MLB Trade Rumors » » San Francisco Giants https://www.mlbtraderumors.com Thu, 29 Jun 2017 00:30:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Giants Place Mark Melancon On 10-Day DL https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/giants-place-mark-melancon-on-10-day-dl-2.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/giants-place-mark-melancon-on-10-day-dl-2.html#comments Wed, 28 Jun 2017 19:53:23 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=96020 The Giants have placed closer Mark Melancon on the 10-day DL, per a club announcement. He is dealing with the same pronator issue that forced him out earlier this year. Dan Slania will take the open roster spot.

Melancon, 32, has not quite looked himself since joining the Giants on a four-year, $62MM deal over the winter. Through 20 2/3 innings on the year, he has allowed ten earned runs on 25 hits. Though he still maintains typically strong strikeout and walk numbers — 8.3 K/9 against 1.3 BB/9 — the veteran has also coughed up three long balls and seen his groundball rate drop to 50.8% with his swinging-strike rate falling to 9.7% (both far lower than in recent seasons).

Despite enduring a bit of a rough stretch, Melancon could still feature as a trade candidate over the summer. That all depends upon just how interested the Giants are in shedding from future salary — while also embarking upon another search for a closer. (Interestingly, recently acquired righty Sam Dyson will take over closing duties for the time being after washing out of that role with the Rangers.) Though San Francisco is buried in the standings, the organization seems set up to return to contention next year.

The injury, though, functions as a major bit of uncertainty. It’s still possible that he could be dealt if he’s able to return and pitch effectively before the deadline. And Melancon’s contract is big enough that he could also be moved in August. But the forearm certainly enhances the risk in the hefty remaining value on the deal, particularly in the case of an older relief pitcher.

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Giants Promote Jae-Gyun Hwang, Place Conor Gillaspie On DL https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/giants-promote-jae-gyun-hwang.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/giants-promote-jae-gyun-hwang.html#comments Wed, 28 Jun 2017 18:00:52 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=95951 TODAY: Conor Gillaspie will hit the DL in a corresponding move, with the team announcing the purchase of Hwang’s contract. It seem a 40-man move will also be needed, though that hasn’t been announced (and could conceivably involve shifting a player to the 60-day DL.)

YESTERDAY: The Giants are promoting infielder Jae-gyun Hwang from Triple-A Sacramento, reports Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (via Twitter). The former Korea Baseball Organization star signed a minor league deal with San Francisco this offseason and was likely to exercise a July 1 opt-out clause if he was not brought up to the Majors in the next few days.

Through 279 Triple-A plate appearances, Hwang was hitting at a strong .287/.333/.476 clip with seven homers, 19 doubles, four triples and five steals (in five attempts). While that’s a fair ways off the eye-popping .335/.394/.570 batting line that Hwang posted in his final season in Korea, the 29-year-old’s very solid Triple-A performance certainly seems to merit a look at the big league level.

Eduardo Nunez has handled the majority of the Giants’ third base responsibilities in 2017, but he’s currently on the DL with a minor hamstring issue. Third base has been Hwang’s primary position, but he’s also played first base in the minors and seen a couple of games in left field. With veteran Aaron Hill recently being cut loose, there’s a bench opportunity for Hwang to claim, at the very least, and it’s possible that he could be entrusted with a larger role if the Giants ultimately trade Nunez.

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2018 Vesting Options Update https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/2018-vesting-options-update-2.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/2018-vesting-options-update-2.html#comments Wed, 28 Jun 2017 15:48:47 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=95983 We already took a preliminary look at the vesting option scenarios playing out around the game, but we’ve now gained quite a bit of clarity over the last six weeks. Generally, vesting options are club options that can become guaranteed based on the player’s health and/or performance. Typically, achieving contractually defined thresholds (such as for plate appearances or games finished) takes the decision out of the team’s hand, with some clauses also requiring certain health standards to be triggered.

Here’s where things stand at present:

Already Vested

  • Greg Holland: That was fast! Holland has already racked up thirty games finished, meaning that what was a $10MM mutual option for 2018 has been converted into a $15MM player option. With a league-leading 25 saves in the bank, along with 29 1/3 innings of 1.53 ERA pitching, it seems unlikely that Holland will take that cash rather than testing the open market — though he could also have to turn down a qualifying offer and hit free agency weighed down a bit by draft compensation. (Notably, too, Holland is cracking into some hefty contract incentives. He is on track to earn most or all of the $11MM in available bonus money.)

On Track To Vest

  • Gio Gonzalez: While Gonzalez is pitching well enough to make it a foregone conclusion that the Nationals would pick up his 2018 option at $12MM, that step won’t be necessary if he ends the regular season with 180 innings on his ledger. Working deep into games has been an issue for Gonzalez in recent years, but he has already topped 100 frames through just 16 starts thus far in 2017. Barring an injury, this one looks quite likely to vest.

Unlikely To Vest

  • Ricky Nolasco: The 34-year-old faces an uphill battle, but he’s at least keeping it interesting. Nolasco can turn a $13MM club option ($1MM buyout) into a player option if he gives the Halos 202 1/3 frames this year. That’s a big number, but Nolasco has managed to log 90 2/3 innings through 16 outings, leaving 111 2/3 left to achieve. Even if he takes the ball another 16 times the rest of the way, he’d need to go seven innings per start — a pace typically achievable only by a few top aces around the game. (Currently, Max Scherzer and Chris Sale top the leaderboard with 113 2/3 frames.)
  • Matt Cain: The Giants are sure to pay Cain a $7.5MM buyout rather than picking up his $21.5MM option for the 2018 campaign. But the veteran righty could take that decision out of the team’s hands if he’s able to reach 200 innings this year and stay off of the DL at season’s end. Cain has made all 16 of his starts so far, but he has accumulated only 84 innings. While it’s a theoretical possibility, then, it’s all but certain that this option won’t vest — and the Giants have every incentive to see that it doesn’t.
  • Hisashi Iwakuma: When the season started, it seemed reasonably likely that Iwakuma would trigger his second vesting season — as he did last year with the first. After compiling 199 innings in 2016, he needed to accumulate only 125 more (and avoid an unspecified injury) to lock up a $15MM payday. But Iwakuma is currently parked on the DL with just 31 frames in the bank; even if he is able to work deep in most of his remaining starts, he almost certainly won’t have enough to accumulate the 94 additional innings he needs. If he doesn’t get there, then Seattle will decide between a $10MM salary and a $1MM buyout.

Will Not Vest

  • Andre Ethier: Ethier’s $17.5MM club option vests upon 550 plate appearances in 2017. He has been shelved for the entire first half of the season, so he’ll have to take home a $2.5MM buyout as a consolation prize.
  • Matt Garza: This one is complicated, but here’s the bottom line: Garza cannot possible make enough starts to reach 110 in total from 2014-17 (he’s currently at 82), so his option cannot vest at $13MM. At the same time, it’s no longer possible for him to miss 130 or more days of action to the DL this year, so the club won’t get a shot at a $1MM option for his 2018 rights. Instead, the deal reverts to a club option at $5MM. See? It’s simple.
  • J.J. Hardy: The extension that Hardy signed with the O’s a few years back includes a $14MM club option (or a $2MM buyout), but that would vest if Hardy ended the 2017 campaign with 600 plate appearances on his stat sheet. That always seemed a stretch, but with his recent DL placement it’s no longer even possible.
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Jae-gyun Hwang Likely To Opt Out Of Giants Deal If Not Promoted https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/jae-gyun-hwang-likely-to-opt-out-of-giants-deal-if-not-promoted.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/jae-gyun-hwang-likely-to-opt-out-of-giants-deal-if-not-promoted.html#comments Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:23:13 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=95899 Third baseman Jae-gyun Hwang suggested in an interview with Korean media that he expects to opt out of his contract with the Giants if he is not added to the major league roster in the coming days (via Jee-ho Yoo of Yonhap News Agency). Hwang’s deal allows him to force the team to promote or release him on July 1st.

There have been indications at times that the Giants would like to see Hwang in the majors, but recent events raise questions about the team’s current intentions. San Francisco promoted prospect Ryder Jones to handle third base, adding him to the 40-man roster in the process. He has struggled in his first three games, but the Giants seem inclined to give Jones and other young players (including, perhaps, previously promoted infielder Christian Arroyo) a chance in the majors with the club buried in the standings.

Hwang, 29, inked a split contract over the winter in hopes of reaching the majors after years of starring in his native Korea. He has put up solid overall numbers at Triple-A, thriving in particular since an early-season swoon. Since hitting his first home run in the middle of May, Hwang has produced at a .287/.348/.566 clip and added six more long balls to his ledger. He has also made strides in the plate-discipline department, drawing 14 walks against 31 strikeouts in that span.

Defensively, the longtime KBO star has plenty of experience at third base. But there were prior suggestions that he might be afforded a chance to increase his versatility by spending time in the corner outfield. That hasn’t been forthcoming thus far — he lined up in left twice earlier in the year — and Hwang has mostly played first base for Sacramento over the last month or so.

Given that Hwang is slated to return to the open market at the end of the season regardless, it’s not clear how much incentive the Giants have at this point to add him to the roster. The organization would need to create 40-man space and also pay Hwang at a $1.5MM annual rate, in addition to any incentives he might trigger.

If Hwang does end up returning to the open market, he’d likely find opportunities with other organizations. While the bat is obviously interesting, though, it’s still not clear whether there’ll be a big league opening for him in 2017. Given his status as one of Korea’s top sluggers, Hwang could also presumably end up returning to the KBO at some point.

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Bryan Morris To Elect Free Agency https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/bryan-morris-elects-free-agency.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/bryan-morris-elects-free-agency.html#comments Mon, 26 Jun 2017 18:43:12 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=95840 Right-handed reliever Bryan Morris, who was designated for assignment by the Giants over the weekend, has cleared waivers and will elect free agency rather than accept an outright assignment to Triple-A, reports FanRag’s Robert Murray (Twitter link).

