair is already under contract through 2016, pursuant to extensions reached back in March of 2013.

It appears, then, that the San Francisco brain trust is not going anywhere soon regardless whether new contracts can be agreed upon. But it is hard to fault the idea of doubling down on a Sabean-Bochy tandem that has delivered three titles in five years, especially after watching other clubs lure rival leaders with big paydays this past offseason.

As Nightengale notes, the recent deals signed by executive Andrew Friedman and skipper Joe Maddon have helped raise the bar in their respective markets. Of course, Bochy, at least, was already said to be paid at or near the $5MM annual rate that Maddon reportedly landed over five years.

As one of the game’s more willing spenders, the Giants might be expected to enjoy somewhat more success than other organizations. And Sabean has not always drawn wide plaudits for his moves, taken individually. But the results speak for themselves: the organization has reeled off winning seasons in five of six years while enjoying entirely unmatched success in the playoff format, all while delivering a variety of popular, star players to a fan base that has turned out consistently.


Minor Moves: Axelrod, Oliver, Blackley, Ledezma

Here are today’s minor transactions from around baseball, with the latest moves at the top of the post…

  • The Reds outrighted right-hander Dylan Axelrod off their 40-man roster and down to Triple-A, according to the team’s official transactions page.  This move will help free up space for one of the several veterans Cincinnati is looking to add to its 40-man roster.  Axelrod posted a 2.95 ERA in 18 1/3 IP for the Reds last season and a 4.01 ERA in 103 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level in the Reds and White Sox organizations.
  • The Phillies have put Rule 5 Draft pick Andy Oliver on waivers, CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports.  If Oliver clears waivers, Salisbury notes that the Phils could try to fully obtain the lefty’s rights from the Pirates in a trade.  As a Rule 5 Draft player, Oliver must spend the entire season on a 25-man roster or else be offered back to his original club (Pittsburgh).
  • The Giants seem to have released left-hander Travis Blackley, as per the southpaw’s own Twitter page.  Blackley tweeted his thanks to the organization for giving him a chance to pitch this spring (on a minor league deal) and used the past tense in describing the Giants as “a very classy organization that I was proud to play for!”  Blackley posted a 5.23 ERA over 192 2/3 innings spread over four MLB seasons between 2004-13 with the Mariners, Giants, A’s, Astros and Rangers, and he spent the 2014 campaign pitching in Japan.
  • The Twins have released left-hander Wil Ledezma, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports (via Twitter).  Ledezma, 34, signed a minor league deal with the Twins in December and was looking to reach the big leagues for the first time since 2011.
  • The White Sox released outfielder Brian Anderson, CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes reports (via Twitter).  The Sox also parted ways with two more veterans according to their team transactions page, releasing right-hander J.D. Martin and infielder Andy LaRoche.


NL West Notes: Gutierrez, Ethier, Dodgers, Padres

Giants right-hander Juan Gutierrez has elected not to exercise the April 1 opt-out clause in his contract, MLBTR has learned (Twitter links). Gutierrez has been slowed this spring by shoulder inflammation but is healthy now and touched 93 mph the last time he threw. Gutierrez has another opt-out in his contract for June 1 and will, in the meantime, hope to find an opportunity with the big league club. The 31-year-old Gutierrez logged 63 2/3 innings in the Giants’ bullpen last year, posting a 3.96 ERA with 6.2 K/9, a career-best 2.3 BB/9 and a 36.8 percent ground-ball rate, averaging a strong 93.5 mph on his fastball.

Here’s more from the NL West…

  • Andre Ethier was hit on the elbow by a pitch from Carlos Rodon today, but x-rays came back negative, writes ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Mark Saxon. Additionally, he notes that contractual issues surrounding Ethier won’t keep the Dodgers from going with Joc Pederson in center field. Saxon also says that the Dodgers won’t keep Pederson in the Minors to delay his free agency, although his situation is different than that of Kris Bryant, whose demotion to the Minors has caused quite a stir; Pederson already has 28 days of Major League service and would need to spend nearly six weeks in the Minors at this point to give L.A. an extra year of control. Manager Don Mattingly has hinted that Pederson will get the nod, though nothing has been officially announced yet, Saxon adds. “Joc’s kind of checked off all the boxes,” said Mattingly.
  • The Padres gave veteran catcher Wil Nieves a $100K retention bonus rather than adding him to the big league roster or releasing him, but he’s not a lock to be their backup catcher, writes Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. While it may be difficult to find a definitive upgrade outside the organization this close to the regular season, a source tells Lin that the search could go right down to the wire before Sunday’s deadline to set the 25-man roster. An out of options player such as Austin Romine of the Yankees would make some degree of sense, and the Orioles have quite a few experienced catchers, including Steve Clevenger and Ryan Lavarnway. Those names, however, are merely my own speculation.

Giants Designate Gary Brown For Assignment, Add Justin Maxwell To Roster

The Giants have designated outfielder Gary Brown for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for fellow outfielder Justin Maxwell, who has been informed that he made the team, per Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links).

