San Francisco Giants – MLB Trade Rumors https://www.mlbtraderumors.com Tue, 24 Apr 2018 04:11:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Giants Could Face Outfield Logjam https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/quick-hits-farquhar-ichiro-heredia-giants-adolfo.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/quick-hits-farquhar-ichiro-heredia-giants-adolfo.html#comments Mon, 23 Apr 2018 04:49:41 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120617
  • With prospects Austin Slater and Steven Duggar hitting well in Triple-A, the Giants could soon find themselves with an outfield logjam, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes.  Gregor Blanco and Gorkys Hernandez are both out of options and playing well, though they would be the two most obvious candidates to perhaps be waived if the Giants felt a move was necessary.  Andrew McCutchen and (currently on the DL) Hunter Pence aren’t going anywhere, while Austin Jackson is struggling badly but not readily movable given his two-year contract.
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    Will Smith Nearing Return https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nl-west-notes-desmond-turner-renfroe-giants.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nl-west-notes-desmond-turner-renfroe-giants.html#comments Sun, 22 Apr 2018 01:00:12 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120527
  • The Giants expect left-handed reliever Will Smith back by May 1, manager Bruce Bochy announced Saturday (per Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group, via Twitter). Smith underwent Tommy John surgery prior to last season, meaning he hasn’t pitched in a major league game since the Giants’ NLDS loss to the Cubs in October 2016. The 28-year-old was a well-regarded reliever before his injury, which led the Giants to trade a couple of prospects to Milwaukee for him in August 2016.
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    Quick Hits: Towers, Portland, Stanton, Draft https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/quick-hits-towers-portland-stanton-draft.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/quick-hits-towers-portland-stanton-draft.html#comments Sat, 21 Apr 2018 04:15:52 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120465 Before tonight’s tilt between the Diamondbacks and Padres, the Arizona organization honored the late Kevin Towers, who previously served as general manager with both clubs. The D-Backs dedicated his former Chase Field suite as “Kevin’s Tower.” The widely-loved executive passed away this January at 56 years of age.

    As we join once more in a tip of the cap to Towers, here are some worthwhile links from around the game:

    • The effort to bring a MLB team to Portland appears to be growing in seriousness, as Gordon Friedman of The Oregonian recently reported. Portland Diamond Project, the entity spearheading the effort, has submitted bids on two parcels that could potentially house 32,000-seat ballparks. Clearly, there’s still a long ways to go before anybody will be watching a major-league contest in Portland, but it’ll certainly be interesting to see whether that municipality (and a few others) end up as serious suitors for existing or expansion franchises.
    • It wasn’t long ago that the Giancarlo Stanton trade drama, rather than his scuffles at the plate, was the hot topic in baseball. If you recall, before the Yankees got involved heavily, the Marlins had set deals with both the Giants and Cardinals in hopes that Stanton would waive his no-trade clause to join one of those blue-blood organizations. There were varying reports at the time as to just what package would have been headed from San Francisco to Miami had Stanton approved, but Robert Murray of Fan Rag now claims to have discovered the true offer. Lefty Andrew Suarez and third baseman Jacob Gonzalez were the prospect pieces in the deal, says Murray, while the Fish also would have taken on Denard Span and his contract. Otherwise, the Giants were said to be prepared to take on all (or substantially all) of the Stanton contract.
    • Draft season is upon us, and we’re starting to see some early mocks and rankings. We’ll try to pass along worthwhile links as they come in. Those interested in seeing how things are shaping up will want to check out the top-fifty list of ESPN.com’s Keith Law (Insider link), who tabs Auburn righty Casey Mize as an easy choice as the top overall draft asset as things stand. That seems to be the consensus; Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs say the same.
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    NL Roster Notes: Bautista, Perdomo, Gonzalez, Mac/Pence https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nl-roster-notes-bautista-perdomo-gonzalez-macpence.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nl-roster-notes-bautista-perdomo-gonzalez-macpence.html#comments Fri, 20 Apr 2018 02:38:36 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120425 The Braves don’t intend to take a long time deciding whether to bring up recent signee Jose Bautista, Michael Hoad of Sportsnet.ca writes. GM Alex Anthopoulos says that the club is “optimistic [Bautista is] going to have an opportunity to come up,” so it seems the expectation is that the former star will indeed get a shot. He’ll be looking for a return to form at the plate even as he makes a surprising return to third base after nearly a decade spent mostly in the outfield. But Anthopoulos did note that he hasn’t made any promises of a MLB promotion, so it seems that Bautista will at least have to show something to get a crack at boosting a Braves team that is off to a nice start.

    Here are a few notes on some National League players who are already slated to move onto or off of a major league roster:

    • The Padres have optioned righty Luis Perdomo, per a club announcement, with reliever Kirby Yates being activated from the DL to take his roster spot. Though he showed a good bit of promise last year, Perdomo has been tagged for 13 earned runs in 14 innings in his first four starts of the 2018 campaign. Though he has given up quite a lot of hard contact, the resulting .510 batting average on balls in play surely seems like an outlier. Beyond the performance considerations, the move helps the team manage a roster that has quite a few moving parts.
    • Marlins pitching prospect Merandy Gonzalez is heading to the majors for the first time, as MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes. Skipper Don Mattingly says he’ll use his new hurler as a long relief option for the time being. Gonzalez is a starter by trade, and has some long-term hopes of working in a big-league rotation, but at the moment is appealing mostly because he offers the possibility of filling some innings and is already on the 40-man. Miami added Gonzalez in the trade that sent reliever A.J. Ramos to the Mets last summer.
    • There’s nothing official yet, but Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic tweeted the “informed speculation” that outfielder Mac Williamson will join the Giants tomorrow. There are still some complications, but the 27-year-old has clearly played his way to a call-up. In fifty trips to the plate at Triple-A, he’s hitting a ridiculous .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs. Meanwhile, veteran Hunter Pence has managed only one extra-base hit, nine singles, and two walks in his 61 MLB plate appearances. It seems he will be headed to the DL with a thumb issue.
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    Johnny Cueto Likely To Return Tuesday https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/west-notes-astros-dodgers-as-giants-mariners.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/west-notes-astros-dodgers-as-giants-mariners.html#comments Sun, 15 Apr 2018 00:37:36 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120025
  • The Giants expect righty Johnny Cueto to come off the DL for a start Tuesday against Arizona, manager Bruce Bochy informed reporters, including Kerry Crowley of the Mercury News, on Saturday. Cueto landed on the shelf this past Tuesday, retroactive to April 7, with a sprained ankle. As a result, the Giants have been missing their three best starters – the injured Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija are the others – though the only one who’s not nearing a return is Bumgarner, whom the club moved to the 60-day DL earlier this week (fractured finger).
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    Minor MLB Transactions: 4/13/18 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/minor-mlb-transactions-41318.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/minor-mlb-transactions-41318.html#comments Fri, 13 Apr 2018 16:05:57 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119883 Here are the day’s minor moves from around the league, all courtesy of Baseball America’s Matt Eddy unless otherwise noted…

    • The Angels have added right-handed reliever Jordan Jankowski on a minor league contract. The 28-year-old got his first taste of the big league in 2017, tossing 4 1/3 frames for the Astros before landing with the Dodgers via waiver claim. Jankowski has averaged 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings in 177 1/3 Triple-A frames in his career, though he’s struggled with control since being selected in the 34th round of the 2012 draft as well.
    • Former big league infielders Tyler Ladendorf and Darnell Sweeney have signed minor league pacts with the Blue Jays. Ladendorf, a former Twins second-rounder who was once traded to the A’s in exchange for Orlando Cabrera, logged 68 MLB plate appearances with Oakland from 2015-16 but hit just .123/.149/.154 in that brief time. He’s a career .258/.326/.350 hitter in Triple-A and has played second base, shortstop, third base and corner outfield as a pro. Sweeney, meanwhile, posted a .639 OPS in 98 plate appearances with the Phillies in 2015 after they acquired him from the Dodgers in the Chase Utley trade. He’s a career .258/.325/.394 hitter in Triple-A.
    • The Giants released outfielder Daniel Carbonell, who they’d originally signed Carbonell to a four-year, $3.5MM contract back in 2014 after he left Cuba. Signed because of his defensive prowess and speed, Carbonell’s bat never came around, as he appeared in just two Triple-A games with the Giants after stalling out in Double-A. In 437 plate appearances at that Double-A level, the now-27-year-old Carbonell hit just .188/.227/.273.
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    Latest On Mark Melancon https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/latest-on-mark-melancon.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/latest-on-mark-melancon.html#comments Fri, 13 Apr 2018 01:13:35 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119854 Giants closer Mark Melancon has still yet to take the hill for the team and it remains uncertain just when he will. Most recently, he underwent a stem cell injection to his troublesome pronator, as Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area was among those to report.