The 30-year-old Morris was a quality bullpen piece for the Marlins from 2014-15 but suffered a back injury that ultimately required surgery and ended his season early in the 2016 campaign. Miami cut him loose this offseason, at which point he inked a minor league pact with San Francisco. Morris opened the year in the Giants’ minor league ranks but surfaced in the Majors early in the month of May.

In 21 innings with San Francisco this year, Morris has been tattooed for a 6.43 ERA. The vast majority of the damage against him has been confined to a handful of unsightly outings, though, including a five-run shellacking at the hands of the Braves in his final appearance with the Giants. Morris was a ground-ball machine with the Pirates and Marlins from 2013-15, racking up grounders at a nearly 59 percent clip. This year, though, that rate is down to 47.4 percent. Morris has also seen his K/9 rate dip to 6.4 (though he’s never been a big strikeout pitcher) while his BB/9 rate is up to 4.7.

Despite his poor numbers in 2017 and recent surgical procedure, Morris’ track record should garner some degree of interest on the open market, even if it’s only on another minor league deal. He did, after all, pitch to a 2.80 ERA with enormous ground-ball tendencies over the life of 215 big league innings from 2012-16.

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Mike Morse Still Suffering Concussion Symptoms https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/quick-hits-seager-rangers-young-morse.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/quick-hits-seager-rangers-young-morse.html#comments Sun, 25 Jun 2017 04:24:12 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=95696
  • Mike Morse is still suffering from lingering symptoms almost a month after going on the seven-day concussion DL, the veteran slugger tells Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.  Morse has openly talked about this stint with the Giants being something of a last ride in his career, though what could potentially be his final season has been hampered by a hamstring injury and now this concussion.  Morse has a .556 OPS over 40 PA for the Giants this year, and he isn’t sure when he’ll be healthy enough to return to action.
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    Johnny Cueto's Opt-Out Clause Hurting His Trade Value? https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/rosenthals-latest-cueto-puig-adams-blevins-chatwood.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/rosenthals-latest-cueto-puig-adams-blevins-chatwood.html#comments Sun, 25 Jun 2017 01:51:44 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=95676
  • A rival general manager describes Johnny Cueto’s potential trade value as “lower than a rental’s” due to the added complication of Cueto’s opt-out clause, which could make it hard for the Giants to find a trade partner.  If a team were to acquire a normal pending free agent at the deadline and that player got injured or performed poorly, the two sides would likely just part ways after the year.  If such a scenario happened to Cueto, however, he might not opt out, so the new team would be taking on a potentially diminished asset for the remaining four years/$84MM on Cueto’s contract.

    [SOURCE LINK]
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    Giants Designate Aaron Hill https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/giants-designate-aaron-hill.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/giants-designate-aaron-hill.html#comments Sat, 24 Jun 2017 19:07:10 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=95644 The Giants have designated veteran utilityman Aaron Hill for assignment, as Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area was among those to tweet. Prospect Ryder Jones has had his contract purchased to take the open roster spot, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported on Twitter.

    Like their neighbors in Oakland, the Giants are in the midst of a mid-season roster transformation with contention out of reach. San Francisco has already called upon several young players for their first MLB stints, and Jones now joins that group.

    Hill, 35, has struggled mightily in the early going. Through eighty trips to the plate, he carries a .132/.250/.235 batting line — though he has managed 11 walks against just 13 strikeouts. He had earned a roster spot after joining the organization on a minors deal, but has never found a groove while also spending time on the DL.

    It seems likely that other organizations will show some interest in Hill, though his $2MM annual salary will be something of an impediment to a trade. It’s perhaps more likely at this point that he’ll end up heading to free agency and signing another minor-league pact.

    As for Jones, a second-round pick back in 2012, the current season has represented a big step forward. He had largely struggled to do much at the plate on his way up the ladder, but showed well in the Arizona Fall League and has broken out at Triple-A. Through 228 plate appearances, Jones owns a robust .299/.390/.553 slash withten long balls.

    Jones is expected to line up at third base for the Giants while Eduardo Nunez is sidelined. Given that Nunez is also a trade candidate, that could be a signiicant opportunity for the 23-year-old. Of course, San Francisco previously gave a shot to young infielder Christian Arroyo, who struggled in his first call-up but surely factors into the long-term plans somewhere on the diamond.

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    Pirates Outright Josh Lindblom https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/pirates-outright-josh-lindblom.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/pirates-outright-josh-lindblom.html#comments Sat, 24 Jun 2017 18:15:54 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=95641 The Pirates announced that righty Josh Lindblom has been outrighted to Triple-A. He had been throwing at Indianapolis already on a rehab assignment.

    Lindblom, who just turned 30, threw 10 1/3 rough innings for Pittsburgh as a long reliever before hitting the DL with an oblique injury. Entering the season, he had not seen much big league action since 2013.

    Pittsburgh had brought Lindblom in on a minors deal after he spent two years with Korea’s Lotte Giants. Before being called up, he was throwing fairly well at Triple-A, with 29 2/3 frames of 3.64 ERA ball and 7.3 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9.

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    Giants Place Eduardo Nunez On 10-Day DL https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/injury-notes-alvarez-nunez-duffy-smith-freeman-perez-hatcher-bailey.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/injury-notes-alvarez-nunez-duffy-smith-freeman-perez-hatcher-bailey.html#comments Sat, 24 Jun 2017 15:43:32 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=95622
  • Giants infielder Eduardo Nunez is heading to the 10-day DL with a hamstring injury, as Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports on Twitter. That placement opens space for Conor Gillaspie to return from his own stint on the disabled list. It doesn’t seem to be a major injury, as the club has given Nunez time to try to work through the issue, but clearly the hope will be that he can return sooner than later. Nunez seems like the most obvious trade piece on the San Francisco roster, and he’ll need to be in top form at the deadline to maximize his return.
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    Giants To Designate Bryan Morris https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/giants-to-designate-bryan-morris.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/giants-to-designate-bryan-morris.html#comments Fri, 23 Jun 2017 23:19:35 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=95574 The Giants are set to designate righty Bryan Morris for assignment, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). Lefty Steven Okert will be called up to take the open roster spot.

    Morris, 30, owns an unsightly 6.43 ERA through his 21 frames on the year. He has struck out 6.4 and walked 4.7 batters per nine while showing an average fastball of just over 93 mph — well off his peak. Of course, it’s promising to see that Morris is healthy after shoulder issues ended his time with the Marlins.

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    Giants To Sign First-Rounder Heliot Ramos https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/giants-to-sign-first-rounder-heliot-ramos.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/giants-to-sign-first-rounder-heliot-ramos.html#comments Tue, 20 Jun 2017 21:30:40 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=95291 The Giants have reached an agreement with first-rounder Heliot Ramos, reports Baseball America’s Hudson Belinsky. A high school outfielder out of Puerto Rico, Ramos will receive the full slot value of $3,101,700 that comes with the No. 19 overall selection. Their second round-pick has also agreed to terms, per MLB.com’s Jim Callis (Twitter link). High school third baseman Jacob Gonzalez will receive a $950K bonus that is about $170K below slot. Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, meanwhile, reports that the Giants inked third-rounder Seth Corry for $1MM — roughly $450K over his slot value (Twitter link). Corry is represented by Jon Pridie of Sosnick Cobbe Karon.

    Ramos headed into the draft as the No. 26 player on the list of Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen. ESPN’s Keith Law ranked him 29th overall, while Baseball America pegged him at No. 30, and Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranked him 40th in the draft.

    Longenhagen, Law and BA all peg Ramos as a plus runner (plus-plus, per BA’s report) with an above-average arm, which should allow him to stick in center field. And all of the above-linked reports are bullish on Ramos’ raw power. There’s some question, it seems, about his hit tool and whether he’ll make enough contact to hit consistently as a professional. He draws huge praise for his athleticism, and it’s worth noting that he’s also one of the draft’s youngest players — he’ll turn 18 in September — which offers some explanation for why he’s a bit raw at the plate. BA notes that Ramos comes from a highly athletic family, as his brother Henry reached Triple-A with the Red Sox last year (and is currently with the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate) while his other brother, Hector, plays for Puerto Rico’s national soccer club.

    Gonzalez ranked 125th on MLB.com’s Top 200 and 132nd on Baseball America’s Top 500. He’s the son of former big league slugger Luis Gonzalez, though unlike his father, Jacob bats right-handed. He’s listed at 6’4″ and 210 pounds, and both scouting reports on him mention the possibility of a move to first base due to a lack of speed. Gonzalez gets good reviews for his considerable strength and raw power.

    Corry, meanwhile, was 61st on Law’s list, 102nd over at BA and 105th per Callis and Mayo. The high school lefty out of Utah has a fastball that sits 89-93 mph, per those scouting reports, and he draws significant praise for his curveball as well. He was committed to attend Brigham Young University but will apparently forgo college for a seven-figure bonus.

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    Trade Chatter: Market, Darvish, Lucroy, Giants https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/trade-chatter-market-darvish-lucroy-giants.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/trade-chatter-market-darvish-lucroy-giants.html#comments Mon, 19 Jun 2017 22:23:49 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=95186 With baseball’s draft in the rear-view mirror, the focus for many clubs will begin shifting to trades over the next several weeks. In light of that, Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron breaks the league down into nine definite buyers, nine very likely sellers and a dozen bubble teams that are hovering around the .500 mark. As Cameron notes, there’s a case to be made in either direction for virtually all of the 12 fringe clubs, whose playoff odds, as calculated by Fangraphs, range from six percent (Angels, Twins) to 36 percent (Blue Jays). The proximity of stars such as Yu Darvish, Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado to free agency all have a bearing on a team’s decision, as does the overall composition of the roster. (The Mariners, for instance, have a significant amount invested in winning now with a number of aging key players, seemingly making them likelier to push for a postseason spot.) It’s a well-reasoned and comprehensive look at the competitive landscape of baseball in mid-June 2017 and is well worth a full read-through.

