San Francisco Giants – MLB Trade Rumors Tue, 22 Jan 2019 14:14:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Cardinals Linked To Will Smith Mon, 21 Jan 2019 15:26:07 +0000
  • If the Cardinals do make a move, writes Mark Saxon of The Athletic (subscription required), they’d likely be zeroed in on versatile position players and bullpen help. “Theorizing that relievers and guys who play multiple positions are what we’re looking at is probably not the worst theory in the world,” said general manager Mike Girsch late last week. If anything, though, it seems that the Cardinals will be more opportunistic rather than setting their sights on one specific player to pursue him at all costs. Saxon does run through some remaining free agents who could hold interest, noting that Oliver Perez could make some sense “if the Cardinals don’t want to pay the asking price in trade talks with the San Francisco Giants for Will Smith.”
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    Latest On Josh Harrison’s Market Sun, 20 Jan 2019 18:38:38 +0000 The Dodgers, Giants, Angels, Phillies and Rays are all in on free agent Josh Harrison at the moment, according to Jon Heyman of Fancred.

    Reported interest from the Giants and Angels isn’t anything new for Harrison, but this is the first time the Dodgers, Phillies and Rays have been connected to him in any major way this offseason. The 31-year-old Harrison is available on the heels of a below-average season with the Pirates, who declined his $10.5MM club option in favor of a $1MM buyout afterward, but has typically been a decent offensive player and a solid, versatile defender during his career. Consequently, Harrison has drawn widespread interest on the open market.

    A .277/.317/.408 hitter in 3,012 plate appearances, Harrison has posted a 98 wRC+ and a 97 OPS+, falling just shy of the league-average mark of 100. He has also accrued significant reps at second, third and in the corner outfield, though the vast majority of his 2018 playing time came at the keystone.

    Harrison would provide the Dodgers yet another multi-position defender, and as a right-handed hitter, he’d give the lefty-heavy team some variety in its lineup. For Philly, Harrison may be a fallback option at third base in the event the club doesn’t sign free agent Manny Machado, though it’s debatable at best whether the former is superior to current starter Maikel Franco. The Phillies already have a quality starter at second in Cesar Hernandez, so it’s doubtful Harrison would see much action there. Unlike both the big-spending Dodgers and Phillies, the Rays operate with a bottom-of-the-barrel payroll. Still, they should be able to afford Harrison, who’d offer them further protection behind second baseman Joey Wendle, third baseman Matt Duffy and corner outfielders Tommy Pham and Austin Meadows.

    Giants Rumors: Longoria, S. Gray Sun, 20 Jan 2019 05:43:37 +0000
  • Giants third baseman Evan Longoria lamented the slow-moving free-agent process in an Instagram post Friday, criticizing the advent of new metrics which he believes devalue players. Regardless of whether you agree with Longoria’s stance, one doesn’t need analytics to figure out he disappointed in 2018, his first year with the Giants, as the former Rays superstar slashed a mere .244/.281/.413 in 512 plate appearances. On the heels of that subpar showing, San Francisco’s “gauging” interest in Longoria on the trade front, Jon Heyman of Fancred reports. Although, as Heyman points out, moving Longoria would be a significant challenge for the Giants. Not only is he a 33-year-old coming off a career-worst season, but Longoria has another $72.5MM left on the extension he signed as a Ray in 2012, and his contract also includes a $2MM assignment bonus in the seemingly improbable event the Giants trade him.
  • The Reds are reportedly close to acquiring Yankees right-hander Sonny Gray, but he had been on the Giants’ “radar,” Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. For the most part, though, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi is seeking controllable hurlers who come with minor league options, per Schulman, and Gray didn’t fit either category. Gray’s only under wraps for another year, though adding him would have meant a return to the Bay Area – where he largely held his own in Oakland from 2013-17 – as well as a reunion with former A’s executive Zaidi.
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    Ricky Romero Announces Retirement Sat, 19 Jan 2019 04:30:42 +0000 Left-handed hurler Ricky Romero recently announced his retirement in an Instagram post that flew under our radar at the time. He hangs up his spikes at 34 years of age.

    At one point, the former sixth-overall draft pick looked to be among the game’s better young pitchers — a quality rotation piece who could handle a big innings load, even if not an ace. But his career spun out in surprisingly quick and conclusive fashion, and he was never able to get it going again.