    For the time being, the righty reliever is going to take another two weeks of rest before hopefully attempting to resume throwing. He’ll surely require a full ramp-up from that point, though it’s tough to know how long it may take for Melancon to work back to the MLB bullpen.

    Melancon, who missed a big chunk of the 2017 season, seemed destined for the Opening Day roster until a late-spring announcement that he was struggling once more with forearm and elbow issues. It emerged that he had never been able to throw pain-free despite a surgical procedure performed in early September of last year.

    There’s no particular reason at this point to find further concern with Melancon’s status, though the timing does indicate that rest alone did not solve the problem and it seems there’s still plenty of uncertainty in how things will progress. Regardless, the veteran hurler’s timeline will surely depend upon when he’s finally able to throw without discomfort.

    Needless to say, the Giants are hoping to get a significant contribution from the 33-year-old sooner than later. He’s in the second season of a four-year, $62MM contract that now looks to be among the least productive investments ever made in a relief pitcher. To this point, Melancon has provided the San Francisco organization with only thirty innings of 4.50 ERA pitching — though he did carry a typically solid 29:6 K/BB ratio last year.

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    Giants Promote Andrew Suarez, Move Madison Bumgarner To 60-Day DL https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/giants-promote-andrew-suarez-move-madison-bumgarner-to-60-day-dl.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/giants-promote-andrew-suarez-move-madison-bumgarner-to-60-day-dl.html#comments Wed, 11 Apr 2018 17:33:16 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119740 The Giants announced today that they have promoted lefty Andrew Suarez, as expected. To create space on the 40-man roster, the club moved star hurler Madison Bumgarner to the 60-day DL. An active roster spot was opened by optioning reliever Steven Okert.

    Suarez, 25, will follow Tyler Beede in making his debut for a San Francisco organization that has been hit hard by rotation injuries. There is a bit of good news on that front, as Jeff Samardzija is on track to return next week, as Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. For now, though the club will see what it has in some young hurlers.

    Suarez, 25, was a second-round pick in the 2015 draft. He has been a steady performer while climbing the ladder in the Giants’ farm system, first reaching the top rung last year. In his 155 2/3 total innings in 2017, split between Double-A and Triple-A, he carried a 3.30 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 while generating grounders on nearly half the balls put in play against him.

    As for Bumgarner, it is not exactly a surprise to see him put on ice for the full sixty days while he returns from a fractured pinky finger. That injury, which occurred late in camp, was expected to keep him out until early June anyway. Though the veteran had hoped to return sooner than initial projections, he could still conceivably beat the target by a few weeks after today’s placement.

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    Giants Place Johnny Cueto On 10-Day DL https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/giants-place-johnny-cueto-on-10-day-dl.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/giants-place-johnny-cueto-on-10-day-dl.html#comments Wed, 11 Apr 2018 01:42:27 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119699 The Giants have placed right-hander Johnny Cueto on the 10-day disabled list due to a sprained ankle he sustained in a workout over the weekend, as Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. The move is retroactive to April 7. Left-hander Steven Okert is up from Triple-A to give the team an extra arm for tonight’s game against the D-backs, and southpaw Andrew Suarez will be promoted tomorrow to make his Major League debut in what would’ve been Cueto’s spot in the rotation.

    While Cueto’s injury doesn’t sound serious, it’s nonetheless the latest blow in a series of rotation injuries that have hindered the Giants early on in the season. Madison Bumgarner has yet to pitch this season due to a fractured finger that he sustained in Spring Training, while Jeff Samardzija has also yet to make his season debut owing to a pectoral injury. Pavlovic does relay some good news for Giants fans, as Samardzija is slated to make a rehab appearance on Saturday and should be activated for his next turn in the rotation after that.

    In many respects, Cueto is off to a solid start to the 2018 season, having yielded just one run on nine hits and two walks through his first 13 innings. However, Cueto’s velocity has dipped from an average of 91.3 mph last season to just 90 mph thus far, and he’s managed to strike out just five batters while posting an uncharacteristically low seven percent swinging-strike rate.

    Suarez, meanwhile, was the Giants’ second-round pick back in the 2015 draft. The University of Miami product has made just one Triple-A start this season but impressed there in 2017, tossing 88 2/3 frames with 8.1 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 49.2 percent ground-ball rate following a promotion from Double-A, where he’d also impressed. San Francisco is already turning to its top pitching prospect, Tyler Beede, to make his MLB debut tonight, and they’ll follow him with another of the farm’s most promising young hurlers in Suarez — giving fans a potential glimpse of the future. MLB.com ranks Suarez as the Giants’ No. 10 prospect, calling him a high-floor prospect who should at the very least settle in as a back-of-the-rotation starter.

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    Giants Promote Tyler Beede https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/giants-promote-tyler-beede.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/giants-promote-tyler-beede.html#comments Tue, 10 Apr 2018 14:43:08 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119644 The Giants will hand the ball to pitching prospect Tyler Beede tonight, as Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group was among those to report. Reliever Roberto Gomez was optioned to create space.

    The righty had already joined the MLB team on its taxi squad, but the team’s precise plans were not clear. Skipper Bruce Bochy announced last night that the youngster will be activated for his first MLB start.

    Beede, the Giants’ first-round pick in the 2014 draft, will make his debut about six weeks before his 25th birthday. The Vanderbilt University product has steadily moved up the ladder in the San Francisco farm since signing out of the amateur ranks.

    The results have been mixed of late for Beede. He turned in a strong 2016 season at Double-A, working to a 2.81 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9. But he failed to carry that forward last year, when he allowed 4.79 earned per nine (with 6.9 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9) in his 109 Triple-A innings.

    While Beede entered camp this spring with at least some hope of forcing his way into the Opening Day roster mix, he labored through his four outings. Still, he’ll receive a shot now that there’s an opening. Fellow hurler Andrew Suarez might also have been considered, but Beede is a much simpler selection from a logistical standpoint since he already has a 40-man roster spot.

    It’s not clear at this point whether Beede will have much hope of sticking in the rotation for the remainder of the year. With Jeff Samardzija not far from a return, it could be that Beede will only get a limited opportunity. If he impresses, though, perhaps there’s a chance he could stake a claim to a permanent job. It’s doubtful the Giants are looking too closely at Beede’s service situation, as he isn’t exactly considered a can’t-miss ace, but it’s worth noting that he could still accrue a full year of MLB service in 2018 if he sticks on the active roster from this point forward.

