The Giants are “drawing [a] fair amount of interest” in right-handed starter Jeff Samardzija and right-handed reliever Hunter Strickland, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (all Twitter links). While Samardzija’s surface-level numbers aren’t exactly appealing this season — 4.86 ERA, 20 homers in 124 innings (1.45 HR/9) — he leads the Majors in K/BB ratio and is fifth in K%-BB% (23.7 percent). Moreover, Schulman notes that other teams simply value Samardzija’s durability. The Giants, too, value Shark’s innings, however, making the situation complicated. Schulman adds that the Giants are willing to think “creatively” in terms of trades, speculating about possible three-team swaps or taking on poor contracts.
As far as Strickland goes, the 28-year-old has a pristine 1.91 ERA with 9.8 K/9 through 33 innings this season. His 5.2 BB/9 rate and 88.5 percent strand rate suggest that there’s probably some regression in order, but the Giants (or an acquiring team) can control Strickland through the 2021 season, so it stands to reason that he’d draw interest as a long-term bullpen option.
More trade buzz from around the game…
- Padres general manager A.J. Preller has been asking for teams’ “top, top prospects” when shopping lefty Brad Hand around the league, an exec that has inquired on Hand tells ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link). While it’s hard to blame the Friars for aiming high — especially with 13 days remaining until the deadline — asking for multiple top-ranked prospects in return for Hand certainly seems like a steep asking price. The 27-year-old Hand does have an impressive 2.25 ERA with 11.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 47.7 percent ground-ball rate, though, and he’s controllable through 2019.
- Crasnick also tweets that the Tigers are “optimistic” that they’re getting close to completing a trade or two. GM Al Avila said yesterday that he expects something “soon,” Crasnick notes. The Tigers are known to be marketing the likes of J.D. Martinez, Justin Wilson and Alex Avila, though it’s worth noting that Martinez is in the lineup tonight. Avila is out of the lineup, though that’s likely due to the fact that Detroit is facing a left-handed opponent, and James McCann rakes against southpaw pitching.
- David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets that the Royals had a scout in attendance to watch Julio Teheran’s start for the Braves last night. It should be noted, of course, that there were likely a number of clubs on hand and that the Royals are certain to be scouting a number of potential rotation additions. Teheran turned in six innings of two-run ball without allowing a homer, though he also issued four walks and uncorked a wild pitch.
- The Mariners are becoming an “increasingly active” buyer as the deadline approaches, tweets Jon Morosi of MLB.com. Seattle currently sits just 1.5 games out of a Wild Card spot, and GM Jerry Dipoto is prioritizing starting pitching that can be controlled beyond the 2017 season. Seattle has had poor luck in its rotation this year, with Drew Smyly going down to Tommy John surgery and Hisashi Iwakuma missing a huge chunk of the season, to say nothing of injuries to Felix Hernandez and James Paxton. King Felix and Paxton are back in the fold now, but the M’s currently have rookies Andrew Moore and Sam Gaviglio in their rotation.
- MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand hears that the Twins are shying away from rental assets and are focusing primarily on pieces they can control beyond the current season. Minnesota is preparing for the deadline with a buyer’s mindset, but it’s not clear exactly how aggressive they’ll be. ESPN’s Buster Olney recently wrote that Minnesota isn’t prepared to gut its farm system in order to make a significant splash, but if the team isn’t keen on rentals, as Feinsand suggests, then perhaps they’ll zero in on some second-tier assets that will remain under contract through 2018. Speaking purely speculatively, David Phelps, AJ Ramos and Brad Brach are among the bullpen names that could potentially be had without ransacking the farm, while a starter like Edinson Volquez could fit the same bill.
- Despite the loss of Joe Ross for this season (and much of next), further upgrading the bullpen is a larger priority for the Nationals than pursuing a rotation piece, reports Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. Edwin Jackson is currently getting a chance to make some starts thanks in part to the struggles of righties A.J. Cole and Austin Voth in the minors. Meanwhile, well-regarded prospect Erick Fedde is being stretched back out as a starter after briefly converting to the bullpen, Janes notes.