    Onto some actual rumors pertaining to the trade market…

    • Even if the Rangers fall out of contention, they’re not planning to move Darvish, sources tell Yahoo’s Jeff Passan. Texas badly wants to retain their staff ace beyond the 2017 season, though Passan points out that there are only 11 free-agent pitchers that have ever signed a $100MM+ deal — and each has done so with a new team. Still, the Rangers want Darvish to hit the market with Arlington being the only place he’s called home during his Major League career rather than giving him a taste of a new city that could push him further away. I’d add that retaining him also allows the Rangers to make a qualifying offer, though for top-tier free agents such as Darvish, the QO isn’t the same free agency death knell that it has been for second- and third-tier names that have been tied to draft pick compensation.
    • Jonathan Lucroy, on the other hand, could potentially be marketed this summer if the Rangers drop far enough out of the race, Passan continues. Texas gave up a massive amount of talent to land Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress last year, sending prospects Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz and Ryan Cordell to the Brewers for a year and a half of Lucroy and three years of Jeffress. Dealing Lucroy would allow the Rangers to get some value back if they can’t remain in contention, though Lucroy’s down season at the plate has been a factor in the Rangers’ underwhelming performance. Through 205 plate appearances, Lucroy is hitting a pedestrian .269/.307/.389. That’s perfectly acceptable for a catcher, but it’s a far cry from the .292/.355/.500 that he slashed last year.
    • The Giants have yet to hold a “we’re open for business” meeting despite their awful standing in the NL West and NL Wild Card race, reports Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area. Giants sources tell Pavlovic that the team has been focused on the draft, but they’ll begin to look more closely at their 2017 roadmap now. Dealing Eduardo Nunez is an “easy decision” for the Giants to make, Pavlovic opines (I agree), but they’ll have more complicated questions to ponder when it comes to pitchers Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore. While some may feel that Cueto would be best served to forgo his opt-out, Passan points out that James Shields got four years and $75MM late in the offseason when he was two years older than Cueto will be this winter. Cueto has four years and $84MM remaining following the 2017 season.
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    Pitching Health Notes: Gray, ERod, Urias, MadBum, Chargois https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/pitching-health-notes-gray-erod-urias-madbum-chargois.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/pitching-health-notes-gray-erod-urias-madbum-chargois.html#comments Fri, 16 Jun 2017 05:00:08 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=94938 Rockies righty Jon Gray made his first rehab start, as Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports. He may need only one or two more minor league outings before rejoining the Colorado rotation, but holds out the promise of providing a significant boost upon his return. Likewise, southpaw Tyler Anderson is making his way back toward the big leagues, meaning the Rox will face some rotation questions in short order.

    Here’s more on a few other pitching health matters from around the league:

    • It’s possible that the Red Sox may soon welcome back lefty Eduardo Rodriguez. per an update from manager John Farrell (h/t Peter Abraham of the Boston Glove; links to Twitter). Rodriguez was “ecstatic” after a 33-pitch pen session today, says Farrell, who indicated that the southpaw may be only one rehab start away from returning to the majors. That would surely be excellent news for Boston; Rodriguez’s knee issue seemed rather frightening when it arose, since he has dealt with significant problems in the joint in the past.
    • Likewise, the Dodgers got good news on young southpaw Julio Urias, as Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports (Twitter links). While he’ll still be shut down until the soreness in his shoulder subsides, Urias did not exhibit any structural issues in an MRI.
    • With the Giants back in Colorado, the team is seeing continued progress from ace Madison Bumgarner, who is still recovering from the shoulder injury he suffered in an off-day dirtbiking accident during the team’s prior trip out to Denver. As John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets, Bumgarner is set to face live hitting on Sunday and report to the organization’s spring facility. After that, he’d only be a rehab assignment away from a return, though the club will undoubtedly exercise ample caution given the club’s unenviable position in the standings.
    • As the Twins continue to hold onto a surprising AL Central lead, despite one of the league’s worst bullpens, the front office is surely at least thinking of ways to bolster the MLB roster while also remaining mindful of the broader organizational mission. Unfortunately, the club seemingly won’t be able to call upon relief prospect J.T. Chargois, per Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN, who tweets that a “stress reaction on the outside of his elbow” will keep the young righty out for some time. The fireballer already missed significant time earlier in his career with elbow problems. Minnesota already lost out on another possible mid-season boost to the bullpen when Nick Burdi required Tommy John surgery earlier this year.
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    Taking Inventory: San Francisco Giants https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/taking-inventory-san-francisco-giants.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/taking-inventory-san-francisco-giants.html#comments Sun, 11 Jun 2017 21:23:31 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=94591 MLBTR is launching a new summer series entitled Taking Inventory, in which we’ll preview the potential trade chips that could become available on a number of likely and borderline selling clubs throughout the league.

    The Giants are already 25-39 and are not only 16 1/2 games behind the first-place Rockies in the NL West, they’re 13 1/2 games back of the third-place Diamondbacks. While it’s not impossible that they could still make a run at contention, it’s highly unlikely. That would seem to make them potential sellers at the trade deadline. Still, one shouldn’t necessarily expect fireworks. The Giants have endured frustrating seasons in the somewhat recent past and generally haven’t reacted with big shakeups, and even if their track record indicated a radical rebuild was a possibility, the circumstances of many of their veterans assets seemingly impede potential trades (as ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick recently explained).

    Rentals

    Johnny Cueto, RHP (starter) | Salary: $21MM

    There are no indications yet that the Giants will move Cueto, and to do so would be complex, although not impossible. Cueto is signed through 2021 with a team option for 2022, but he has an opt-out after the 2017 season, meaning that it will be difficult for any potential trade partner to know whether they’re getting a long-term asset or a short-term one. Cueto will also receive a $5MM buyout if he exercises his opt-out and a $500K assignment bonus if he’s traded, further complicating a potential move. Cueto’s seemingly uneven performance this year might also be a factor, but perhaps a less important one — he has a 4.33 ERA this season, but his peripherals (9.0 K/9, 2.4 BB/9) are strong as usual.

    Eduardo Nunez, IF | Salary: $4.2MM

    Unlike many players on this list, Nunez is reasonably priced. While he’s never been a world-beater offensively, he’s been consistent, and his .293/.320/.401 line thus far this season provides a good indication of what to expect from his contact-heavy offensive game going forward. He’s also versatile defensively, capable of playing third base, shortstop and the corner outfield spots. A contender could easily see him as a terrific bench piece. Nunez is as likely as any player on this list to be moved, and a trade would have the benefit of clearing a spot for some combination of Christian Arroyo and Jae-gyun Hwang, who are both currently with Triple-A Sacramento.

    Aaron Hill, IF | Salary: $2MM

    Hill is a recent minor-league signee who’s batting .178/.238/.333 thus far this season. It’s possible the Giants could deal him to a team in need of infield depth, but the return isn’t likely to be significant.

    Nick Hundley, C | Salary: $2MM

    Like Hill, Hundley has hit sparingly this season and wouldn’t have much trade value. It’s possible the Giants could ship him in a minor deal to a team in need of catching depth.

    Controlled Through 2018

    Hunter Pence, OF | Salary: $18.5MM

    Pence has a full no-trade clause and has played poorly this season, batting .228/.269/.310 and missing time to a hamstring strain. Like many Giants, he might net the team a bit of extra value on the trade market due to his postseason experience, but he’s still unlikely to command much of a return unless he hits well over the next six weeks.

    Matt Cain, RHP (starter) | Salary: $20MM

    Cain’s exorbitant salary, the $7.5MM buyout on his 2018 option, and his uninspiring performances the past several seasons would seemingly make a trade very tricky, except perhaps as a change-of-scenery deal in which the Giants were to pick up nearly all of his remaining salary.

    Longer-Term Assets

    Jeff Samardzija, RHP (starter); Buster Posey, C; Mark Melancon, RHP (reliever); Madison Bumgarner, LHP (starter), Denard Span, OF; Brandon Crawford, SS; Matt Moore, LHP (starter); Brandon Belt, 1B; George Kontos, RHP (reliever)

    Though Samardzija has a 4.31 ERA this season, his outstanding ratios (10.5 K/9, 1.3 BB/9) would surely make him an attractive trade candidate. He is, however, signed through 2020 and can block trades to all but eight teams, complicating potential deals. It certainly wouldn’t be impossible for the Giants to trade him, but as with Cueto, it would be complex.

    Posey and Melancon have full no-trade protection and are under contract for the next several seasons. Bumgarner has limited no-trade protection, is currently injured, and has reasonably priced options for 2018 and 2019. Span is 33, has produced modest offense this season, and is owed $9MM next season, plus at least a $4MM buyout and a remaining portion of his signing bonus. Crawford is signed through 2021 and has full no-trade protection. Moore is signed to a team-friendly contract that includes relatively cheap options for 2018 and 2019, potentially making him a trade asset, but he hasn’t pitched well this season. Belt is signed through 2021; his limited no-trade clause hasn’t yet kicked in, but he’s also in the first year of the extension he signed last season. Of all those players, perhaps the most likely to be dealt are Span and Moore, and neither of those seem that likely.

    Kontos is one of a number of Giants relievers who could theoretically be dealt, also including Cory Gearrin, Hunter Strickland and Derek Law. Of those, Kontos is among the closest to free agency eligibility and the one with the longest track record. He’s signed for a reasonable $1.75MM in 2017 and is controllable for two more seasons, and while his strikeout and walk rates have fluctuated throughout his career and he’s never had elite velocity, he’s also never had a season in which he wasn’t at least modestly effective.