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    Jeff Samardzija Nearing Return https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/quick-hits-duffy-melky-indians-brewers-giants.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/quick-hits-duffy-melky-indians-brewers-giants.html#comments Sun, 08 Apr 2018 03:26:19 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119505
  • Giants righty Jeff Samardzija is aiming to make his season debut around April 19, Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group writes. In the meantime, the plan is for Samardzija to pitch in extended spring training Monday and then make a minor league rehab start. The 33-year-old innings-eater has been out since late March with a strained pectoral muscle. Thanks to Samardzija’s injury and ace Madison Bumgarner’s broken left pinkie, the Giants are without two of their best starters.
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    Giants More Aggressive With Infield Shifting https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nl-west-notes-rockies-myers-giants.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nl-west-notes-rockies-myers-giants.html#comments Thu, 05 Apr 2018 04:37:32 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119265
  • While they didn’t call a great deal of attention to it, the Giants beefed up their analytics department over the offseason, writes Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. San Francisco has become more aggressive in terms of infield shifting and, during Spring Training, displayed leaderboards with more modern metrics such as exit velocity in the clubhouse. Giants players have begun to ask for additional info on their launch angles and batted-ball tendencies, Pavlovic notes. Regarding the infield shifts, Pavlovic also points out that the addition of a strong defensive player in Evan Longoria, plus the increased emphasis on data, figures to make the club considerably more aggressive in terms of shifts.
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    Injury Notes: Bumgarner, Smith https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/injury-notes-bumgarner-smith-lamb-shoemaker-mariners-gyorko-ellsbury.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/injury-notes-bumgarner-smith-lamb-shoemaker-mariners-gyorko-ellsbury.html#comments Tue, 03 Apr 2018 23:47:04 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119126 Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner thinks he’ll be ready before the early June target time frame set by the club, he tells reporters including Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group (Twitter link). Calling the estimate “conservative” for a pinky fracture, Bumgarner noted that he’s due for a check-up in a few weeks’ time. If he is ready to ramp back up earlier than had been expected, that’d be most welcome for an organization that has had to scramble a bit after suffering some health troubles late in camp. Fellow starter Jeff Samardzija seems to be well on his way to a return after throwing a thirty-pitch pen session today, Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic also notes via Twitter.

    • Meanwhile, Giants southpaw Will Smith is readying to pitch competitively next Monday, Crowley adds on Twitter. He could soon begin an official rehab assignment, which would start the thirty-day clock on his return to the majors. The 28-year-old, who was picked up in a 2016 deadline deal, missed all of 2017 recovering from Tommy John surgery. He’s just now past the one-year anniversary of the procedure, so he has largely progressed on a typical timeline to this point.
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    Giants To Sign Jordan Schafer https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/giants-to-sign-jordan-schafer.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/giants-to-sign-jordan-schafer.html#comments Tue, 03 Apr 2018 19:53:45 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119135 The Giants have agreed to a minor-league pact with lefty Jordan Schafer, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (Twitter link). Particulars of the agreement are not yet known.

    Schafer, a former MLB outfielder, has been trying to carve out a new niche as a reliever that can, perhaps, also provide some function in the field and on the bases. He turned in a reasonably promising showing in the upper minors with the Dodgers organization in 2016, working to a 3.83 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 49 1/3 innings.

    Heading into the 2017 campaign, Schafer joined the Cardinals organization in hopes of competing for a MLB job. But he ultimately required a primary repair procedure to address damage to his ulnar collateral ligament, costing him the entire season.

    Schafer returned to the Cards for camp this spring, but never got much of a chance on the majors side. He was tagged for seven earned runs and recorded just two outs in his two Grapefruit League appearances.

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    Jeff Samardzija Likely To Return This Month https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nl-west-notes-padres-rockies-giants.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nl-west-notes-padres-rockies-giants.html#comments Sun, 01 Apr 2018 13:27:25 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118920
  • Giants righty Jeff Samardzija, who has been out for over a week with a strained pectoral muscle, is progressing in his recovery, manager Bruce Bochy told Kerry Crowley of the Mercury News and other reporters Saturday. Samardzija probably won’t be ready the first time the Giants need a fifth starter (April 10), Bochy suggested, but it appears likely he’ll return to their rotation sometime this month.
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    Giants’ Julian Fernandez To Undergo Tommy John Surgery https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/giants-julian-fernandez-to-undergo-tommy-john-surgery.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/giants-julian-fernandez-to-undergo-tommy-john-surgery.html#comments Sat, 31 Mar 2018 23:36:51 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118872 Giants right-hander Julian Fernandez will undergo Tommy John surgery on Thursday, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area was among those to report. San Francisco previously placed Fernandez on the 60-day disabled list earlier this week.

    The 22-year-old Fernandez has never even pitched above the Single-A level, nor is he a high-end prospect. But the news is particularly noteworthy because Fernandez was a Rule 5 pick last December, when the Giants snatched him from the NL West rival Rockies with the No. 2 selection. The fact that Fernandez will now undergo this procedure means he’ll rack up a year of service time and earn a a major league-minimum salary ($545K) in the process. As MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk noted earlier this week, that could be a minor nuisance for San Francisco, which has little wiggle room as it works to stay under the $197MM competitive balance tax threshold.

    During 7 1/3 spring innings with the Giants, Fernandez yielded a whopping 11 earned runs on 10 hits and five walks, with an eye-opening 12 strikeouts. Fernandez was far more effective at preventing runs last year in 58 innings with the Rockies’ Single-A affiliate, as he logged a 3.26 ERA/3.09 FIP with 8.84 K/9 and 2.79 BB/9.

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    Giants Release Jarrett Parker https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/giants-release-jarrett-parker.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/giants-release-jarrett-parker.html#comments Sat, 31 Mar 2018 00:56:57 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118758 The Giants have released outfielder Jarrett Parker after he cleared waivers, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports tweets. He had been designated for assignment recently.

    It’s somewhat surprising to hear that the San Francisco organization is parting with Parker entirely after deciding not to keep him in the majors. The 29-year-old has at times been seen as a potentially useful MLB asset, but it seems the club just didn’t have the space available at Triple-A and decided to allow Parker to explore other possibilities.

    Parker did go down on strikes twenty times in his 48 plate appearances this spring, but also ended up posting a healthy .561 slugging percentage. He’s a .274/.368/.503 hitter at Triple-A and has hit at better than a league-average rate in his 382 career MLB plate appearances, so there’s little question that Parker will draw some interest from other organizations.

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    Giants Place Mark Melancon On Disabled List, Select Gregor Blanco https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/giants-place-mark-melancon-on-disabled-list.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/giants-place-mark-melancon-on-disabled-list.html#comments Thu, 29 Mar 2018 19:55:12 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118645 2:55pm: Melancon spoke to reporters about his injury today and described the pain he’s feeling as similar to the pain he felt last season when a pronator strain limited him to 30 innings (Twitter link via Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News). More troubling is the fact that the right-hander revealed he cannot throw from more than 30 feet without experiencing pain.

    Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets that Melancon said he felt pain all spring when pitching, but the discomfort increased substantially when he attempted to pitch on consecutive days. He’ll see a specialist when the Giants are in Los Angeles.

    11:11am: The Giants announced that they’ve placed Mark Melancon on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to March 26, with a flexor strain in his right elbow. San Francisco also placed Rule 5 pick Julian Fernandez on the 60-day DL to open the season, clearing a 40-man spot to select the contract of outfielder Gregor Blanco, who’ll officially return for another stint with the Giants. With Melancon on the shelf, the Giants will likely look to Sam Dyson and Hunter Strickland as potential ninth-inning options.

    It’s not yet clear how long Melancon will be sidelined, though he missed a significant portion of the 2017 season — his first with the Giants after signing a then-record four-year, $62MM contract — due to a pronator strain in his right forearm. Melancon posted a 4.50 ERA in just 30 innings with the Giants last season, though his peripheral numbers were considerably better, and fielding-independent metrics were far more bullish than his more rudimentary ERA (3.22 FIP, 3.24 SIERA).