    Upon breaking into the majors in 2009, Romero turned in a string of productive seasons, improving his bottom-line results as he went. He inked a $30.1MM extension in the midst of the 2010 campaign, a significant contract that nevertheless seemed destined to be a good one for the organization after the ensuing campaign.

    Romero’s third season in the majors was his best — a 225-inning, 2.92 ERA gem in 2011. He earned an All-Star nod and placed tenth in the American League Cy Young voting. Though he was not then and never would be much of a strikeout pitcher, Romero induced loads of grounders (54.7%) and certainly seemed capable of continuing to deliver strong results for years to come.

    Unfortunately, disaster struck in 2012. Romero pitched a full season, but that may not have been wise. As he discussed with Vice Sports more recently, he was battling through pain over the course of that season. Romero  ended the year with a 5.77 ERA, an ugly combination of 6.2 K/9 and 5.2 BB/9, and lingering health issues — he ultimately required surgery for matching torn quad tendons — that he never fully recovered from.

    As it turned out, Romero would only throw 7 1/3 MLB frames after the end of his age-27 season. The Blue Jays ended up cutting their losses and absorbing the remainder of the money they owed Romero. He ended up landing with the Giants in an effort to find himself, but never managed to gain traction during his three years with the organization. A brief run in the Mexican League also fizzled out.

    As the above-linked piece documents, Romero had tried more recently to get on track by engaging a few trusted advisers and trying to get his flow back. Obviously, that attempt did not enable the southpaw to make it back to the major league hill, but it certainly can’t be said that he fell short for a lack of trying. MLBTR wishes Romero the best in his future undertakings.

    Giants Won't Rely Heavily On Opener, Could Still Move Smith Or Watson Thu, 17 Jan 2019 17:15:09 +0000
  • The Giants may use the “opener” strategy at times in 2019 but won’t be among the league’s most aggressive teams with it, writes Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Madison Bumgarner, Derek Holland and Jeff Samardzija will all be treated as traditional starters, though Schulman notes that president of baseball ops Farhan Zaidi has recently expressed a desire to manage the workloads of younger arms like Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez “for their future and for ours.” Schulman’s column explores multiple avenues to achieving that goal and features multiple quotes from Zaidi and skipper Bruce Bochy on the pitching staff that Giants fans will surely want to check out in full. Schulman also reiterates that it’s still possible the Giants could explore trades of either Will Smith or Tony Watson as they seek additional rotation and outfield options. Both lefty relievers can become free agents next offseason.
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    Pitching Market Rumors: Giants, Gray, Rangers, Allen, Scrabble Mon, 14 Jan 2019 23:21:25 +0000 The pitching market continues to proceed at a steady but unhurried pace, with today’s reunion between the Giants and Derek Holland marking the latest signing of note. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle was among those to cover the news from the team’s perspective. While the organization has undergone front office changes since Holland wrapped up a solid performance on a one-year deal in 2018, new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi still made the call to bring back the southpaw. That was due in no small part to the club’s positive experience with him last year, both on and off the field. Zaidi emphasized that the team still wants to find more rotation depth this winter, though it’s far from clear that any further MLB signings will be pursued. It certainly seems possible that the club will add plausible rotation pieces via trade or on minor-league deals.

    Here’s the latest on the pitching market:

    • Talks surrounding Sonny Gray have “ramped up” since Yankees’ lefty CC Sabathia was cleared to resume baseball activities last week, Fancred’s Jon Heyman tweets. The Yankees are discussing Gray with six teams, including the Reds, per Heyman, though previous reports had indicated that Cincinnati’s interest had cooled off since adding Alex Wood and Tanner Roark. Gray agreed to a $7.5MM salary over the weekend, falling shy of MLBTR’s $9.1MM projection and perhaps making him a bit more appealing to clubs who’ve already added a fair bit of payroll this offseason.
    • The Rangers are maintaining interest in adding some free-agent arms to their bullpen and have been in recent contact with the representatives for right-handers Adam Ottavino and Cody Allen, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter links). However, the likelier route is that the Rangers will add multiple lower-cost relievers rather than one higher-end piece. Rosenthal adds Adam Warren to the list of potential Texas targets and notes that the Rangers are also still looking to add an infielder. Meanwhile, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes that the Twins still have interest in Allen. Minnesota was connected to Allen earlier this winter and has since signed Blake Parker, though they’re still in the market for additional relief help. Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey knows Allen quite well from his days in the Indians’ front office.
    • Free-agent lefty Marc Rzepczynski is hosting a showcase for big league teams tomorrow, tweets Fancred’s Jon Heyman. The 33-year-old southpaw struggled tremendously in 2018 both at the Majors and in Triple-A, and he’ll look to audition for clubs on what figures to be a minor league deal with a chance to reestablish himself as a credible option. “Scrabble” has worked as a lefty specialist for the bulk of his career, as he hasn’t topped 50 innings since 2011 despite averaging 64 MLB appearances per season from 2012-17. In his career, he’s held lefties to an awful .225/.296/.305 batting line through 857 plate appearances.
    Giants Re-Sign Derek Holland Mon, 14 Jan 2019 18:06:14 +0000 The Giants have made the first addition to their rotation under new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, announcing on Monday that they’ve re-signed left-hander Derek Holland to a one-year deal with a club option for the 2020 season.

    Derek Holland | Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

    Holland’s contract reportedly comes with a $7MM guarantee in the form of a $6.5MM base salary for the 2019 season and a $500K buyout on a 2020 option that has the same $6.5MM base. The option year’s base salary will increase to $7MM if he makes 24 starts in 2019, $7.5MM if he makes 28 starts and $8.5MM if he makes 32 starts. All told, the Martini Sports Management client can earn $15MM over the next two seasons if he remains healthy and the option is exercised.

    Holland, 32, enjoyed a career revival with the Giants last season. Once a promising young lefty with the Rangers, Holland missed the vast majority of the 2014 season due to microfracture surgery in his left knee, and shoulder issues plagued him in each of the next two seasons. A one-year deal to rebuild his stock with the White Sox in 2017 didn’t pan out, but last year’s minor league deal with the Giants proved to be one of the season’s most productive minor league signings.

    Holland led Giants pitchers in games started (30) and in total innings (171 1/3), pitching to a 3.57 ERA with 8.9 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.00 HR/9 and a 39.8 percent ground-ball rate. Holland’s velocity didn’t return to it peak levels (94.3 mph) and probably never will, as he averaged just 91.6 mph on his heater last season. However, that’s not to say his success isn’t sustainable; the lefty’s swinging-strike rate jumped from 7.1 percent to 10.1 percent from 2017 to 2018, and his opponents’ chase rate on out-of-zone pitches jumped by a hefty 5.6 percent (from 25 percent to 30.6 percent).

    Mutual interest between the two sides was no secret, with Holland saying near the end of the season that he would like to return to the Giants in 2019 and beyond. The lefty also drew interest from other clubs, most recently including the Mets and the Reds, and the Rangers were also said to have interest in a reunion. Instead, he’ll return to one of the game’s premier pitchers’ parks — the recently re-named Oracle Park — for at least the forthcoming season.

    With Johnny Cueto likely out for the season following Tommy John surgery, Holland will slot in behind top starter Madison Bumgarner and line up alongside the likes of Dereck Rodriguez, Andrew Suarez and a hopefully healthier Jeff Samardzija in 2019. Left-hander Ty Blach and righties Tyler Beede and Chris Stratton represent alternate rotation options on the 40-man roster, should the need arise.

    The addition of Holland pushes the Giants’ projected Opening Day payroll north of $167MM and brings their luxury tax ledger north of $172MM. It seems likely that some additional moves — be they trades or further free-agent signings — will change that calculus, although Farhan Zaidi strongly downplayed the chances of an offseason Bumgarner trade over the weekend. Of course, if Holland is able to replicate last season’s success but the Giants are unable to rebound as a collective unit, then both he and Bumgarner could find themselves being marketed to contending clubs come July.

    Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first reported the agreement and the terms of the contract (Twitter links).