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    Madison Bumgarner To Face Live Hitters https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/west-notes-bumgarner-ross-haniger-gossett.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/west-notes-bumgarner-ross-haniger-gossett.html#comments Sun, 11 Jun 2017 19:59:00 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=94614 Giants star Madison Bumgarner is facing live hitters this weekend as he attempts to return from a shoulder injury suffered in a fateful dirt bike accident, as Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News and other reporters have noted. That means Bumgarner could return to game action sooner than anticipated, although manager Bruce Bochy says he doesn’t believe Bumgarner will be back before the All-Star Break. Here’s more injury news from the West divisions.

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    Latest On Shohei Otani https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/shohei-otani-rumors.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/shohei-otani-rumors.html#comments Fri, 09 Jun 2017 14:12:54 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=94404 A legitimate sense of mystery shrouds Japanese star Shohei Otani, writes Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, as Major League scouts and general managers have no idea whether the 22-year-old phenom will actually enter the posting system and leap to Major League Baseball this offseason. Passan spoke to at least five general managers and multiple scouts for his extensive column, which I’d highly recommend reading in full.

    There’s skepticism that Otani will actually leave NPB this offseason, as doing so would mean subjecting himself to MLB’s newly reconfigured international bonus system, which will undoubtedly cost him more than $200MM. Otani’s maximum payday this winter would be $10.1MM, Passan notes, and while many have speculated about Otani quickly signing a multi-year extension after inking his initial deal, that may not be likely. Passan cites multiple “high-ranking sources at MLB” in reporting that “the league expects to be vigilant to ensure the sanctity of the system is not made a mockery by extralegal payments.” Then again, Major League Baseball intervening in a contract would certainly be a bad look, and Passan wonders if the league would actually follow through on such an extreme measure.

    [Related: Scouting Shohei Otani]

    Passan’s survey of big league front offices and scouting departments resulted in many within the game speculatively connecting the Rangers, Dodgers, Padres, Giants, Yankees, Cubs and Astros to Otani, although the clear takeaway is that no one really knows who the favorite would be. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune, in fact, suggests that the connection to the Padres is largely overblown (all Twitter links), especially considering the fact that they’d be limited to a $300K signing bonus.

    Several American League clubs believe themselves to have an inside edge over their National League rivals due to Otani’s desire to continue as a two-way player in MLB, Passan continues. Serving as a DH and then pitching every fifth day seems more feasible than playing the outfield between starts.

    Further complicating matters is the fact that Otani has yet to even pitch in 2017 and has been limited to eight games as a designated hitter. Otani missed the World Baseball Classic due to an ankle injury and has yet to take the mound because a hamstring injury that Japanese media outlet Sponichi recently reported would keep him out until at least July. A recent report from Japan’s Nikkan Sports revealed that Otan threw a 31-pitch bullpen session but did so at a distance of less than the standard 60 feet and did not throw at full strength.

    The injury isn’t likely to be a significant detriment to Otani’s market, though. Teams familiar with Otani are well versed in his repertoire and his skills at the plate, having seen him extensively in the past. The questions stemming from his injury wouldn’t center around a lack of ability to gather relevant scouting data, but rather whether interested teams need to have long-term concerns about these injuries either lingering or recurring. And all of that, of course, assumes he even enters the posting system this winter in the first place, which is hardly a given.

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    Giants Acquire Sam Dyson https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/rangers-trade-sam-dyson-giants.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/rangers-trade-sam-dyson-giants.html#comments Wed, 07 Jun 2017 00:33:13 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=94190 The Giants announced that they’ve acquired right-hander Sam Dyson and cash from the Rangers in exchange for a player to be named later. It’s not yet known exactly how much of Dyson’s $3.52MM salary the Rangers are including in the deal, though Dyson is still owed about $2.27MM of that figure. The deal was technically announced as Dyson and cash for a player to be named later or cash, though Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes that the Rangers expect to acquire a minor leaguer in exchange for Dyson. Madison Bumgarner was moved to the 60-day DL to clear a spot for Dyson on the 40-man roster.

    Sam Dyson

    [Related: Updated San Francisco Giants depth chart]

    Dyson, 29, was designated for assignment by Texas last week after an awful start to the 2017 campaign. The Rangers, though, reportedly expected to find a trade partner for the change-of-scenery candidate right off the bat after gauging interest in him prior to the DFA.

    Dyson’s fall in Texas was remarkably quick, as just one year ago he served as a lockdown closer for manager Jeff Banister. In 70 1/3 innings, Dyson saved 38 games and posted a 2.43 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9. His heavy sinker also generated a 65.2 percent ground-ball rate and averaged a healthy 95.3 mph during that excellent ’16 season.

    The 2017 campaign, though, has essentially been the antithesis of that terrific year for Dyson; through 16 2/3 innings, he’s posted a 10.80 ERA with more walks (12) than strikeouts (seven). Dyson has also yielded six home runs through his mere 16 2/3 frames this year — one more homer than he surrendered across last season’s 70 1/3 innings.

    The Giants themselves have gotten off to a rough start, entering play today with a 24-35 record. San Francisco’s setup corps took a hit before the season ever started with the news that left-hander Will Smith required Tommy John surgery. Manager Bruce Bochy’s bullpen has pitched to a collective 3.96 ERA, which ranks 14th in the Majors. Dyson joins a bullpen that already skews a bit right-handed, slotting in behind Mark Melancon, Derek Law, Hunter Strickland and George Kontos.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Giants May Have To Take "Bold, Big-Picture Steps" https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/nl-west-notes-giants-turner-padres-hoffman-mathis.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/nl-west-notes-giants-turner-padres-hoffman-mathis.html#comments Mon, 05 Jun 2017 23:48:22 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=93802 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.

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    Justin Ruggiano Elects Free Agency https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/giants-designate-justin-ruggiano-for-assignment.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/giants-designate-justin-ruggiano-for-assignment.html#comments Mon, 05 Jun 2017 13:29:06 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=93565 JUNE 5: Ruggiano cleared waivers and has elected free agency rather than accepting an outright assignment to the minors, as first noted on the Giants’ transactions page at MLB.com.

    JUNE 2: The Giants announced that they’ve designated outfielder Justin Ruggiano for assignment in order to clear a roster spot for outfielder Austin Slater, whose contract has now been formally selected from Triple-A Sacramento (Twitter link via CSN Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic).

    Ruggiano, 35, has failed to receive much in the way of major league opportunities over the past three seasons. At times, though, he has been a quality weapon off the bench against left-handed pitching.

    Through 63 plate appearances on the season, Ruggiano managed only a .217/.238/.333 batting line. He was one of the numerous players the Giants have tried in the outfield, none of whom have provided consistent production. Now, Slater will have his shot at holding down a role in left.

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    Giants Activate Hunter Pence, Option Christian Arroyo https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/giants-activate-hunter-pence-option-christian-arroyo.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/giants-activate-hunter-pence-option-christian-arroyo.html#comments Sun, 04 Jun 2017 16:11:05 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=93714 The Giants have activated right fielder Hunter Pence from the disabled list and optioned infielder Christian Arroyo to Triple-A, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area was among those to report (Twitter link).

    Pence hasn’t taken an at-bat since May 12 on account of a left hamstring strain. Before Pence landed on the shelf, the normally steady veteran batted a meek .243/.289/.338 in 149 plate appearances. But the other right fielders the Giants have used this year, the just-designated Justin Ruggiano, Mac Williamson and Austin Slater, have each posted worse batting lines than Pence over a combined 106 trips to the plate. Now, if the 23-34 Giants are going to get back into the playoff race, they’ll need the 34-year-old Pence to return to his typical form. Entering Sunday, San Francisco sits 12 games behind the NL West-leading Dodgers and 10.5 out of a wild-card spot.

    Arroyo, whom the Giants promoted in late April, didn’t help their cause in his first taste of major league action. The 22-year-old has been on various top 100 prospect lists (MLB.com currently ranks him 79th), but he hit a woeful .197/.244/.304 and totaled 32 strikeouts against eight walks in his initial big league call-up. Arroyo primarily played third base, where Eduardo Nunez has rebounded offensively since a rough April, and also picked up some middle infield experience.

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    Giants Unlikely To Move Major Pieces At Deadline https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/cafardos-latest-yankees-dodgers-cubs-quintana-cueto-samardzija-rangers-cozart.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/cafardos-latest-yankees-dodgers-cubs-quintana-cueto-samardzija-rangers-cozart.html#comments Sat, 03 Jun 2017 21:32:28 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=93654
  • “Don’t look for major subtractions” from the Giants, even if the team doesn’t make any additions at the deadline.  Cafardo doesn’t expect the Giants to deal the likes of Johnny Cueto or Jeff Samardzija.  I would imagine San Francisco is hoping to make a quick return to contention next season, though if Cueto gives them an indication that he’ll opt out of his contract this winter, a trade could be explored.

    [SOURCE LINK]
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    Giants Sign Jerry Sands To Minors Deal https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/giants-sign-jerry-sands-to-minors-deal.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/giants-sign-jerry-sands-to-minors-deal.html#comments Sat, 03 Jun 2017 20:04:44 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=93650 The Giants have signed outfielder Jerry Sands to a minor league contract, Mike Ashmore of MyCentralJersey.com reports.  Sands had been playing for the independent Somerset Patriots, and the 29-year-old will now head to the Giants’ Double-A affiliate.

    Sands has only a .670 OPS over 464 plate appearances with the Dodgers, Rays, Indians and White Sox during his big league career, though the right-handed hitter has produced a very solid .285/.335/.477 slash line against lefty pitching.  Much of Sands’ experience comes in the corner outfield slots and he has a handful of games at first base, so he brings a bit of defensive versatility.

    Sands is the latest veteran outfielder signed by the Giants as the team tries to fix an already-thin outfield that has been further hampered by several injuries.  San Francisco has added the likes of Melvin Upton Jr., Drew Stubbs and Justin Ruggiano on minors deals, with little impact (Upton underwent wrist surgery and Ruggiano was recently designated for assignment).  Hunter Pence’ imminent return from the DL will be a big help for the Giants, but with left field still a question mark, there is certainly opportunity for Sands to return to the majors.