    Blanco, 34, was a mainstay with the Giants from 2012-16 before jumping to the D-backs last offseason. He impressed with a .303/.405/.576 slash in 43 plate appearances this spring, but he’s struggled to a .234/.323/.333 batting line across the past two big league campaigns. He’ll give manager Bruce Bochy some depth across the board in the outfield and a potential left-handed complement to Austin Jackson, Hunter Pence and/or Andrew McCutchen when needed.

    Blanco’s addition to the roster means the Giants prospect Steven Duggar will open the season in the minors, though the organization hopes that Duggar will force his way into the mix later this season and hold down a long-term spot in the outfield.

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    Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez Make Giants' Roster https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/notable-roster-decisions-wednesday.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/notable-roster-decisions-wednesday.html#comments Thu, 29 Mar 2018 01:46:13 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118507
  • Outfielders Gregor Blanco and Gorkys Hernandez will open the season with the Giants, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. The Giants signed Blanco, 34, to a minors pact back in January. Per that deal, he’ll earn a $1MM salary in the majors and have a chance at $500K in incentives in San Francisco, with which he previously played from 2012-16 and won a pair of World Series. Hernandez is out of options, so he was also in a do-or-die position this spring. The 30-year-old rose to the challenge, though he’ll surely need to improve on last season’s showing (.255/.327/.326 line with no home runs in 348 PAs) to keep his roster spot for all of 2018.
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    Latest On Giants’ Pitching Injuries https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/latest-on-giants-pitching-injuries.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/latest-on-giants-pitching-injuries.html#comments Tue, 27 Mar 2018 23:29:38 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118440 The injury bug has continued to attack Giants pitching, as manager Bruce Bochy told reporters (including NBCSports.com’s Alex Pavlovic and Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group) that right-hander Julian Fernandez has suffered a UCL sprain and is headed to the disabled list.  Furthermore, closer Mark Melancon’s availability for Opening Day could be in question, as his arm is still bothering him after making back-to-back appearances last Thursday and Friday.

    Fernandez was selected out of the Rockies’ farm system in last December’s Rule 5 Draft, and would’ve had to remain on San Francisco’s 25-man roster all season or else be offered back to Colorado.  Placing Fernandez on the DL would keep him in the Giants organization for now, though the larger concern is the 22-year-old’s health status.  The timeline for such UCL injuries vary greatly due to the severity of the sprain, though Fernandez will likely be sidelined for at least a few months.

    If Fernandez did require Tommy John surgery, that procedure would have an interesting big-picture impact on the Giants.  As The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly observes, Fernandez would be placed on the Major League disabled list and clock a year of service time while recovering from a TJ procedure, and he would also earn the $545K minimum salary.  Even that small payroll addition would be an added stress for a Giants team that has very little space under the $197MM luxury tax threshold, after the team made a point this offseason of somewhat limiting its spending to get under the threshold and reset its tax overage counter.  That $545K would be an expense that the Giants weren’t planning to make at all for Fernandez, as he struggled (13.50 ERA) over 7 1/3 spring innings and potentially could’ve been considered not worthy of a 25-man spot.

    Melancon’s back-to-back outings marked the first time he’d pitched in consecutive days this spring, as the veteran reliever continues his recovery from forearm surgery last September.  Needless to say, any further soreness is a red flag for both he and the team, though Bochy said that Melancon’s roster status wouldn’t be determined until after he tests his arm further by playing catch over the next day or two.  Melancon has been bothered by some arm fatigue throughout camp and pitched in just five games throughout Spring Training as the team tried to bring him along slowly.

    The closer is trying to rebound after a disappointing and injury-marred first season in San Francisco that saw him post a 4.50 ERA over 30 innings.  If Melancon does go on the disabled list, the Giants could turn to setup men Hunter Strickland or Tony Watson for save situations, or potentially again use Sam Dyson as closer as they did in 2017.  Dyson, however, has struggled through a very rough spring.

    It has already been a brutal spring health-wise for the Giants, with Madison Bumgarner (fractured finger) and Jeff Samardzija (strained pec) both going down with injuries that have badly stretched the team’s pitching depth.  GM Bobby Evans told Baggarly and other reporters that “I anticipate we will remain internal” in regards to finding replacements, though Evans is open to the idea of potentially adding new pitchers.

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    Giants To Designate Jarrett Parker, Select Derek Holland https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/giants-to-designate-jarrett-parker-select-derek-holland.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/giants-to-designate-jarrett-parker-select-derek-holland.html#comments Mon, 26 Mar 2018 23:23:07 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118350 The Giants have designated outfielder Jarrett Parker for assignment, per John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). His roster spot was needed for the addition of lefty Derek Holland, who’ll make the rotation after signing over the winter as a minor-league free agent.

    Parker, 29, has seen 382 total MLB plate appearances over the past three seasons and generally acquitted himself well. He has also been rather productive at the highest level of the minors and had a strong showing this spring, with a .220/.333/.561 slash (though also twenty strikeouts in his 48 plate appearances).

    Still, the Giants elected to risk losing Parker rather than carrying him on the Opening Day Roster. It seems the organization will instead keep veteran Gregor Blanco as its lone left-handed-hitting outfielder to open the season, unless it goes instead with youngster Steven Duggar.

    As for Holland, it has been clear for some time that he was destined to earn a job in San Francisco this year. As the Giants lost several rotation pieces, Holland worked 15 solid spring innings, over which he allowed seven earned runs and recorded 18 strikeouts against five walks. He’ll earn a $1.5MM salary with as much as $2.5MM more in incentives.

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    Giants Hire Dusty Baker As Special Advisor https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/giants-expected-to-hire-dusty-baker-as-special-advisor.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/giants-expected-to-hire-dusty-baker-as-special-advisor.html#comments Mon, 26 Mar 2018 13:55:11 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118232 The Giants are expected to bring back former manager Dusty Baker as a special advisor to CEO Larry Baer, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Baker will report to executive vice president Brian Sabean in his new role, which the Giants are likely to announce Monday.

    The 68-year-old Baker will return to work in his home state of California, where he played with the Dodgers, Giants and Athletics from 1976-86. He has since enjoyed an accomplished career as a manager, and a large portion of his success as a skipper came during his San Francisco tenure.

    Baker was atop the Giants’ dugout from 1993-2002, a decadelong span in which the Barry Bonds-led club went 840-715 during the regular season, posted six plus-.500 campaigns and made three trips to the playoffs (Bonds is also a special advisor to Baer nowadays). During Baker’s last season at the helm, the Giants took home the National League pennant before falling to the Angels in a seven-game World Series.

    Shortly after the Giants came up short in the Fall Classic, Baker departed to manage the Cubs, with whom he served from 2003-06 (including for the infamous Steve Bartman incident against the Marlins during the ’03 NLCS). He then went on to hold the same position with the Reds (2008-13) and Nationals (2016-17).

    While a championship has eluded Baker during his 22-year career as a manager, which is potentially over, his teams have combined for an impressive 1,863-1,363 regular-season record and nine playoff berths. Only 13 other managers are ahead of Baker on the all-time wins list, and 12 are enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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    Giants Considering Adding Starting Pitching https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-west-links-lamet-giants-salas-dodgers.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-west-links-lamet-giants-salas-dodgers.html#comments Mon, 26 Mar 2018 02:23:08 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118193
  • A Giants trade for starting pitching help is “not likely” as of tonight, a source tells MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi (Twitter links), though the team is considering adding a starter with Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija both on the DL.  Morosi cites the AstrosBrad Peacock and Collin McHugh as arms that could be available, though these could be speculative names rather than pitchers the Giants are directly targeting.  San Francisco doesn’t have much luxury tax room to afford taking on any significant salary, nor does the club have much in the way of prospect depth to trade away, so it will be interesting to see how (or if) the Giants can adjust to these devastating early-season rotation losses.
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    Madison Bumgarner Diagnosed With Fractured Finger https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/madison-bumgarner-diagnosed-with-fractured-hand.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/madison-bumgarner-diagnosed-with-fractured-hand.html#comments Fri, 23 Mar 2018 23:10:58 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117886 6:33pm: Bumgarner has a displaced fracture in his fifth metacarpal (that is, his pinky), Baggarly reports (Twitter links). He’ll have surgery tomorow to place pins that will remain in place for four to six weeks. Once his finger is back in working order, of course, Bumgarner will need to build back up to a starter’s workload.