    Giants Sign Keyvius Sampson, Donovan Solano To Minors Deals Mon, 14 Jan 2019 05:59:41 +0000
  • The Giants have signed righty Keyvius Sampson to a minors deal.  Sampson makes his return to North American baseball after spending 2018 with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization, posting a 4.68 ERA over 161 2/3 IP for the Eagles and posting a league-best 195 strikeouts.  Sampson has pitched for five different MLB organizations during his 10-year pro career, though he only reached the majors for 91 2/3 innings with the Reds in 2015-16.
  • The Giants also signed second baseman Donovan Solano to a minors deal, as per the Giants Prospects Twitter feed.  Solano was a regular for the Marlins in his first three MLB seasons, though he appeared more sporadically for the Marlins and Yankees in 2015-16 and hasn’t since returned to the Show, playing for the Yankees’ and Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliates over the last two seasons.  Playing mostly as a second baseman but with some experience around the infield, Solano has a .257/.306/.331 slash line over 1168 MLB plate appearances.
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    Farhan Zaidi On Giants’ Offseason, Bumgarner Mon, 14 Jan 2019 03:19:45 +0000 In a Friday appearance on the Murph & Mac podcast (audio link and partial transcript here), Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi discussed the relatively slow pace of the offseason, his personal takes on some Giants players, and several other subjects over the course of the interview.  From a hot-stove perspective, Zaidi noted that “we’re hopeful to have an announcement on a signing or a trade here in the next couple of days,” so some type of transaction could be imminent now that we’re more than two days removed from the interview.

    Some more highlights…

    • In general, the Giants’ offseason maneuverings have been made more difficult by their lack of prospect depth and financial flexibility.  “The reality is our organizational stock in both those areas is not particularly high right now.  It just casts a different light on the opportunities that we have out there,” Zaidi said, while adding “I still think we’re going to have those opportunities” as the offseason develops.  Headline-grabbing moves aren’t always the ones that help the team the most, as Zaidi noted that the Giants’ best move of the 2017-18 offseason may have been inking Dereck Rodriguez to a minor league contract.
    • Zaidi reiterated that the Giants aren’t going into a full rebuild, saying “We’re going to do what we can within the constraints we have to put a competitive ballclub out there” in 2019.  Winning the division “is always going to be a goal,” even as Zaidi admits the Dodgers are still the team to beat at this point.
    • A recent report from’s Jon Morosi linking the Brewers and Giants in trade talks about Madison Bumgarner was “overblown,” in Zaidi’s words, as Bumgarner is “a huge part” of San Francisco’s plans to compete next season.  “We spent this offseason having to be realistic with where we are and being willing to listen on anything,” Zaidi said. “But it doesn’t change the fact that Madison Bumgarner is a very central cog to this team.  Nobody is making any outgoing calls on Madison Bumgarner.”
    Players Avoiding Arbitration: National League Sat, 12 Jan 2019 18:15:47 +0000 The deadline for players and teams to exchange arbitration figures passed yesterday at 1pm ET, and there has been a landslide of settlements on one-year deals to avoid an arbitration hearing. We’ll track those settlements from the National League in this post. Once all of the day’s settlements have filtered in, I’ll organize them by division to make them a bit easier to parse.

    It’s worth mentioning that the vast majority of teams have adopted a “file and trial” approach to arbitration, meaning that once arbitration figures are exchanged with a player, negotiations on a one-year deal will cease. The two parties may still discuss a multi-year deal after that point, but the majority of players who exchange figures with their team today will head to an arbitration hearing.

    As always, all salary projections referenced within this post are courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz, and we’ll also be updating our 2019 Arbitration Tracker throughout the day…

    Today’s Updates

    • Rounding out contract numbers for the St. Louis Cardinals, Dominic Leone will take home $1.26MM, Chasen Shreve will make $900K, and outfielder Marcell Ozuna will earn $12.25MM in his last season before free agency, per’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). Ozuna has the most high-impact potential as he looks to rebound from a still-productive season in 2018 that saw his power output hindered at times by a balky shoulder. He still managed 23 home runs and a .280/.325/.433 slash line while playing just about every day outside of a 10-day DL stint late in August.
    • The Diamondbacks came to terms with a slew of players, per Feinsand (via Twitter), including Matt Andriese for $920K, Steven Souza Jr. for $4.125MM, shortstop Nick Ahmed for $3.6625MM, and potential closer Archie Bradley for $1.83MM.
    • The Rockies and starting pitcher Jon Gray have come to an agreement on a $2.935MM deal, per Feinsand (via Twitter). Gray had an up-and-down 2018 that is generally considered to be more promising than the optics of his 5.12 ERA make it seem.
    • The Pirates have come to terms on one-year deals with both of their arbitration eligible players, per Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Left fielder Corey Dickerson signs for $8.5MM, and reliever Keone Kela takes home $3.175MM. It’s a small arb class for the Pirates, whose list will grow next season as players like Josh Bell, Jameson Taillon, and Joe Musgrove, among others, reach their first season of eligibility.
    • The Dodgers signed a couple of their remaining arbitration-eligible players yesterday, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter links). Utility man Chris Taylor has a $3.5MM deal, while outfield Joc Pederson settled at $5MM.