Maxwell, 31, entered the day with a .316/.361/.526 batting line and went 4-for-4. After a pair of solid seasons at the plate in 2012-13, Maxwell received just 45 plate appearances with the 2014 Royals and struggled to a .150/.222/.175 line. Capable of playing all three outfield spots, Maxwell has batted .230/.344/.407 against left-handed pitching throughout his career. Maxwell grew up a Giants fans, Schulman notes, so today’s news is likely particularly exciting for him.

Designating Brown for assignment was likely tough for the Giants, as he’s a former first-round pick and top 100 prospect whose career has yet to take off as many expected. Brown surfaced in the Majors for the first time in 2014, collecting three hits in seven at-bats. A center fielder, Brown has batted .277/.342/.415 in parts of five Minor League seasons.


NL West Notes: Tulowitzki, Maxwell, Padres

Here’s the latest from around the NL West…

  • While Carlos Gonzalez specifically stated that he wanted to stay with the Rockies, Troy Tulowitzki somewhat tellingly only said “I want to win here” when asked by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale if he wanted to stay with the club.  The Rockies discussed Tulowitzki with a few teams this winter (including the Mets), a process that GM Jeff Bridich said the star shortstop was kept fully informed about, even though there wasn’t much to discuss. “We had conversations this winter, and Tulo has an understanding what we’re thinking….We talked to teams, but there really is nothing that came close to being done,” Bridich said.
  • Justin Maxwell can opt out of his minor league deal with the Giants if he isn’t on the club’s Major League roster by Tuesday, March 31, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.  The 31-year-old Maxwell is battling for a reserve outfield job and said he hasn’t decided what his next step will be if he’s told he isn’t making the roster.
  • While the Padres have come up short in high-profile pursuits of Yasmany Tomas, Hector Olivera and Yoan Moncada, that doesn’t mean the club hasn’t been busy on the international signing front.  In a profile of Padres international scouting director Chris Kemp, MLB.com’s Corey Brock reports that the team has signed 12 international players between the ages of 16-19 are close to deals with several others.  Of particular note is right-hander Starlin Cordero, who is already throwing at 94 mph at age 16 and only two months after being converted to pitching from the outfield.
  • Diamondbacks catching prospect Peter O’Brien has played back-to-back games in the outfield, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.  O’Brien was having problems throwing the ball back to the mound in games earlier this month and he since hasn’t been back behind the plate.  Dubbed as the D’Backs’ catcher of the future by GM Dave Stewart and others within the organization, many scouts have questions about O’Brien’s long-term future behind the plate (even aside from his throwing issue).
  • In NL West news from earlier today, Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times discussed the Dodgers with Jeff Todd on the MLBTR Podcast…Jeff also asked MLBTR’s readers to rank the Dodgers‘ many notable offseason moves…I profiled Juan Uribe as a possible trade candidate…the Padres claimed righty Jandel Gustave off waivers from the Royals…the Mets are checking in on both the Rockies and Dodgers as part of their search for relief pitching help.

West Notes: Upton, Cook, Giants, D’Backs, Padres

Padres GM A.J. Preller says that the team does not view outfielder Justin Upton as a mere rental player, as MLB.com’s Barry Bloom reports“We made a big trade for him, and when you do something like that, you always hope you can work something out long term and do something together,” said Preller of Upton. “… That’s why we acquired him. You always want guys like that on your team.” While Preller has already made quite an impression in his first offseason at the helm in San Diego, an extension or free agent signing of Upton would be grander and more committing than any of his other moves. The 27-year-old sits atop the free agent power rankings of MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes, owing in large part to his youth and power output. For now, Preller says the team is focused on letting Upton get comfortable with the organization in the hopes that he will “see the long-term fit.” Upton, meanwhile, says it is too soon to discuss the possibility of a new deal with the Padres. “”I’ve only been here for a month,” he said. “I don’t even want to talk about that.”

Here’s more out of the western divisions:

  • The Athletics have optioned righty Ryan Cook to Triple-A, as MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports. Cook has struggled this spring, but has a well-established track record at the big league level and owns a 2.77 ERA over nearly 200 frames over the last four seasons. It is worth noting that Cook has more at stake than his immediate roster spot: he entered the year with three years and 36 days of service, meaning that a lengthy minor league stint could delay his free agency by a year.
  • Giants GM Brian Sabean addressed the team’s outfield situation today, as Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Angel Pagan‘s back troubles are not cause for the team to go searching for another outfielder, he said, noting also that Hunter Pence is only out for a small portion of the season.
  • The Diamondbacks, in many respects, “appear to see things differently than the rest of the league,” Dave Cameron of Fangraphs writes. That applies to the team’s overall approach to blending statistics and scouting and its assessment of the defensive capabilities of several of its young players, among other things. Cameron cautions not to write off the team’s ultimate ability to compete based on a process that he believes is flawed, citing the Orioles’ somewhat surprising run of success, though he also makes clear that he does not see a promising method being applied in Arizona.
  • The first trade of Preller’s stint with the Padres was not nearly as heralded as his later swaps, as MLB.com’s Corey Brock writes. Lefty Kyle Bartsch was, in fact, the first name added to San Diego’s slate of players under the Preller regime, representing the return on outfielder Reymond Fuentes. The 2013 seventh-round pick probably fit expectations for the new San Diego front office better than the later, splashier additions. “With Fuentes, he was someone who was coming off our roster, so you look for smaller deals and value-type pieces and in Kyle we found someone with three pitches, had success [in the pros], had success in college,” Preller said. “He’s a lefty and that’s always a good thing. That’s an area he fit for us.”