    The hope at this point is that Bumgarner will be be able to return before the All-Star break, per Baggarly, who notes that there is a worthwhile comp to consider. Former Giants righty Ryan Volgelsong missed about 11 weeks with a similar injury back in 2013.

    6:10pm: Giants ace Madison Bumgarner has been diagnosed with a fractured left hand after being struck on the hand by a batted ball today, the club announced and Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic was among those to report on Twitter. Details on his anticipated absence are not known, but this is clearly a devastating injury for a player and team that were hoping for a major rebound from a disappointing 2018 season.

    The 28-year-old Bumgarner has been one of the game’s preeminent workhorses ever since he took to the big league mound. Between 2011 and 2016, he never made less than 31 starts, threw fewer than 201 1/3 innings, or finished a season with an earned run average above 3.37. Over the past three seasons of that run, he took the ball 99 times and racked up 662 1/3 frames of 2.88 ERA ball. And that’s all before taking into account his legendary postseason efforts.

    That all changed early last year, when Bumgarner was injured in a dirt bike accident. But he still made it back in time to finish the year with 111 innings of 3.32 ERA pitching on his ledger. And it seems fair to say that he has looked himself this spring. In his first five Cactus League starts, Bumgarner racked up 27 strikeouts against just three walks while allowing six earned over 19 frames.

    In the aggregate, it seemed that the lost first half of the 2017 campaign might end up as little more than a blip on the radar for MadBum, a burly lefty who has long been a paragon of strength on the mound. While his shoulder does not appear to be a significant cause of concern moving forward, though, he’ll now have to work back from another injury.

    As noted above, it’s impossible to say at this point how long the Giants will go without Bumgarner. The specifics of the injury, along with the course of treatment, could presumably result in a variety of scenarios. And he’ll clearly need to rebuild his pitch count before going full-bore at the game’s highest level. Position players frequently are able to return from this general sort of injury without terribly lengthy absences — less than six weeks in some cases — but perhaps it could take somewhat longer than usual for a hurler who suffered a fracture to his pitching hand. Regardless, we’ll need to await further word before any kind of timeline is available.

    The news comes on the heels of the loss of another key starter, Jeff Samardzija, to open the season. Skipper Bruce Bochy said today that Samardzija is likely to miss something on the order of three to four weeks, as Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. That knocks out two of the team’s top three starters on the cusp of Opening Day.

    As things stand, San Francisco is going to trot out a roster that features Johnny Cueto at the top of the rotation, followed by non-roster invitee Derek Holland and relatively unproven hurlers Chris Stratton and Ty Blach. There are some intriguing young talents that could conceivably take the fifth starter’s spot, once it’s needed, but the club will no doubt be on the look for outside additions. Of course, the luxury tax tightrope walk that the Giants have attempted this winter — which is why they shipped out a notable depth piece in Matt Moore — is going to make it hard to find any kind of impactful arm.

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    Giants Release Andres Blanco https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/giants-release-andres-blanco.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/giants-release-andres-blanco.html#comments Fri, 23 Mar 2018 19:19:21 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117865 The Giants have released infielder Andres Blanco, as Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Twitter links). He had been in camp on a minor-league deal.

    With that decision, it seems the Giants have narrowed their utility infield competition down to two finalists among the in-house options. Kelby Tomlinson, who can still be optioned, is still under consideration along with non-roster invitee Josh Rutledge.

    Blanco, a 33-year-old switch-hitter, only ended up taking 22 plate appearances this spring owing to injury. While he sported a .409 OBP in his limited action, he never really got into the competition.

    Though he’s not likely to find a team willing to open an active roster spot for the start of the season, Blanco certainly ought to draw interest on minor-league arrangements. He has experience all over the infield and has had his moments at the plate. Though he had a poor season with the stick last year, Blanco posted a .274/.337/.457 slash over 523 plate appearances between 2014 and 2016.

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    Jeff Samardzija Suffers Pec Injury, Will Begin Season On DL https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/jeff-samardzija-being-examined-for-possible-shoulder-injury.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/jeff-samardzija-being-examined-for-possible-shoulder-injury.html#comments Fri, 23 Mar 2018 11:58:34 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117780 TODAY: Samardzija’s MRI revealed only a strained pectoral muscle, Andrew Baggarly writes in an updated piece.  The right-hander will be rested for 10 days, according to Giants skipper Bruce Bochy, so a DL stint still looks imminent.

    YESTERDAY: The Giants are concerned that right-hander Jeff Samardzija may have a shoulder injury according to reports. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle was among the first to tweet the news. There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the situation, but “Shark” had an MRI today and is undergoing further examination on his throwing shoulder. Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic tweets that it’s “pretty clear he will begin the season on the DL.”

    We’re still awaiting further news on the subject (including the actual results of the MRI itself), but the absence of Samardzija for any significant portion of the season would prove a huge blow to a Giants club that was expected to contend this season following an offseason overhaul of a roster that lost 98 games in 2017. Baggarly tweets that left-handed non-roster invite Derek Holland is an option to replace him in the rotation. Baggarly also adds that the team is unlikely to pursue any free agents at this point, as Bruce Bochy says the team is looking at internal options.

    That would leave just Holland, Ty Blach and Chris Stratton as the club’s feasible options behind mainstays Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto. It’s also worth noting that the club has Tyler Beede (ranked the organization’s fourth-best prospect) set to begin the season at Triple-A. If the club were to explore free agents, they’d be parsing through a thin crop of remaining starters that includes Scott Feldman and Ubaldo Jimenez among the top remaining options.

    The Giants were likely expecting another workhorse performance from the 33-year-old Samardzija, who’s one of just two pitchers in all of major league baseball to have thrown at least 200 innings in each of the past five seasons (the other being Max Scherzer). During that span, he’s put up a 4.10 ERA, and his 3.68 xFIP actually indicates that he’s pitched quite a bit better than that. He’s also struck out 8.09 batters per nine innings while limiting walks to just 2.18 per nine.

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    Giants' Chris Shaw Settling Into Left Field https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-west-notes-greinke-thompson-dodgers-shaw.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-west-notes-greinke-thompson-dodgers-shaw.html#comments Mon, 19 Mar 2018 02:12:27 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117358 On a day when the Arenado brothers (Nolan and Jonah) were on opposite sites of a Rockies/Giants Spring Training tilt, here are some items from around the NL West…

    • A year after a surprising position switch, Chris Shaw is hoping to eventually crack the majors as a left fielder, Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group writes.  The Giants already had Brandon Belt at first base, so with Shaw’s natural position blocked, the club began to deploy Shaw in left field as a way of finding a place in the lineup for his intriguing power bat.  Shaw was San Francisco’s first-round pick (31st overall) in the 2015 draft and is ranked as the second-best prospect in the team’s farm system by both MLB.com and Baseball America, making him a key part of the Giants’ future.  It wouldn’t be surprising to see Shaw make his Major League debut sometime in 2018, with a potential starting job awaiting him in 2019 if Hunter Pence isn’t re-signed.
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    Giants Notes: Suarez, Cabrera Retirement https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-west-notes-d-backs-salas-cimber-padres-giants-cabrera.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-west-notes-d-backs-salas-cimber-padres-giants-cabrera.html#comments Thu, 15 Mar 2018 14:21:47 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117043 Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic breaks down the race for some open spots in the Diamondbacks’ bullpen, noting that minor league signee Fernando Salas has outperformed the rest of the competition in terms of pure results. The eight-year veteran has tossed 6 2/3 shutout frames with a 6-to-1 K/BB ratio this spring, though competitors Neftali Feliz, Michael Blazek and Rule 5 pickup Albert Suarez (from the Giants) have all pitched well. Piecoro notes that there appear to be two or three spots up for grabs due to the fact that right-hander Randall Delgado is likely ticketed for the disabled list to open the year because of a left oblique injury. Piecoro also checks in on injured righty Shelby Miller, who had positive reports following a bullpen session and could return from Tommy John surgery in June or July.