    Earlier Updates

    Read more

    Market Notes: Smith/Watson, Reds, White Sox, AGon Sat, 12 Jan 2019 07:06:28 +0000 Let’s catch up on a few market notes from around the game after a busy day on the arbitration front …

    • The Angels are evidently a team to watch on Giants southpaws Will Smith and Tony Watson, as Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic reports that the teams “have been in constant contact this winter” regarding both pitchers (subscription link). It’s not surprising to see the Halos chasing lefties, as their current staff is quite thin in that area. Whether or not the club will offer up enough to entice the Giants remains to be seen. The San Francisco org is surely willing to deal either or both of these veteran relievers, each of whom is coming off of a strong season with an appealing contract situation, but there figures to be ample interest from other teams as well. With many of the best free agent relievers already off the board, now may be the time for new Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi to market his southpaws in earnest.
    • The Reds are still looking to add another starter, per’s Mark Sheldon. He ticks through some possibilities, though it’s not clear that any particular pitcher is especially likely at this point. Among the potential targets, the Reds are still pursuing Yankees starter Sonny Gray, per Jon Heyman of Fancred (via Twitter). While the New York club made clear at the outset of the winter that Gray was on the block, recent indications are that there’s some consideration of hanging on to him. If nothing else, the Yanks are still trying to get value back. Heyman says that GM Brian Cashman is asking for more than one pitching prospect in return. While it’s doubtful he expects to land a premium arm, the veteran exec is said to be seeking “multiple … upper level guys with a chance.”
    • Likewise, the White Sox are still interested in filling out their rotation, GM Rick Hahn told reporters including Bruce Levine of (Twitter link). While the veteran exec emphasized that the organization still sees Manny Banuelos and Dylan Covey as possibilities, he indicated that depth remains a consideration. Needless to say, neither of those pitchers has established himself as a reliable MLB starter to this point, so it’s unsurprising to hear that the South Siders are still flipping through some external targets.
    • Veteran first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is readying for a showcase in the coming days, Jon Heyman of Fancred reports on Twitter. He’s said to be in “excellent shape,” though teams will surely remain a bit skeptical after two consecutive unproductive campaigns. The 36-year-old Gonzalez was long one of the game’s most respected hitters, of course, but it’s tough to imagine him securing a MLB roster spot on the open market at this stage. Still, there should be some teams with bench bat needs that would be glad to give Gonzalez a shot to show what he’s got left in camp.
    Giants Showing Interest In DJ LeMahieu, Exploring Joe Panik Trades Thu, 10 Jan 2019 16:16:31 +0000 The Giants are discussing trade scenarios involving Joe Panik with multiple clubs, tweets ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who notes that the infield market is beginning to pick up some steam (as evidenced by this morning’s agreement between Brian Dozier and the Nationals). In a related report, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that the Giants are among the teams showing interest in free-agent second baseman DJ LeMahieu.

    It stands to reason that if the Giants have serious interest in bringing LeMahieu on board, they’d first need to move Panik. Both are pure second basemen at this juncture of their respective careers, and even if the Giants had interest in slotting LeMahieu or Panik in at a different position on the infield, third base and shortstop are locked up by Evan Longoria and Brandon Crawford — neither of whom is particularly movable on the trade market (Longoria primarily for financial reasons and Crawford due largely to a full no-trade clause).