West Notes: Peters, Rollins, Deduno

Hall of Fame baseball writer Nick Peters, who covered the Giants for 47 years, has died, Marcos Breton of the Sacramento Bee writes. Peters was 75. He worked for the Bee, the Oakland Tribune, the Berkeley Gazette and the San Francisco Chronicle, covering a total of nearly 5,000 games. The BBWAA honored him with a Spink Award in 2009. Breton writes that Peters had an especially good relationship with Barry Bonds, who Peters had known from being around the Giants since Bonds was child following his father Bobby and godfather Willie Mays. “Nick was known not only for his writing talent and encyclopedic knowledge of baseball, but also for his mentorship of many young reporters who rose through the ranks of sports journalism,” write the Giants in a statement. “He will be deeply missed by the entire Giants organization and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Lise and the entire Peters family.” Here are more notes from the West divisions.

  • Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins‘ new interview with FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal offers an unusually candid look at what it’s like to change teams. Rollins spent 19 seasons in the Phillies organization before heading to Los Angeles. That involved quite a mental adjustment, as Rollins explains. “It was real tough in the beginning to give in to the LA thing, the Dodger thing, the wearing of blue, being the best organization in pro sports. That’s their belief,” he says. “Now I’m part of that product. But it was tough – 14 years on the other side, learning to . . . I can’t say hate, that’s a strong word . . . but learning to want to beat the brakes off anything with L.A. and Dodger blue in it.”
  • Sam Deduno, who’s out of options, appears to have a good shot at making the Astros‘ roster because he can relieve, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart writes. Deduno is competing with Roberto Hernandez and Asher Wojciechowski for the fifth spot in the Astros’ rotation, but he has a better chance than either of the other two of making the roster because he can head to the bullpen if he doesn’t get the rotation job. The Astros have two bullpen openings. One will likely go to a lefty (perhaps Joe Thatcher), but Deduno could win the other spot.

Latest On Hector Olivera

Here’s the latest on Cuban free agent infielder Hector Olivera, much of it from CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman:

  • Olivera’s new agent, Greg Genske, says he thinks he and his client will reach a deal with his new team “soon.” (Last Wednesday, Genske told Heyman that Olivera would likely sign by the end of what is now last week, so negotiations have already gone on longer than anticipated.)
  • It’s possible there could be a bidding war between the Dodgers and Padres. Those two teams appear to be leading the bidding, although other teams (including the Braves, Athletics and Giants) remain interested. (The Marlins are reportedly out of the bidding.)
  • Olivera is reportedly throwing well, perhaps easing concerns over a report that he could have UCL damage.
  • Olivera will likely agree to a deal by Wednesday, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman tweets.

NL West Notes: Bumgarner, Dodgers, Navarro

The Dodgers weren’t the only NL West team looking at Cuban right-hander Pablo Millan Fernandez, as MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports that the Giants and Padres also had interest.  The Rangers and Red Sox, two of the more aggressive teams on the international signing front in recent years, were also interested in Fernandez, who agreed to an $8MM bonus with Los Angeles yesterday.  Here’s some more from around the NL West…

  • Madison Bumgarner has no plans to approach the Giants about re-negotiating his contract and said he has no regrets over signing his five-year extension, the World Series MVP tells Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News.  In April 2012, Bumgarner signed a deal that, at the time, paid him the highest average annual value of any contract given to a player between 1-2 years of service time.  The five-year, $35MM deal includes a $12MM vesting option for 2018 and a $12MM team option for 2019.  While those options could increase to $16MM based on Cy Young finishes, Bumgarner’s contract has obviously been a major bargain for the Giants.
  • The Brewers were one of a few teams interested in trading for Dodgers infielder Alex Guerrero, though nobody was interested in paying Guerrero the $14MM he’s owed through 2017, ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon reports.  Some teams were staying away from a trade and instead hoping L.A. would just release the Cuban prospect in the wake of his tough 2014 campaign.  A good Spring Training, however, has earned Guerrero a spot on the Opening Day roster and kept him in the Dodgers’ future plans.
  • The Dodgers won’t be considering extensions for Jimmy Rollins, Howie Kendrick or Juan Uribe until at least partway through the season, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes.  All three veteran infielders are entering their walk years, but L.A. can afford to wait given the presence of Guerrero and Corey Seager, not to mention the possible signing of Hector Olivera.  For his part, Uribe says he wants to stay with the Dodgers beyond 2015.
  • Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart told reporters (including MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert) and The Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro) that Dioner Navarro‘s $5MM salary is too much to fit into his team’s payroll.  The Snakes have been linked to the Blue Jays catcher for much of the offseason and they’re reportedly still scouting him, though Stewart said there isn’t any substance to those rumors.