    One more item of note from Piecoro is that because Suarez has been previously outrighted off a 40-man roster in his career, the D-backs wouldn’t have to offer him back to the Giants if he clears waivers; he could instead elect free agency.

    • Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic reports that Giants outfield prospect Gustavo Cabrera has elected to retire (Twitter links). As Baggarly chronicled in a harrowing story for the San Jose Mercury News in March 2016, Cabrera could have lost his right hand at 17. Then a vaunted prospect who had received a $1.3MM signing bonus a year prior, Cabrera was simply bracing his hand on a glass table as he bent to pick up a spilled glass of water, but he slipped on the wet floor and sent his arm crashing through the table, severing nerves and causing catastrophic damage. Baggarly details the frantic process of saving Cabrera’s limb and his ultimate return to the baseball field in a must-read story. As for Cabrera’s decision to retire, Baggarly notes that the physical challenges simply became too much for his reconstructed wrist/hand. He adds that while the Giants do have a recourse to claim a portion of that $1.3MM bonus due to Cabrera’s early retirement, the organization has no plans to do so. Best wishes to Cabrera in his post-playing days.
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    Offseason In Review: San Francisco Giants https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/offseason-in-review-san-francisco-giants-8.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/offseason-in-review-san-francisco-giants-8.html#comments Mon, 12 Mar 2018 13:41:41 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116495 This is the latest entry in MLBTR’s 2017-18 Offseason In Review series.  Click here to read the other completed reviews from around the league.

    It may take some time for baseball fans to adjust to Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen in different uniforms, but the Giants are hoping that these two veteran stars can help erase the memory of an ugly 2017 campaign at AT&T Park.

    Major League Signings

    • Tony Watson, RP: Two years, $9MM (includes a $2.5MM player option for 2020 that has a $500K buyout)
    • Austin Jackson, OF: Two years, $6MM
    • Nick Hundley, C: One year, $2.5MM
    • Total spend: $17.5MM

    Trades And Claims

    Notable Minor League Signings

    Notable Losses

    Giants 25-Man Roster & Minor League Depth Chart; Giants Payroll Overview

    Needs Addressed

    No team received less from its outfielders (to the tune of a cumulative 0.8 fWAR and -2.5 bWAR) in 2017 than the Giants, so it was no surprise that San Francisco was connected in rumors to just about every outfielder available in free agency or trade talks.  The major prize ended up being McCutchen, as the longtime Pirates icon was acquired for a pair of notable-but-not-elite prospects (Kyle Crick and Bryan Reynolds), $500K in international bonus pool money and the Giants’ willingness to absorb $12.25MM of McCutchen’s $14.75MM salary in 2018.

    Andrew McCutchen

    McCutchen’s declining defensive numbers as a center fielder won’t be an issue, as the Giants have already announced that the former NL MVP will be the everyday right fielder.  (Pittsburgh also intended to deploy McCutchen in right field last season before Starling Marte’s suspension forced McCutchen back into regular center field duty.)  The position change should better suit McCutchen’s defensive skillset at this stage of his career, and his bat already made a nice rebound in 2017 after a very disappointing 2016 season.  McCutchen is also scheduled to hit free agency next winter, so while the Giants gave up a significant amount for just one year of his services, the club also has the freedom to pursue a longer-term solution if it so chooses after the season.

    The outfield depth chart received another boost in the form of Austin Jackson, coming off an outstanding (though quite possibly BABIP-fueled) 318 plate appearances for the Indians last season.  Jackson is currently penciled in for the bulk of time in center field, though he could shift into a general fourth outfielder role if rookie Steven Duggar wins himself a roster spot in Spring Training. Denard Span, the Giants’ regular center fielder for the past two seasons, is no longer an option after being dealt to Tampa Bay (in a salary offset situation) as part of San Francisco’s other blockbuster deal of the offseason.

    Longoria will look to stabilize a third base position that has become another problem area for the Giants, with former third baseman-of-the-future Christian Arroyo serving as the prospect centerpiece of the deal with the Rays.  There are certainly some questions surrounding the Longoria trade, as we’ll cover later. The Giants will no doubt be happy if the veteran can at least replicate his 2017 performance (2.5 fWAR, 3.6 bWAR).

    Of course, all of that took place against the backdrop of a tough balancing effort of making hefty roster upgrades while staying below the $197MM luxury tax threshold.  With Longoria and McCutchen’s hefty salaries joining the ledger, the Giants found payroll space by unloading Span to the Rays, and also by trading Matt Moore and his $9.75MM to the Rangers.

    Some more payroll creativity was required to sign southpaw Tony Watson, whose two-year deal only officially guarantees $9MM over three years (if he exercises a player option for the 2020 season) but also allows him to earn more than twice that number by reaching various incentive clauses.  Watson is coming off a bit of a down year by his standards, though given the size of other reliever contracts on the open market this year, he may prove to be a nice bargain for the Giants.  Ultimately, like many teams this offseason, the Giants weren’t too active in free agency, only making modest agreements with Watson, Jackson, and backup catcher Nick Hundley.

    Notable moves also took place off the field in San Francisco.  President of baseball operations Brian Sabean is again taking more of a hands-on role in the front office’s day-to-day moves, while several long-time coaches were shifted either to new coaching duties or into front office roles.

    Questions Remaining

    Of all the outfielders linked to the Giants, the most notable was Giancarlo Stanton, and the Giants were deep in talks with the Marlins about a trade that would’ve seen the Giants reportedly covering some or all of the $295MM on Stanton’s contract.  While both the Giants and Cardinals submitted offers to Miami’s liking, however, Stanton wasn’t willing to waive his no-trade protection to join either team, eventually approving a deal to the Yankees.

    Needless to say, adding Stanton would’ve completely changed the Giants’ plans.  The club would’ve had less salary flexibility and might well have abandoned its plan to get under the competitive balance tax entirely.  While one can certainly argue that McCutchen and Longoria at two positions make for more of a help than Stanton at one position, a Giants team with Stanton in right field plus some prospects (Arroyo, Crick, etc.) still bolstering an already-thin farm system and a willingness to exceed the luxury tax threshold might’ve been better positioned to address remaining needs.  Rather than add Longoria for the long term and McCutchen for the short term, would the Giants have been better off with Stanton as the long-term asset and a third baseman like Todd Frazier (who only found a two-year deal with the Mets) as a shorter-term answer? That was certainly the team’s preference, but it wasn’t able to convince the superstar to come to San Francisco.

    On the other hand, that aforementioned lack of prospect depth could’ve also been the reason why the Giants weren’t able to swing deals for other notable outfielders on the market, like Christian Yelich or Marcell Ozuna.  The Giants also weren’t keen on the idea of giving up a draft pick as compensation for signing a free agent who rejected a qualifying offer, such as Lorenzo Cain (who could’ve solved the center field hole), given the organization’s strong placement in the 2018 draft.  Given both of these factors, the McCutchen trade looks like a solid move for San Francisco, assuming that 2016 truly was just an aberration for McCutchen.