    Panik, 28, already avoided arbitration earlier this offseason by agreeing to a one-year, $3.8MM contract. He’s coming off the worst offensive season of his career, having batted .254/.307/.332 with just four home runs in 392 plate appearances — production that rated 23 to 25 percent worse than that of a league-average hitter, based on park-neutral metrics (77 OPS+, 75 wRC+). Panik was a Gold Glover in 2016 and was generally regarded as a plus defender at second base, but his defensive ratings have also slipped in recent seasons.  He’s only a year removed from a productive season at the plate, however, as he hit .288/.347/.421 with 10 long balls in 2017 before thumb and groin injuries hindered his playing time last season.

    As for LeMahieu, he’s perennially among the game’s premier defensive second baseman and has consistently hit for average, though his overall production has wavered somewhat on a year-over-year basis. LeMahieu won a surprise National League batting title when he hit .348/.416/.495 in a career year back in 2016, but while he followed that up with a high-quality .310 average in 2017, his power fell off, as he slugged just .409 that season and posted a .099 ISO (slugging minus batting average). This past season, most of his pop returned, but his overall output checked in at .276/.321/.428 — rather pedestrian production when considering his hitter-friendly home setting (86 wRC+).

    All in all, LeMahieu generally rates as an average or better overall hitter with premium defensive skills. He’s batted a combined .309/.369/.429 across the past four seasons and been one of the toughest strikeouts in the league over that span, punching out in just 14.2 percent of his plate appearances. LeMahieu would provide the Giants with better defense than they expected from Panik even at his peak, and he’d bring a more reliable bat to the table as well — albeit at a considerably higher price point. His past production makes LeMahieu an easy candidate for a solid multi-year deal in free agency, though he won’t cost the Giants anything in terms of draft-pick compensation, as the Rockies did not issue him a qualifying offer at season’s end.

    Brewers, Giants Have Reportedly Discussed Madison Bumgarner Trade Tue, 08 Jan 2019 20:44:48 +0000 TODAY: Morosi now tweets that the Giants have left the Brewers with the impression that “a young starting pitcher — Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, or Freddy Peralta — would need to be part of [an] offer” to make a deal on Bumgarner. Of course, that may only be one portion of a palatable package.

    Whether the Milwaukee organization has any inclination to pay such a price is not evident. It’s also far from clear just how active the discussions really are at this time. Per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, on Twitter, “nothing substantive is being discussed at the moment” regarding Bumgarner.

    YESTERDAY: The Giants and Brewers have had “substantive communication” this offseason regarding a potential Madison Bumgarner trade, Jon Morosi of wrote this morning. While there’s no indication that the sides are particularly likely to reach agreement, it seems there’s serious interest on the part of the Milwaukee organization.

    From the surface, at least, it’s tempting to view this as a possible blockbuster. Morosi suggests a deal involving the star lefty — a still-youthful player with unmatched postseason credentials — could be the only immediate means available for the Giants to “obtain high-end young players.” And the Brewers rotation is more notable for its depth than for big names at the top of the staff — a state of affairs that has often led to outside calls for a major strike.

    Upon closer examination, though, it’s hard to see immense value in the contract rights to the undeniably accomplished hurler. After all, he has not only been limited by injury over the past two seasons, but has exhibited numerous declines in peripheral numbers. To be sure, he has still managed to secure excellent results, and he’s hard to count out at just 29 years of age, but there’s real concern about Bumgarner’s outlook.

    With just one season of control remaining, at a not-insignificant $12MM rate, it’s tough to imagine any team giving up its favorite prospects for the chance to see what’s left in the tank. Neither does it make much sense for new Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi to part with MadBum for little more than cost savings. All said, it’s not entirely surprising that there has been so little chatter this winter on Bumgarner despite the Giants’ reported willingness to move him. Indeed, last we heard (nearly one month back), it was said to be increasingly unlikely he’d be dealt before the start of the season.

    Beyond that, Brewers GM David Stearns proved last year that he won’t be swayed by outside opinions on the state of his club’s pitching staff. While the consensus was that the Milwaukee org needed to bolster the top of its rotation — both last winter and in the mid-season trade period that followed — the club largely elected to go with internal options bolstered by seemingly unexciting outside acquisitions. While the resulting staff was hardly dominant, it was a solid unit (particularly when paired with an excellent bullpen) that allowed the Brewers to exceed expectations.

