The Giants aggressively pursued Royals closer Wade Davis in advance of the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). Davis’ name came up in many pre-deadline rumors, but the chances of the Royals parting with him evaporated when the right-hander landed on the disabled list with a flexor strain July 31.
Acquiring Davis undoubtedly would have been costly for San Francisco, though there’s no word on whether any of its trade chips intrigued Kansas City enough to make a deal possible. To cite one report, the Royals were seeking premier pitching prospect Lucas Giolito from the Nationals in return for the lights-out reliever.
A healthy Davis likely would have helped the Giants’ playoff odds – which have been shrinking throughout the season’s second half – more than deadline pickup Will Smith has. In dealing pitching prospect Phil Bickford and catcher Andrew Susac to Milwaukee, the Giants paid a hefty price for Smith, who has since yielded six earned runs on 11 hits in 9 2/3 innings. However, the left-hander has impressed with 12 strikeouts against four walks and hasn’t allowed a run in the seven innings he has amassed since Aug. 18.
The Giants’ team-wide woes began well before the deadline. Since going 57-33 prior to the All-Star break, the club has recorded a dreadful 18-32 mark. At 75-65, the Giants are now in second place by four games in the National League West, a division they once led comfortably, and hold a tenuous grip on a wild-card spot. It hasn’t helped matters that San Francisco’s bullpen has been without its best option, Derek Law, since late August because of an elbow strain. Law should return next week, and it’s possible he’ll emerge as the Giants’ closer down the stretch. Santiago Casilla held that role until manager Bruce Bochy took it away from him Friday.
Looking ahead to the offseason, the Giants and Royals could once again resume talks centering on Davis, who returned from the DL on Sept. 2. Kansas City would have to be willing to listen, of course, and the reigning World Series champions could eschew moving him in favor of taking another run at a championship in 2017. The Royals are unlikely to make the playoffs this year and will face questions on whether to shop Davis, among several other veterans on soon-to-expire contracts, in the offseason. Davis has a $10.5MM club option for next season, the final year of his deal.