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    Giants' Struggles Run Through Organization https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/chad-bettis-rehab-rockies-jon-gray-david-dahl-injuries-taijuan-walker-blister-alex-wood-shoulder-giants.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/chad-bettis-rehab-rockies-jon-gray-david-dahl-injuries-taijuan-walker-blister-alex-wood-shoulder-giants.html#comments Sat, 03 Jun 2017 02:33:16 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=93604
  • Things are obviously not going well for the Giants in 2017; indeed, as Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News observes, not only is the major league outfit struggling, but all of the organization’s affiliates are currently sitting in last place. GM Bobby Evans says that may be due in part to the fact that the club has pushed younger players up the ladder somewhat rapidly — especially pitchers. Looking back at the MLB outfit, top righty Johnny Cueto had some notable words on the current atmosphere in the clubhouse. Drawing a distinction to his prior clubs, Cueto says the Giants players tend to be on their own, just sitting at their locker, very quiet, just by themselves.”
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    Giants To Purchase Contract Of Austin Slater https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/giants-to-purchase-contract-of-austin-slater.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/06/giants-to-purchase-contract-of-austin-slater.html#comments Thu, 01 Jun 2017 17:55:58 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=93501 The Giants will purchase the contract of outfielder Austin Slater, according to Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News. Slater, 24, was taken in the eighth round of the 2014 draft.

    A corresponding move has yet to be reported, but the Giants will need to clear roster space to make way for Slater. While that could involve optioning youngster Christian Arroyo, a 40-man move of some kind will be needed regardless.

    Slater has thrived in the upper minors since the start of the 2016 season. All told, he owns a .308/.381/.487 slash through 474 trips to the plate at Triple-A, with 48 walks to go with 91 strikeouts.

    While the right-handed hitter can play center, it makes sense to expect he’ll find most of his opportunities in left field. San Francisco has struggled to find production from the outfield all year long.

    The struggling Giants could ultimately begin cycling in more new faces, Baggarly notes, if the club can’t quickly break out of its season-long struggles. It seems that light-hitting outfielder Gorkys Hernandez is the most likely player to go to make way for Slater, though a few of other roster spots also appear to be less than secure.

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    MLB Announces Suspensions For Harper, Strickland https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/mlb-announces-suspensions-for-harper-strickland.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/mlb-announces-suspensions-for-harper-strickland.html#comments Wed, 31 May 2017 18:58:44 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=93416 TODAY: Harper’s ban was knocked down to three days upon appeal, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.

    YESTERDAY: Following last night’s brawl, Major League Baseball has announced suspensions for Giants righty Hunter Strickland and Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. As Joel Sherman of the New York Post first tweeted, Strickland will receive a six-game ban, while Harper will miss four contests.

    Both players have appealed their sentences. They’ll also each pay undisclosed fines, per the league announcement.

    The fracas occurred when Strickland plunked Harper in the hip in the first pitch of his plate appearance. The latter charged the mound, with both players landing punches before things were broken up.

    While the two hadn’t even squared off in years, the last time they did it was under dramatic circumstances. Harper, of course, swatted two long home runs off of Strickland in the 2014 NLDS.

    While Strickland did not admit to any intent after the game, the commissioner’s office nevertheless found that he had intentionally struck Harper with the pitch. Per the league’s announcement, his actions were responsible for “inciting the bench-clearing incident and fighting.” As for Harper, one of the game’s most visible players, the ban was announced for “charging the mound, throwing his helmet and fighting.”

    While Harper will officially sit for less games, the punishment will hurt the Nats more than it does the Giants. The former will lose a fair bit of production from one of the game’s best hitters, while the latter will miss out on only a few innings from a quality reliever. That imbalance is ripe for some criticism, though it’s also something of a matter of perspective. If the punishment is intended primarily for the player rather than the team, then perhaps it’s not as skewed as it might otherwise appear. The bigger question, perhaps, is whether suspensions of this length provide sufficient deterrent value at all.

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    Giants Could Demote Christian Arroyo https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/nl-west-notes-kazmir-segedin-arroyo-margot-bettis-wall.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/nl-west-notes-kazmir-segedin-arroyo-margot-bettis-wall.html#comments Sat, 27 May 2017 13:44:32 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=93136
  • With Giants rookie Christian Arroyo going through an extended lull at the plate, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that it’s plausible to imagine him being optioned. With Aaron Hill and Conor Gillaspie both nearing returns from injury, and some alternatives on hand at Triple-A, San Francisco may have little choice but to see if it can get more production elsewhere — while letting Arroyo iron out the kinks back at Sacramento. As SB Nation’s Grant Brisbee further writes, the move makes all the more sense when considering the fact that Eduardo Nunez’s glove likely doesn’t belong in left field.
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    Giants Release Kyle Blanks https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/giants-release-kyle-blanks.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/giants-release-kyle-blanks.html#comments Fri, 26 May 2017 18:48:57 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=93090
  • The Giants have released first baseman/outfielder Kyle Blanks, tweets Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area. The 30-year-old Blanks missed the 2016 campaign with foot injuries and inked a minor league pact with San Francisco this winter. Through 34 games and 92 plate appearances, Blanks has yet to deliver much in the way of offense despite the hitter-friendly nature of the Pacific Coast League. He’s hitting .232/.315/.390 with three homers and four doubles. The former Padres prospect does, however, have an excellent track record in Triple-A, having slashed .291/.390/.546 with 40 homers in 770 total plate appearances at that level.
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    Giants Notes: Shaw, Cueto, Tomlinson, Hwang https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/giants-notes-shaw-cueto-tomlinson-hwang.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/giants-notes-shaw-cueto-tomlinson-hwang.html#comments Thu, 25 May 2017 01:18:19 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=92991 The Giants have promoted 2015 first-round pick Chris Shaw from Double-A to Triple-A, and as Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area writes, the former first baseman will continue his work in left field following the latest promotion. Giants GM Bobby Evans spoke to reporters about Shaw’s impressive run in Double-A (.301/.390/.511, six homers, 10 doubles) and stated that Shaw was simply “ready for the next challenge.” Pavlovic notes that although Shaw is the more highly regarded prospect, fellow minor league outfielder Austin Slater is probably ahead of him in the pecking order when it comes to a potential MLB promotion. Shaw doesn’t need to be added to the 40-man roster this year in order to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft, but Slater, who is hitting .313/.376/.435 in 40 Triple-A games, does. As for Shaw’s ability to handle the outfield despite his considerable 6’4″, 235-pound frame, Evans noted that Shaw played nearly 100 games in the outfield in college and added that the team wants to see if he can get comfortable in left field. That, of course, is perhaps the Giants’ greatest position of need at the Major League level, and Shaw is blocked at first base by Brandon Belt.

    More on the Giants…

    • Right-hander Johnny Cueto was hit hard again in yesterday’s start, and he revealed after the game that he’s been pitching through a pair of blisters on his right hand, writes MLB.com’s Chris Haft. Cueto has one blister on his index finger and another on his middle finger, though he wouldn’t point to that issue as the source of his 2017 struggles. “I’m getting hit,” Cueto said bluntly, noting that the blisters are “not an excuse.” To this point there’s been no talk of a quick stint on the 10-day DL for Cueto to allow his fingers to heal up, though other pitchers around the league (e.g. Rich Hill, Aaron Sanchez) have required multiple absences due to blister troubles.
    • Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News writes that the Giants are giving Kelby Tomlinson continued work in center field with their Triple-A affiliate as hope that he can emerge as a center field alternative on the big league roster. Presently, Gorkys Hernandez and Justin Ruggiano are the team’s only other options beyond starter Denard Span, but neither has provided much in the way of offense. Ruggiano has displayed some pop but is hitting .244/.273/.415, while Hernandez has posted a woeful .160/.248/.213 batting line through 106 plate appearances.
    • Baggarly also notes that Korean star Jae-gyun Hwang is hitting fairly well in Triple-A and is likely to receive a call-up before the July 1 opt-out provision in his contract. Both Evans and manager Bruce Bochy have suggested that they hope to see what they have in Hwang eventually, per Baggarly. Hwang has hit for a respectable average and displayed some power thus far while seeing time at both infield corners and in left field. However, his 32-to-5 K/BB ratio suggests that his approach still needs some refinement. Through 168 plate appearances, he’s hitting .280/.298/.435 with three homers, 12 doubles and a pair of triples.
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    Chris Marrero To Sign With Japan’s Orix Buffaloes https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/chris-marrero-signs-japan-npb-orix-buffaloes.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/chris-marrero-signs-japan-npb-orix-buffaloes.html#comments Wed, 24 May 2017 21:38:11 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=92987 First baseman/left fielder Chris Marrero has agreed to a deal with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, tweets Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News was the first to report that Marrero, who was recently designated for assignment and outrighted by the Giants, was close to joining the Buffaloes (Twitter link).

    The Giants will receive some level of cash compensation for selling Marrero’s contract to the Buffaloes, and Marrero himself will presumably be paid more than he’d have earned if he stuck with the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate, thus making it a winning scenario for all parties involved. Marrero is represented by MSM Sports.

    Marrero, 28, was a first-round pick by the Nationals (15th overall) back in 2006 and made his big league debut with the Nats as a 22-year-old in 2011. However, he’s never solidified himself in the Majors and would only see action in parts of two big league seasons with the Nationals before being cut loose in 2013.

    Since that time, Marrero has bounced around the minor league circuit, logging seasons with the Double-A and Triple-A affiliates for the Orioles, White Sox and Red Sox before signing a minors pact with the Giants this past winter. A Herculean Spring Training in which Marrero clubbed seven homers with a .979 OPS (plus some injuries to his competitors) led Marrero to break camp with the Giants as part of a left-field platoon with Jarrett Parker. However, Marrero hit just .132/.171/.211 across 41 plate appearances with the Giants before being designated for assignment to clear a spot for Christian Arroyo.

