With the trade deadline approaching, the bottom-feeding Giants may soon have to “take some bold, big-picture steps,” writes Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. One potential problem for the Giants, if they end up selling, is that they might not have any players they could deal who would do much to restock their mediocre farm system, notes Crasnick. And even if they do try to move trade candidates such as Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, there are roadblocks in the way. Cueto has the ability to opt out of his contract at season’s end, of course, and neither that nor his relatively unspectacular output this year are doing his trade value any favors. Samardzija, meanwhile, has a 21-team no-trade clause, making it likely he’ll remain in San Francisco.
A look at the rest of the National League West:
- Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, on the disabled list since May 19 on account of a hamstring strain, could rejoin the team by the end of the week, tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Turner will begin a rehab assignment with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga tonight. As they continue to await Turner’s return, the Dodgers are likely to recall utilityman Mike Freeman from Triple-A, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group. Freeman, whom Los Angeles claimed off waivers from Seattle on May 26, would join Logan Forsythe and Enrique Hernandez in giving the Turner-less Dodgers another third base-capable option.
- The Padres’ attempt to turn Christian Bethancourt into a viable pitcher probably isn’t going to pan out, observes Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The 25-year-old catcher/outfielder struggled mightily as a major league reliever this season before the Padres outrighted him in late April, and the experiment hasn’t gone much better in the minors. Across 10 1/3 innings with Triple-A El Paso, Bethancourt has given up 13 earned runs on 15 hits and 12 walks, with just five strikeouts. Bethancourt’s Triple-A woes have come in the notoriously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, leading Lin to wonder if the Padres would’ve been better off sending him to Double-A to develop.
- Like Bethancourt, Padres catcher Luis Torrens has fared poorly this season. Nevertheless, the club hasn’t considered jettisoning the Rule 5 pick, according to AJ Cassavell of MLB.com. Torrens, a former Yankees farmhand and one of an unprecedented three Rule 5 selections on the Padres’ roster, has collected a mere five hits (four singles and a double) and two walks in 41 plate appearances. Still, San Diego remains bullish on Torrens, particularly as a defender, suggests Cassavell.
- A lack of self-awareness kept Rockies right-hander Jeff Hoffman in the minors to begin the season, manager Bud Black told Nick Groke of the Denver Post. “You have to critically evaluate your performance,” Black said. “Was that a good pitch? Was that located well? Was that pitch truly where I intended it to be? Was the homer I gave up a good piece of hitting?” Hoffman seems to have improved in that aspect, as Black noted that the 24-year-old has “come a long way in a short amount of time in a lot of areas.” Ranked as Baseball America’s 27th-best prospect, Hoffman has produced spectacular results this year over 20 2/3 innings in Colorado (2.61 ERA, 11.32 K/9, .87 BB/9), and has made a case to stay in the team’s rotation even when the injured Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson return.
- Thanks to his pitch-framing skills, Diamondbacks catcher Jeff Mathis has emerged as an important offseason signing, opines Travis Sawchik of FanGraphs. The light-hitting Mathis, whom the Diamondbacks added on a two-year, $4MM deal, has been a sizable upgrade behind the plate over predecessor Welington Castillo, as Sawchik details. The change in backstops seems to be benefiting right-hander Zack Greinke, who has pitched to Mathis in all 12 of his starts this year and bounced back from a pedestrian 2016.