    All that being said, it’s plenty notable that the Brewers seem to have serious, ongoing interest in Bumgarner. While the sides obviously have not lined up to this point, Morosi goes so far as to say that the Milwaukee club is “most likely” to land Bumgarner if he does end up being moved. The Brew Crew brass is said still to be conducting “internal deliberations” on the matter, suggesting that the two teams are still looking for ways to bridge the gap in negotiations — and, perhaps, that both sides have some reason to think they may be able to do so.

    Giants Acquire Breyvic Valera Sun, 06 Jan 2019 00:33:09 +0000 The Giants have acquired infielder/outfielder Breyvic Valera from the Orioles for cash considerations, per announcements from both teams. Valera’s addition puts the Giants’ 40-man roster at 39.

    The Orioles designated the 26-year-old Valera for assignment Friday, though his stay in limbo didn’t last long. He’ll now reunite with Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, who was the Dodgers’ general manager when they acquired Valera from the Cardinals last April. The Dodgers then dealt Valera to the Orioles last July in a package for superstar Manny Machado.

    The switch-hitting Valera didn’t accrue much playing time with St. Louis, Los Angeles or Baltimore, as he totaled 86 plate appearances and batted .216/.286/.243 with no home runs. But Valera has acquitted himself well at the Triple-A level, where he has slashed .301/.368/.427 with 17 long balls in 1,110 PAs, and has garnered notable minor league playing time at second, short, third and in the outfield. Now Valera – who has a minor league option remaining – could vie for a utility role in San Francisco, which is low on infield/outfield depth in the bigs.

    Quick Hits: Giants, Brewers, Spangenberg, Orioles Sat, 05 Jan 2019 15:57:05 +0000 First-year Giants President of Baseball Ops Farhan Zaidi isn’t feeling the pressure of the offseason quite yet, in part because the offseason action has shifted later and later into the winter. Zaidi doesn’t care to comment publicly about any specific trade talks or which free agents the team might be targeting, but he knows the San Francisco fanbase is growing restless, per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Madison Bumgarner remains their biggest trade chip, but assuming the World Series hero stays in the Bay, relievers Tony Watson and Will Smith have drawn the most interest around the league. Still, their new President is in no rush to jump the market. Despite coming to SF from LA, Zaidi is a small market strategist who spent his first ten years in the game with Oakland before working under long-time Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman. Large market teams like SF and LA have poached front office personnel from smaller markets in part to better avoid the exact type of splashy free agent signing that fans crave. All signs point to Zaidi bringing the Dodger model to the Bay – which isn’t huge payrolls and headline free agents – it’s creative, innovative “small market” thinking first, and dipping into the reserves of their large market second. 

    • The Milwaukee Brewers are fairly confident that offseason signee Cory Spangenberg has room to grow in a couple areas of his game, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. GM David Stearns sees some unrealized power potential in the 6’0″ infielder, but the more actionable area of growth for Spangenberg is his versatility. He mostly played second base and third base as a Padre, with occasional spurts in the outfield (in 2017, he got 25 starts in left field). Stearns sees Spangenberg continuing with outfield work, as well as picking up some time at shortstop in the spring. Defensive metrics haven’t raved about Spangenberg’s work at any position, but even if he’s only a passably below-average defender, there’s something to be said for being passably below-average all over the diamond.
    • The hallways at Orioles HQ aren’t exactly bustling with activity, but the analytics, coaching and front office teams are beginning to fill out. With less than six weeks before the opening of Spring Training, GM Mike Elias is comfortable being in the early stages of building, shaping and refining those departments. Nonetheless, Baltimore’s front office team is – in the fateful parlance of the Emperor – fully armed and operational, per Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun. After clearing out much of the staff both before and after the hiring of Elias, those remaining staffers have been given more responsibility until key vacancies are filled. Koby Perez takes over one of those key roles as the new senior director of international scouting, a position with greater import in Baltimore than perhaps any other organization in the league, as his responsibilities include the management of their robust international bonus pool money. Though they have until June 15th to spend that money, Elias and Perez recognize that the international scouting process is typically a years-long, not a months-long process, per’s Joe Trezza, and they are in no rush to spend to the limit. Though they can spend close to $6MM in that area, they are by no means required to, and there are many areas internally where that sum of money could be put to use.