    For all of his struggles in the Majors, Marrero has a much stronger .274/.340/.430 career batting line in parts of seven Triple-A seasons. That includes a robust .284/.344/.494 slash and a career-best 23 homers with the Red Sox’ Triple-A affiliate in 2016. If Marrero can find success overseas, he can certainly carve out a lucrative career playing in Japan. Alternatively, he could make some adjustments to his game and pique the interest of an MLB club, perhaps leading to another crack at the Majors somewhere down the line.

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    Denard Span Dealing With Thumb Problem https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/injury-notes-matz-hughes-cardinals-span-flaherty.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/injury-notes-matz-hughes-cardinals-span-flaherty.html#comments Tue, 23 May 2017 02:45:34 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=92888
  • Giants center fielder Denard Span is limited by a left thumb problem, he told reporters including Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link). It doesn’t appear as if it’s something that’ll require a DL stint, but it does represent yet another nick for the 33-year-old. Span is hitting just .258/.296/.398 on the year thus far, with a shoulder injury also having limited him in the early going.
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    2017 Opt-Out Clause Update https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/2017-18-opt-out-clause-update.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/2017-18-opt-out-clause-update.html#comments Tue, 23 May 2017 00:39:00 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=92850 Recently, I took a quick look at all of the players with vesting options for the 2018 season, noting that many of the outcomes within will have significant ramifications for both the upcoming free-agent market and the future of those players’ respective teams. The implications are even greater for the eight players that have opt-out provisions of some type at the end of the current season. In some cases, the opt-out in question could either liberate that player’s team from more than $80MM in future commitments or saddle them with that same burdensome amount. (And, in most cases, if the player isn’t opting out, the remaining salary is indeed a burden, as the player either performed too poorly to opt out and/or got hurt.)

    Here’s a look at the opt-out decisions that are looming at season’s end…

    • Justin Upton, Tigers: The disastrous start to Upton’s six-year, $132.5MM contract now looks like a distant memory. After struggling to a .228/.286/.369 batting line through his first three months in the Motor City, Upton has surged with a .255/.342/.535 slash and 31 home runs over his past 471 big league plate appearances. Strikeouts are still an issue for Upton, but he’s also walking more than ever (15 percent in 2017). He’s on pace to finish the season right around the 30-homer mark, and if he can do so with an OBP in the mid-.300s and respectable marks in left field — he’s currently at +4 DRS and +3.4 UZR — then the remaining four years and $88.5MM on his contract will pose an interesting decision for Upton, who is currently playing out his age-29 season.
    • Johnny Cueto, Giants: Cueto looked like an ace in his first year with San Francisco but has stumbled to a 4.50 ERA through his first 58 innings with the Giants in 2017. He’s still averaging better than eight punchouts per nine innings to go along with solid (but diminished) control. However, he’s seen his ground-ball rate plummet from 50 percent to 39 percent, and paired with the increase in walk rate (1.8 BB/9 to 2.5 BB/9), that has led to some issues. There’s still plenty of time for Cueto to get back on track, but the remaining four years and $84MM on his contract doesn’t look quite as easy to walk away from as it did just seven weeks ago. He’ll be 32 next season.
    • Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees: Cueto’s slow start looks Cy Young-worthy when juxtaposed with Tanaka, who has logged a ghastly 6.56 ERA through 48 innings in 2017. Like Cueto, Tanaka has seen his control take a step back, though his strikeout and ground-ball rates are consistent, and his velocity is fine. Tanaka’s average on balls in play is up, however, and his homer-to-flyball rate has skyrocketed from 12 percent to 24.5 percent. Given his age (29 in November), Tanaka would be a virtual lock to opt out of the remaining three years and $67MM on his contract with a good season. If he can’t overcome his home-run woes, however, he may instead opt for the substantial amount of guaranteed cash remaining on his deal.
    • Wei-Yin Chen, Marlins: Chen’s opt-out is perhaps the easiest to determine of any player on this list. Unfortunately for the Marlins, that’s due to the fact that he’s currently sidelined indefinitely due to arm troubles. Chen is on the disabled list with arm fatigue, though it’s been reported previously that he’d been pitching through a slight tear in his ulnar collateral ligament, which was sustained in 2016. Chen hasn’t pitched well as a Marlin even when healthy, and at this point it would take a quick recovery and a dominant finish for him to even consider opting out of the remaining three years and $52MM on his contract.
    • Ian Kennedy, Royals: Kennedy has logged a solid 3.74 ERA in 233 1/3 innings since signing a five-year deal with Kansas City, but he’s already in his age-32 season. His strikeout rate and control have taken a step back in 2017 as well, and he’s remained homer-prone despite pitching half his games at the spacious Kauffman Stadium. Kennedy turned in a very strong final four months in his last contract season — which helped him land this surprising contract in the first place — but it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll opt out of the remaining three years and $49MM on his current contract.
    • Greg Holland, Rockies: To be clear, Holland cannot technically opt out of his contract just yet. The one-year, $7MM contract that he signed with the Rox contained a $10MM mutual option that can vest as a $15MM player option if Holland finishes 30 games. At this juncture, though, it seems as if an injury is all that can stop Holland’s player option from vesting. He’s already finished 20 of the 30 games he needs, and he’s currently boasting a preposterous 0.96 ERA with a 26-to-6 K/BB ratio through 18 2/3 innings. Apparently, pitching at Coors Field suits Holland just fine, though if he keeps this up, it’s a foregone conclusion that he’ll turn down the one year and $15MM he’d receive for a second season at Coors and hit the market in search of a lucrative three- or four-year contract.
    • Matt Wieters, Nationals: The stagnant offseason market for Wieters’ services culminated in a two-year, $21MM contract with the Nats that offers Wieters the opportunity to test free agency once again next winter, if he wishes. To this point, it’s looking likely that Wieters will pass on that player option. His walks, hard-hit rate and BABIP are up, none of which has come at the expense of his strikeout rate. Wieters is hitting a solid .283/.358/.442 with four homers on the year. His caught-stealing rate is down (23 percent), and his framing remains questionable, but the improved offense makes it seem likely that, even if Wieters again struggles to find the strong multi-year deal he craves, a contract comparable to the one year and $10.5MM he can opt out of will once again be available on the open market.
    • Welington Castillo, Orioles: Castillo’s two-year, $13MM contract with the Orioles was a pleasant surprise for a player who had previously been locked into arbitration in Arizona before surprisingly being non-tendered. He’s off to a torrid .348/.375/.543 start to the season with four homers and six doubles through 96 plate appearances. There’s a fair bit of luck involved in that production, as evidenced by the 30-year-old’s .418 BABIP. But his strikeouts are down this season, and he’s thrown out a career-best 41 percent of attempted base thieves. His framing marks, while still below average, have improved on a per-pitch basis as well. His glove may prevent him from fully cashing in, but Castillo’s bat could make the remaining one year and $7MM on his contract easy enough to walk away from, assuming he’s healthy.
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    Heyman’s Latest: Nats, Cutch, Marlins, Cole, Cobb https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/heymans-latest-nats-cutch-marlins-cole-cobb.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/heymans-latest-nats-cutch-marlins-cole-cobb.html#comments Fri, 19 May 2017 02:24:03 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=92593 Jon Heyman of Fan Rag takes a look around the league in his latest notes columns. In addition to providing updates on every National League and American League team, he takes a particularly close look at the Nationals in separate posts. Let’s take a look at some of the items of particular relevance to the transactional landscape:

    • The Nationals are beginning to put in phone calls to rivals as they start the search for a new closer in earnest, Heyman writes. Among the players under consideration by the team, at present, are a variety of names with differing contract situations. David Robertson of the White SoxKelvin Herrera of the Royals, and A.J. Ramos of the Marlins all have two years remaining at less-than-bargain rates (the latter two via arbitration). Alex Colome of the Rays and Roberto Osuna of the Blue Jays, meanwhile, bring more years of cheap control — and, in all likelihood, astronomical asking prices. Then there’s old friend Mark Melancon, who is in the first year of the four-year pact he signed with the Giants — who evidently beat the Nats’ offer over the winter. Needless to say, there’s quite a lot that could change that picture over the coming months.
    • Looking back a bit, the Nationals came closer than any other team to landing Andrew McCutchen from the Pirates over the winter, Heyman adds.Per the report, the sides held talks that “revolved around three players, including Lucas Giolito and veteran Gio Gonzalez.” It’s not immediately clear what else might have been involved, and where things went south, but it’s interesting to hear those parameters. The Nats ultimately pivoted to Adam Eaton, of course, but he’s now out for the year. Perhaps it’s conceivable that the team could take another look at McCutchen, though no doubt the teams would need to start discussions anew with Giolito in Chicago, Gonzalez a key member of the Nats staff and McCutchen struggling.
    • The Marlins sale talks had seemingly been building, but Heyman writes that there’s no deal ready to be made at present. For one thing, there are whispers that the purchase price will continue to drop as the organization’s financial health comes under greater scrutiny. For another, there are still questions about where the money will come from on the buyer’s side. “[A]t least the Bush-Jeter group and maybe the Romney-Glavine group, too, [are] still seeking investors,” per Heyman.
    • Two significant recent investments made by the Marlins aren’t delivering value at present. Per Heyman, lefty Wei-Yin Chen is headed for a second opinion with his elbow issue still failing to progress. It seems the team could be bracing for a relatively lengthy absence. And Heyman notes that some in the baseball operations department weren’t thrilled at the idea of extending Martin Prado last year at $40MM over three years. He has been playing well enough, but is back on the DL with a recurring hamstring injury.
    • Pirates righty Gerrit Cole has looked strong in the early going, but Heyman says the team may not be interested in dealing him even if they continue to lag in the standings. “We’re not in any rush,” a club source tells him. “I don’t think we’re there yet.” The 26-year-old owns a 2.84 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 1.0 BB/9; while the peripherals are largely in line with his 2016 work, the improved results are supported by jumps in swinging-strike rate (9.9%) and average fastball velocity (a career-high 96.1 mph). With two more years of arb eligibility to go, Cole would likely command a big price at the deadline.
    • While the Rays entered play today just one game under .500, that doesn’t mean they aren’t readying for the possibility of selling. Of course, given the team’s pitching depth, it’s imaginable that the team could send out a veteran while still maintaining hopes of cracking the postseason. Per Heyman, Tampa Bay has “already begun calling to get a gauge on the value of Alex Cobb.” Rivals also think the club will be amenable to discussing both Jake Odorizzi and Chris Archer, he adds. Cobb, though, is the most obvious possible trade chip. The 29-year-old was homer-prone in his return from Tommy John surgery last year, but has looked solid through 56 1/3 innings this year — his last before reaching free agency. He carries a 3.67 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 to go with a 47.5% groundball rate. Cobb still isn’t getting swings and misses like he used to, but his velocity is better than ever and he has tamped down on the long balls thus far.
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    Giants Activate Melancon https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/nl-west-notes-bettis-rox-cahill-cosart-melancon.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/nl-west-notes-bettis-rox-cahill-cosart-melancon.html#comments Thu, 18 May 2017 02:53:10 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=92491
  • The Giants had planned to activate Mark Melancon from the disabled list this Friday but chose to bring him back two days earlier than expected, writes Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area. San Francisco entered the day with the opportunity to close out a sweep of the division-rival Dodgers but knew that interim closer Derek Law wouldn’t be available after pitching four out of five days. The Giants were shut down by Clayton Kershaw, however, rendering Melancon’s early activation a bit of a moot point. The Giants entered the day with five straight wins under their belts (six in their past seven games), however, and the return of Melancon should only deepen the relief corps. Even after their recent improvements, though, the Giants are still in a 17-25 hole — nine games back from the division lead. Kelby Tomlinson was optioned to Triple-A to clear room for Melancon.
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    Giants Agree To Deal With Collin Balester https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/minor-mlb-transactions-51617.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/minor-mlb-transactions-51617.html#comments Wed, 17 May 2017 02:10:16 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=92352
  • The Giants reached a minors deal with righty Collin Balester. The 30-year-old appeared briefly last year in the Korea Baseball Organization’s Samsung Lions. His most recent affiliated action came in 2015, when he posted solid results in the upper minors but struggled to a 7.47 ERA over 15 2/3 MLB innings.

