A roller coaster of a season has seen the Giants go from league doormats to wild card contenders, while deploying a seemingly endless revolving door of outfielders along the way. With this in mind, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic looks back on the Giants’ pursuit of Bryce Harper last winter, which obviously would have completely changed the shape of the season had the future Phillie opted to come to San Francisco. While the pursuit of value signings, particularly in the outfield, have defined Farhan Zaidi’s first season running the Giants’ front office, it was Zaidi who led the interest in Harper’s services, with Giants ownership feeling that Harper’s large salary demands would’ve been somewhat offset by an increase in attendance and overall fan interest. “It’s a what-if game they’ll be playing at Oracle Park for years to come,” Pavlovic writes.
More from around the NL West…
- The Padres are shutting down MacKenzie Gore from competitive innings in the coming weeks, Jeff Saunders of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes, though the star prospect will continue to throw on the side and could possibly return to help Double-A Amarillo reach their playoffs. The left-hander has tossed 99 1/3 combined innings this season at Double-A and high-A ball this season, a sizeable jump up from the 60 frames Gore tossed at A-level Fort Wayne in 2018 (and his 21 1/3 innings in rookie ball in 2017). While there aren’t any real injury concerns with Gore, San Diego is naturally being as cautious as possible with Gore’s development, given his importance to the Padres’ future plans.
- The Padres face several questions heading into the offseason, as The Athletic’s Dennis Lin (subscription required) addresses in a reader mailbag piece. The Padres still have to learn whether several young players, such as Francisco Mejia and Manuel Margot, can be reliable everyday big leaguers, but Lin also feels some of the uncertainty could extend to manager Andy Green. While winning wasn’t a priority in Green’s first three seasons since the team was rebuilding, more than a 52-61 mark was expected in 2019, particularly after Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. joined the roster. “Has Green proven himself particularly adept at player development or capable of steering a competitive team? No one will dispute his work ethic, but nearly four years in, the jury remains out on both counts,” Lin writes. While Green’s contract runs through the 2021 season, Lin notes that other rebuilding teams in recent years (i.e. the Cubs and Joe Maddon, the Phillies and Gabe Kapler) have made a managerial change once they felt on the cusp of returning to contention.
- Now that the Diamondbacks have dealt Zack Greinke, GM Mike Hazen estimates the team could have around $20MM in extra funds in both 2020 and 2021. “I’m assuming there’s going to be some more freedom to explore some things we haven’t explored in the past,” Hazen told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, though specifics aren’t yet known about what the club’s payroll capacity will be without Greinke on the books. 2018 and 2019 saw the D’Backs post the two highest Opening Day payrolls in club history, topping out at over $131.5MM at the start of the 2018 season. Now, the D’Backs have just under $68MM in guaranteed money for 2020, though that number will increase significantly due to arbitration raises. While it doesn’t seem likely that the Snakes will again approach $206.5MM on a future signing, Hazen didn’t feel the Greinke contract was a mistake given how well the ace righty pitched, crediting the much-maligned former D’Backs front office led by Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart. “They were right on Zack Greinke. We weren’t able to put it together the way we would have hoped while he was here,” Hazen said. “But they were right on him. It was a good deal.”