    [SOURCE LINK]
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    Pence To 10-Day DL; Melancon Very Near To Return https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/injury-notes-giants-red-sox-indians-jays-jankowski.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/injury-notes-giants-red-sox-indians-jays-jankowski.html#comments Tue, 16 May 2017 01:21:15 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=92334 The Giants announced tonight that right fielder Hunter Pence has been placed on the 10-day disabled list due to a left hamstring strain. Fellow outfielder Mac Williamson is up from Triple-A Sacramento to take Pence’s spot on the roster. The loss of Pence is the latest blow to a Giants roster that has seen a number of key players go down with injuries this year, though Pence’s performance hasn’t been anywhere near what one would expect from the typically productive slugger. The 34-year-old has been at least 18 percent better than the league-average hitter in each of the past four seasons, per park-adjusted metrics OPS+ and wRC+, and he’s batted a combined .281/.339/.463 in that time. However, this year, he’s mustered just a .243/.289/.338 batting line through his first 149 plate appearances.

    • Giants closer Mark Melancon is on the mend and appears to be progressing well, as the right-hander told reporters that he threw a 22-pitch mound session today (Twitter links via John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle and Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. Melancon said that he was “pretty much full go,” and Pavlovic notes that he can be activated as soon as tomorrow. Derek Law has been filling in as San Francisco’s closer with Melancon on the shelf.
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    Giants Could Place Hunter Pence On DL https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/quick-hits-palermo-rays-reds-giants.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/quick-hits-palermo-rays-reds-giants.html#comments Sun, 14 May 2017 21:53:36 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=92225
  • The Giants are mulling a stint on the disabled list for right fielder Hunter Pence, relays Michael Wagaman of MLB.com. Pence, who has been on the shelf this weekend, underwent an MRI on Sunday that revealed a mild hamstring strain. The 34-year-old is among the many Giants who have started slowly this season, having hit just .243/.289/.338 in 149 plate appearances.
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    Giants' Veterans Lacking Trade Value https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/west-notes-giants-dodgers-mariners-rangers.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/west-notes-giants-dodgers-mariners-rangers.html#comments Sun, 14 May 2017 17:05:17 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=92173 Off to a major league-worst 14-24 start, the Giants look like sellers in the making. The problem is that the veterans they could attempt to move are lacking in trade value, observes Buster Olney of ESPN. The best of the bunch is Johnny Cueto, but the offseason opt-out clause in the right-hander’s contract takes away some of his appeal. Then there’s righty Jeff Samardzija, who owns a 5.44 ERA in 46 1/3 innings (albeit with a 3.43 FIP) and is due upward of $60MM through 2020, as well as aging outfielders Hunter Pence and Denard Span. The 34-year-old Pence is making $18.5MM both this year and next, while Span, 33, is on a $9MM salary through 2018 and has a $4MM buyout for 2019.

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    Mark Melancon Progressing Well https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/injury-notes-hill-ethier-agon-bailey-melancon-mariners-kluber-gray.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/injury-notes-hill-ethier-agon-bailey-melancon-mariners-kluber-gray.html#comments Sat, 13 May 2017 02:38:08 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=92084
  • Further north, the Giants have cause for hope that closer Mark Melancon will require only the brief DL timeline the club had charted when he was taken off the active roster. As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports on Twitter, Melancon is reporting reduced symptoms in his forearm. The righty will test things out by playing catch tomorrow.
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    Giants Place Mark Melancon On 10-Day DL https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/giants-place-mark-melancon-on-10-day-dl.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/giants-place-mark-melancon-on-10-day-dl.html#comments Wed, 10 May 2017 02:52:38 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=91905 9:52pm: The hope is that Melancon will be ready to be activated on May 16th, the earliest he’d be available given his backdated DL placement, as Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area was among those to tweet. Manager Bruce Bochy noted that the veteran hurler has been pitching through some discomfort for a few weeks, with the team evidently deciding now was time to try to get him past the issue.

    6:21pm: The Giants have placed closer Mark Melancon on the 10-day DL, Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reports on Twitter. The team is calling his injury a “mild right pronator strain.”

    At the moment, it’s not clear how long Melancon is expected to miss. It’s promising, at least, that the team has specified the strain is “mild.” But any forearm issue comes with potential implications for elbow health, so the club will need to exercise care in getting Melancon back to the hill.

    The news is yet another blow to a San Francisco team that has drastically underperformed expectations after promising Melancon $62MM over four years to solve the club’s ninth-inning woes of last year. The veteran reliever has held up his end of the bargain — he carries a 2.53 ERA through 10 2/3 innings, with a typically excellent K/BB ratio (10:1) — but not much else has gone right for the Giants thus far.

    It seems likely Derek Law will get the first crack at the closer’s job while Melancon is down, Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area writes. Hunter Strickland would also seem to have a shot at factoring in the mix.

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    Doug Fister Close To Signing; Mets Not Involved https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/doug-fister-close-to-signing.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/doug-fister-close-to-signing.html#comments Tue, 09 May 2017 15:11:30 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=91869 10:11am: Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Mets are not signing Fister. He characterizes the Angels as one of multiple “serious considerations” for Fister.

    9:48am: Free-agent right-hander Doug Fister is close to signing with a yet-unreported team, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (Twitter link). Though Fister has had interest from both the AL and NL, he’s likely to land with a National League club, per Heyman. In a second tweet, Heyman notes that the D-backs are “in the mix” on Fister, adding that he hasn’t heard much tying him to the Mets as of late. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets that the Mets, D-backs, Giants, Angels and Blue Jays have all been in the mix to varying extents.

    From the listed teams, the Mets jump out as the club in most dire need of rotation reinforcements, as New York has lost Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Seth Lugo to injuries already, while right-handers Matt Harvey, Robert Gsellman and Zack Wheeler have all struggled thus far in 2017. The Mets are hopeful that Matz and Lugo will be able to return in late May or early June, though there’s no guarantee that either comes back at full strength just yet. And Wheeler, of course, is on an innings limit in 2017 after missing the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons due to Tommy John surgery.

    The D-backs, of course, have had their own brush with injuries, having lost right-hander Shelby Miller for the season due to a torn ulnar collateral ligament that necessitated Tommy John surgery. Arizona, though, seemingly has better depth at the upper levels of its farm, with Braden Shipley, Anthony Banda and Zack Godley among the potential rotation options currently in Triple-A (to say nothing of right-hander Archie Bradley, who is currently in the Major League bullpen but could likely start if deemed necessary).

    As for the Giants, they lost Madison Bumgarner for what will likely be most of the first half of the season, if not more, due to a controversial dirtbike accident that resulted in a shoulder injury. None of the Giants’ other starters — Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Matt Moore, Matt Cain or Ty Blach — has mustered an ERA south of 4.50 on the season. The Giants also traded one of their upper-level depth options, Clayton Blackburn, to the Rangers earlier this year. However, with Tyler Beede and Chris Stratton both in Triple-A, the Giants do possess some upper-level options should they decide to shuffle the rotation.

    The Angels and Blue Jays, of course, both have plenty of cause to seek rotation help as well. However, Heyman seems to suggest that an AL club isn’t as likely, and that’s a logical line of thinking for Fister, who could likely post better numbers in the National League.

    It should be noted that Fister is hardly a quick fix for any team’s rotation; the right-hander will almost certainly need a fair amount of time to ramp up before he’s ready to join a Major League rotation. And while he comes with plenty of name value, Fister’s fastball has been in the 86-87 mph range in recent seasons. Unsurprisingly, there’s been a corresponding dip in his effectiveness. Last year he proved a durable rotation piece for the Astros (32 starts) but logged just a 4.64 ERA with 5.7 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 in 180 1/3 innings.

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    2018 Vesting Options Update https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/2018-vesting-options-update.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/2018-vesting-options-update.html#comments Tue, 09 May 2017 13:26:27 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=91825 Each year, the free-agent class is impacted by the performance of players with vesting options (as is the financial future of players with said provisions in their contract). For those unfamiliar with the option, a vesting option is typically (though not always) a club option that can automatically trigger based on the player’s health and/or performance. Meeting pre-determined criteria for games played, innings pitched and plate appearances are the most common ways of triggering a vesting option. Some also require that a player avoid the DL at the end of the season and/or for a certain number of games over the course of the year.

    Here’s a look at all of the 2018 player options that can automatically trigger based on the players’ 2017 performance…

    • Matt Cain: The 2017 campaign is the final season of a six-year, $127.5MM extension that Cain signed with the Giants on April 2, 2012. Prior to that point, Cain had been one of the most durable and efficient starters in the NL, but injuries have completely derailed Cain’s career since that 2012 season. Cain hasn’t thrown more than 90 1/3 innings since 2013, and so far he’s delivered just a 4.64 ERA in 455 1/3 innings over the five extra years of control the Giants bought out. If he can reach 200 innings this season and is not on the disabled list due to elbow or shoulder troubles to end the year, his $21.5MM club option would become guaranteed. However, he’s averaging fewer than 5 1/3 innings per start in 2017, and his previous health woes make that decidedly unlikely. His option comes with a $7.5MM buyout, which seems like an inevitable outcome.
    • Andre Ethier: Ethier batted .273/.351/.429 through the first three seasons of his five-year, $85MM extension (including particularly strong efforts in 2013 and 2015), but he played in just 16 games last season and has been on the disabled list for the entire 2017 season (herniated disk in his lower back). His $17.5MM club option would automatically vest with 550 plate appearances this season, but that’s obviously not going to happen, so he’ll receive a $2.5MM buyout instead.
    • Matt Garza: Garza’s four-year, $50MM contract with the Brewers contained one of the more convoluted vesting options in recent memory. Injury concerns surrounding Garza allowed the club to land a team option valued at a base of just $5MM. However, had Garza made 110 starts over the contract’s four years, pitched 115 innings in 2017 and avoided the DL at the end of the 2017 season, the option would’ve become guaranteed at $13MM. On the other side of the coin, the Brewers would’ve been able to pick it up at just $1MM had Garza missed 130 or more days during any single season of the contract. Neither of those scenarios will play out at this point, though. All of that is a long-winded way of saying that Garza’s option won’t be vesting at $13MM and will come at a potentially reasonable rate of $5MM.
    • Gio Gonzalez: Gonzalez’s five-year, $42MM extension came with a $12MM club option for the 2017 season (which was exercised) and a $12MM club/vesting option for the 2018 campaign. If the left-hander reaches 180 innings this season, he’ll be locked in at $12MM next season. For a player as durable as Gonzalez, who averaged 31 starts per year from 2010-16, that seems simple enough. But, Gonzalez has had difficulty working deep into games and has not crossed the 180-inning threshold since 2013. This season, though, he’s already racked up 44 1/3 innings through seven starts — an average of about 6 1/3 frames per outing. He’d need only 29 starts at that pace to trigger the option. And even if he doesn’t sustain that innings pace, if he can avoid the DL and average even 5 1/3 to 5 2/3 innings per start for the rest of the year, he’d accrue enough innings to guarantee that option. Of course, if Gonzalez delivers anything close to the 3.57 ERA he’s turned in through parts of six seasons as a National, the team will likely pick up the option even if it doesn’t vest.
    • J.J. Hardy: Hardy decided to forgo the open market at the end of the 2014 season, instead re-upping with Orioles in early October on a three-year, $40MM deal. His contract comes with a $14MM club option ($2MM buyout) that could automatically vest in the event that Hardy reaches 600 plate appearances this season. Hardy, however, has reached that total just twice in six previous seasons with the Orioles, and he’s hitting a mere .196/.232/.252 through his first 113 plate appearances in 2017. Based on his recent health track record, it could be considered unlikely that he stays healthy enough to trigger the option. But if he does remain healthy and doesn’t turn things around at the plate, the O’s won’t have a hard time justifying a reduction in playing time to prevent the option from vesting.
    • Greg Holland: Holland signed a one-year, $7MM deal with a mutual option for the 2018 season, though so long as he remains healthy it’s effectively a two-year, $22MM contract with a player option/opt-out provision. Holland’s $10MM mutual option becomes a $15MM player option if he appears in 50 total games or finishes 30 games in 2017. He’s come out of the gate roaring as a dominant closer in Colorado, just as he was in Kansas City. Holland has already finished 14 games, meaning he needs just 16 more to trigger that player option and secure the right to re-enter the open market. An injury seems like the only thing that will stand in Holland’s way, as he’s currently sporting a 1.29 ERA with a 17-to-5 K/BB ratio, a career-best 51.6 percent ground-ball rate and a 93.9 mph average fastball through his first 14 innings.
    • Hisashi Iwakuma: After injury concerns stemming from Iwakuma’s physical caused the Dodgers to back out of a reported three-year, $45MM agreement in the 2015-16 offseason, Iwakuma instead returned to the Mariners on a one-year deal with a pair of vesting options. Iwakuma needed 162 innings to trigger his 2017 option, and he needed either 162 innings in 2017 or 324 innings between 2016-17 to trigger his $10MM option for the 2018 season. The 36-year-old racked up 199 innings last year, meaning he now needs just 125 innings in 2017, though he must also avoid the disabled list at season’s end as well. Iwakuma has barely averaged five innings per outing (31 through six starts), but he also needs just 94 more innings this year for that option to kick in.
    • Ricky Nolasco: Nolasco’s option isn’t a standard vesting option, but his $13MM club option would become a player option with 400 innings pitched between 2016-17. The 34-year-old logged 197 2/3 innings last year, meaning he’d need 202 1/3 innings in 2017 in order to convert his option. That’s a total that Nolasco has reached only twice in his career, and he’s not on pace to approach that number through his first seven starts of the season. If Nolasco were to make the same number of starts as last season (32), he’d need to average nearly 6 2/3 innings per outing for the rest of the season to reach that level. If he ties his career-high with 33 starts, he’d need to average 6 1/3 frames through season’s end. It’s technically possible that Nolasco does end up with a $13MM player option, but the likelier scenario is that the Halos will choose between a $13MM club option and a $1MM buyout. (Thanks to MLBTR commenters paytoplay and jdobson1822 for pointing out Nolasco’s option.)

    Cot’s Contracts was used in the creation of this post.

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    Brandon Crawford Could Rejoin Giants On Tuesday https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/nl-notes-braun-harvey-marlins-giants.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/nl-notes-braun-harvey-marlins-giants.html#comments Sun, 07 May 2017 21:17:03 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=91750
  • Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, on the DL since April 26 with a right groin strain, could rejoin the team as early as Tuesday, relays John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Crawford will play a Double-A rehab game Monday, and if he gets through it unscathed, his first career DL stint will end.
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    Five Teams Interested In Doug Fister https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/five-teams-interested-in-doug-fister.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/five-teams-interested-in-doug-fister.html#comments Sun, 07 May 2017 15:41:51 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=91720 A month after they first drew a connection to free agent right-hander Doug Fister, the Mets are still considering signing the 33-year-old, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. New York was among four teams to watch Fister throw last week, joining the Blue Jays, Diamondbacks and Angels, reports Cotillo, who adds that the Giants also took a recent look at him.

    The Mets’ rotation is in far worse straits than it was when they were eyeing Fister in early April. Ace Noah Syndergaard has since landed on the disabled list with a partially torn right lat, and he’s unlikely to return until after the All-Star break. Meanwhile, Steven Matz and Seth Lugo still haven’t pitched this year as a result of elbow problems, and Matt Harvey, Robert Gsellman and Zack Wheeler have logged subpar results. In the Mets’ view, Harvey also hasn’t been a model member of the organization behind the scenes, evidenced by the three-day suspension he’s currently serving.

    The other four teams targeting Fister have also seen their rotations deal with injuries. Two of Toronto’s top starters, Aaron Sanchez and J.A. Happ, are on the DL. Arizona lost Shelby Miller to a season-ending elbow injury last month, leaving it without an obvious solution to team with Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Taijuan Walker and Patrick Corbin. Los Angeles is without two of its starters, Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs, both of whom are on the DL. Lastly, San Francisco’s ace, Madison Bumgarner, will sit out until at least midsummer thanks to a dirt bike accident, and fellow starters Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Matt Moore, Matt Cain and Ty Blach have recorded mediocre to poor results in the early going.

    Like the Giants’ starters, the soft-tossing Fister hasn’t been all that effective of late. Once a legitimate middle-of-the-rotation arm (if not more), Fister produced like a back-end type with the Nationals and Astros from 2015-16, posting a 4.48 ERA and a 4.68 FIP in 283 1/3 innings. Further, whether he signs a major league deal or a minor league pact, Fister will surely need some time to tune up at the lower levels before potentially contributing in the big leagues this season.

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    Luxury Tax Could Give Giants Incentive To Sell https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/rosenthals-latest-a-rod-marlins-darvish-giants.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/rosenthals-latest-a-rod-marlins-darvish-giants.html#comments Sun, 07 May 2017 00:40:20 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=91685
  • The Giants, off to a miserable start, look like sellers in the making. That’s even more true when considering the luxury tax, Rosenthal points out. The Giants exceeded the threshold in the each of the previous two years, and doing so for a third straight season would force them to pay a 50 percent tax (up from their current 30 percent). But if San Francisco rids itself of enough money to get under the limit, it would reset the tax to 20 percent. Trading right-hander Johnny Cueto would help the Giants’ cause from a financial standpoint, though his looming opt-out clause could complicate his market, observes Rosenthal.

    [SOURCE LINK]
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