    Evan LongoriaLongoria’s situation, though, is a bit more complicated. His 2017 season, which ended with a .261/.313/.424 slash line, represented the first campaign in which he graded a below-average run creator (96) in Fangraphs’ wRC+ metric.  He also hit more grounders and fewer fly balls than any other season in his ten-year career.  While still a durable player and a good defender, Longoria could very well be on the decline as he enters his age-32 season.  Though the Rays added some money in the trade, the Giants still owe Longoria $73.5MM over the next five seasons, making him yet another high-priced veteran on the San Francisco roster who is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2017.  He is something of an odd fit on a team that entered the winter looking to theoretically get younger and cheaper, though the Giants have traditionally been open to adding experienced players and, if anything, feel veteran players may be underrated in the current baseball marketplace.

    Though outfield defense was a priority for the team, the planned alignment of McCutchen in right field, Jackson in center and Hunter Pence in left represents only a moderate improvement; while McCutchen should help in right, Jackson’s defensive metrics as a center fielder have been at best mixed for several years.  Duggar is widely regarded as a strong defender and he has some strong hitting and on-base numbers in the minors, though he hasn’t had much Triple-A (or even Double-A) playing time.  A jump to the big leagues might be a reach unless the Giants are willing to accept Duggar as strictly a glove-only player in the early going.  Gorkys Hernandez, Austin Slater, or minor league signing Gregor Blanco could also see time in center field, though none are optimal options. Presumably, McCutchen could get the occasional start in a pinch.

    Moore suffered through a very rough 2017 season, so the Giants may have felt the $9.75MM ticketed for the left-hander was better utilized elsewhere rather than hoping that Moore could rebound.  His departure, however, leaves the team with a lot of inexperienced pitchers battling for two rotation spots rather than one.  Ty Blach and Chris Stratton are the favorites to be the fourth and fifth starters, with rookies Tyler Beede, Andrew Suarez, Tyler Herb, Joan Gregorio also in the mix, and veterans Derek Holland and Chris Heston in camp on minor league contracts.

    Were the Giants not already so close to the $197MM tax threshold, another veteran starter (even a mid-tier name, not of the Jake Arrieta/Lance Lynn/Alex Cobb class) would be a big help, though a price fit simply doesn’t seem possible unless the Giants could move salary elsewhere.  With this payroll crunch in mind, the Giants were surely disappointed to fall short in their pursuit of Shohei Ohtani, as San Francisco was one of seven finalists for the Japanese two-way star before he eventually signed with the Angels.

    Watson ended up being the only significant addition to a bullpen that struggled overall last year, though a healthy Mark Melancon would go a long way towards improving matters.  The plethora of young starters that miss out on the rotation battle could also provide some further depth behind Melancon, Watson, Sam Dyson, Hunter Strickland, Cory Gearrin, and Steven Okert.  Rule 5 draft pick Julian Fernandez is also in the mix but a total wild card, as he has never pitched above the A-ball level.  Veteran lefty Will Smith is targeted to return in May or June after undergoing Tommy John surgery almost a year ago.

    Overview

    While the Giants are clearly planning to contend in 2018, this season could also serve as something of a bridge year for the franchise.  Come next winter, the Giants will have McCutchen and Pence off the books, be free of a recurring luxury tax penalty, and be positioned exceed the threshold in pursuit of expensive free agents (such as Bryce Harper?) or trade chips.  By then, the club should also have more of an idea of what it has in younger talents like Blach, Stratton, and Duggar, or even more-established players like Joe Panik.  The Giants may also have advanced further in extension talks with ace Madison Bumgarner. A total rebuild doesn’t seem likely even in the event of another 98-loss season, though the Giants would surely look to move some veterans at the trade deadline.

    Despite this uncertainty, San Francisco still went ahead to further bolster its veteran core, and Longoria and McCutchen should provide quite a bit more value than Span and Moore did last season (or are likely to provide this season).  The Giants have left themselves with very little luxury tax room to maneuver for upgrades at the trade deadline, though the team still has its upper crust of prospects — Heliot Ramos, Beede, Chris Shaw — to offer if a big acquisition is required.

    Rather than the start of a decline period for a veteran team, 2017 could potentially be seen as simply a perfect storm of fluke injuries (especially Bumgarner’s) and subpar performances — if, at least, the team’s veterans can return to their 2016 form.  Between McCutchen, Longoria, and the low-cost free agent signings, the Giants might have filled all the holes they need to fill, provided some of their younger players can step up.

    What’s your take on the Giants’ winter?  (Link for app users.)

    Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

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    NL West Notes: Samardzija, Padres, Rockies https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-west-notes-samardzija-padres-rockies.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/nl-west-notes-samardzija-padres-rockies.html#comments Sat, 03 Mar 2018 07:28:45 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116137 Giants righty Jeff Samardzija held an interesting chat with MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. In large part, it’s a lengthy discussion of Samardzija’s multi-sport background and decision to pursue baseball professionally — which, he says, was driven more by interest than any considerations of the health implications of playing in the NFL. The San Francisco hurler likens the game of baseball to a “big painting you put together” and hints he could still have some masterpieces in his brush. He also suggests he’s not yet thinking about the end: “Where’s the end of the wick? Who knows? Let’s find out. That’s the fun of it all.”

    More from the NL West:

    • As the Padres consider roster options, the club is looking to squeeze some added utility out of certain players. Infielder Christian Villanueva, in particular, will be tried out as a backup option at short, per MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell (via Twitter). The 26-year-old, who’s out of options, has played all of 14 innings at short as a professional. But after he posted a .296/.369/.528 slash at Triple-A last year, the Pads seem to be looking for ways to hang onto Villanueva.
    • In other Padres news, the organization is seeing promising signs from injured hurlers Robbie Erlin and Colin Rea, per Cassavell. The Tommy John recoverees are certainly interesting players to watch this spring, as both have shown their talent at times in the past. Erlin, it’s worth noting, is well ahead of Rea in the rehab process, though both are well over a year removed from their procedures. Both are part of a long list of pitching possibilities in Padres camp, as reflected in the current organizational depth chart over at Roster Resource.
    • It seems one area of focus this spring for the Rockies is finding a way to swipe a few more bags. As Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports, the club is particularly interested to see whether the fleet-footed Raimel Tapia can learn to translate his speed into stolen bases. Just as interesting as the efforts on the bases, it seems there’s at least some hope that Tapia could hold down a spot at the top of the lineup. That seems a bit of a questionable fit, as the young outfielder doesn’t walk much and is therefore quite reliant upon maintaining a lofty batting average on balls in play to get on base. While lineup construction is hardly the most consequential issue facing the Rox, it seems worth noting that second baseman DJ LeMahieu has led the club in OBP in each of the past two seasons and would seem to be a sensible fit in the leadoff spot.
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    Williamson Working With Revamped Swing https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/clayton-kersaw-opt-out-rumors-contract-dodgers.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/clayton-kersaw-opt-out-rumors-contract-dodgers.html#comments Thu, 01 Mar 2018 04:43:41 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116032
  • Giants outfielder Mac Williamson spent the offseason working with private hitting instructor Doug Latta, whose most prominent success story is Justin Turner, writes Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. Williamson spoke with Pavlovic about the changes he’s made to his swing, including the lowering of his hands and incorporation of a larger leg kick. Giants staff members have tried to get Williamson to lift the ball with more regularity in the past, Pavlovic notes, but he’s still posted an ugly 56.6 percent ground-ball rate in his career despite owning a fair bit of raw power. Pavlovic adds that Williamson is likely ticketed for Triple-A, which isn’t a huge surprise given the presence of Andrew McCutchen, Hunter Pence, Austin Jackson and two out-of-options teammates in Jarrett Parker and Gorkys Hernandez.
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    Crasnick On Giants' Offseason Strategy https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/nl-west-notes-barnes-tomas-giants.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/nl-west-notes-barnes-tomas-giants.html#comments Sat, 24 Feb 2018 04:43:25 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115617
  • ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick checks in on Giants camp, discussing the veteran-heavy unit that will try to engineer a dramatic turnaround following a moribund 2017 effort. Executive VP of baseball operations Brian Sabean discussed in broad terms the fact that the team’s offseason strategy involved bringing in established players whose best days are likely in the past. He suggests that many supremely talented players ought to be able to thrive even as they move out of their prime years. “I don’t think the industry gives itself enough credit with the initiatives we’ve taken with sports science, rest and recovery, nutrition, offseason conditioning, in-season conditioning, the new off days built into the schedule and the new ways to travel that are more elite and more first class,” explains Sabean. While moves for Andrew McCutchen, Evan Longoria, and others were surely made in part because they allowed the club to add proven performers while staying below the luxury tax line, it does seem the San Francisco organization believes that some of its competitors may be a bit too fixated on age. Some of the newly added and preexisting veterans echo that sentiment; there’s plenty more of interest to unpack in the article.
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    Giants Outright Joan Gregorio https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/minor-mlb-transactions-22218.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/minor-mlb-transactions-22218.html#comments Fri, 23 Feb 2018 03:50:41 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115508
  • Righty Joan Gregorio has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A by the Giants, per Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group (via Twitter). The 26-year-old was once regarded as a quality prospect but needs to regain his trajectory after a 2017 season marred by a PED suspension. He did work to a 3.04 ERA in 74 Triple-A innings over 13 starts, but managed only 7.4 K/9 against 4.3 BB/9 on the year.
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    Giants, Bumgarner Have Mutual Interest In Extension; No Talks Yet https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/madison-bumgarner-extension-rumors-giants.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/madison-bumgarner-extension-rumors-giants.html#comments Thu, 22 Feb 2018 05:47:00 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115490
  • The Giants and Madison Bumgarner have mutual interest in working out an extension eventually, GM Bobby Evans told MLB Network’s Jon Morosi on SiriusXM radio (Twitter link). However, Evans also noted that the two sides aren’t presently in active negotiations on a new deal, nor is there a timeline to begin those talks. Spring Training is typically the prime time for teams to discuss long-term pacts and extensions with their players, though, so it stands to reason that the Giants will be in touch with Bumgarner’s reps at the Legacy Agency over the next few weeks. San Francisco doesn’t necessarily need to feel a rush to extend the 28-year-old Bumgarner, who can be controlled through 2019 as it is, but working out a long-term deal next spring when he’s just a year from the open market could prove difficult. Bumgarner is earning $12MM in 2018, and the Giants have a $12MM club option on his 2019 season as well.
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    Minor MLB Transactions: 2/21/18 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/minor-mlb-transactions-22118.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/minor-mlb-transactions-22118.html#comments Wed, 21 Feb 2018 20:36:57 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115459 We’ll track the day’s minor moves in this post:

    • The Braves outrighted right-hander Mauricio Cabrera, who has cleared waivers, per David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter). Atlanta will surely be glad to hold onto the fireballing reliever, who could be an intriguing piece of the late-inning unit if he’s able to get a hold of his arsenal. Cabrera’s control evaporated in 2017 but he did carry a 2.82 ERA in 38 1/3 MLB innings in the prior season.
    • Lefty Manny Parra is joining the Giants on a minors deal, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (Twitter link). The 35-year-old struggled quite a bit in limited action last year at Triple-A with the Cubs and sat out for all of 2016. Still, he was a useful reliever as recently as 2015, when he threw 32 1/3 innings of 3.90 ERA ball. Once a starter with the Brewers, Parra’s best years came as a pen piece for the Reds — including a strong 2013 campaign in which he worked to a 3.33 ERA with 11.0 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9.
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    West Notes: Rockies, Giants, Lewis https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/west-notes-rockies-giants-lewis.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/west-notes-rockies-giants-lewis.html#comments Tue, 20 Feb 2018 16:01:47 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115318 After making several bullpen moves and addressing their catching situation, the Rockies have had a quiet run-up to camp. It has long been wondered, though, whether the organization might yet add another player, particularly given the ongoing lack of clarity at first base. Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports on the state of affairs as camp opens. Ian Desmond says he has been left with the impression he’s “mostly” going to be utilized in left field, seemingly leaving youngster Ryan McMahon with the inside track to commanding regular time at first. But the market still includes quite a few other possibilities, so it certainly seems premature to count the club out from another move. Saunders notes that the Rox have not had recent discussions with Mark Reynolds, it’s worth noting. Perhaps it is also still possible to imagine the addition of an outfielder, with Desmond then being asked to slide back to first, though it’s all still guesswork at this point.

    Here are some more links from the western divisions:

    • With so much trade chatter surrounding the Giants over the winter, several players now in camp with the organization saw their names circulated in rumors over the winter. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle discusses the winter of uncertainty with second baseman Joe Panik and a few other players. As for Panik, a phone call from GM Bobby Evans in the midst of the Giancarlo Stanton saga helped put his mind to ease, though he also notes that he and his wife would have been devastated to leave San Francisco and the Giants organization.
    • Mariners prospect Kyle Lewis recently underwent an unexpected second knee surgery, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. The hope is that the 22-year-old, who was taken 11th in the 2016 draft, will be ready to begin preparing for the season in earnest before the end of April. GM Jerry Dipoto emphasized that this particular surgery is only a clean-up, expressed some hope that it’ll be “the final step to getting him healthy,” and credited Lewis for his hard work. Of course, it’s also the latest in a long line of problems with the joint, as Divish documents in a post that’s essential reading for fans of the Seattle organization.
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    Giants Sign Tony Watson https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/giants-agree-to-terms-with-tony-watson.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/giants-agree-to-terms-with-tony-watson.html#comments Mon, 19 Feb 2018 23:55:55 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114979 FEBRUARY 19: Watson is officially a member of the Giants. He will earn $3MM in 2018 and $3.5MM in 2019 before considering a $2.5MM player option ($500K buyout) for 2020, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link).

    FEBRUARY 17: The Giants have reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with free-agent lefty Tony Watson that includes a player option for a third season. Watson is represented by the Boras Corporation.

    Watson receives a $9MM guarantee, but it’s far from certain that he’ll end up earning precisely that amount. His total earnings could increase to $14MM over two years or $21MM for three years, depending on escalators and performance bonuses. Of course, Watson could also elect to return to the open market and leave some of the guaranteed money on the table.

     

    [RELATED: Updated Giants Depth Chart]

    The complicated structure will allow the Giants to stay shy of the luxury line, at least for the time being. Despite having had only limited availability at this stage of the winter, the San Francisco organization was able to fit another veteran piece as they seek to engineer a dramatic turnaround from a ghastly 2017 performance.

    Watson.Tony (5)

    Watson, who’ll turn 33 at the end of May, has long been a productive late-inning reliever, though he has also long outperformed his peripherals. It seemed he was fading a bit during a less-than-stellar first half of the 2017 season with the Pirates. But Watson finished strong after being dealt to the Dodgers and ended 2017 with a 3.38 ERA over 66 2/3 frames.

    Rather remarkably, that quality run prevention effort matched the worst full-season earned run average of Watson’s career. Over his seven campaigns and 453 innings in the majors, Watson carries an excellent 2.68 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. He also has ample late-inning experience, including thirty saves.

    Watson got much better results after changing uniforms, though it’s not crystal clear just what changed. He tweaked his horizontal release point, shifted toward his two-seamer and away from his slider, and started working higher in the zone with his fastballs. The bottom line remains that he brings 94 mph and a ~12% swinging-strike rate from the left side.

    Regardless, the main question probably remains whether skipper Bruce Bochy will deploy Watson more as a general setup man in front of former Pittsburgh teammate Mark Melancon, or whether instead he’ll use the southpaw in a more targeted fashion against opposing lefties. Righties tagged Watson for a .271/.348/.460 slash last year and have long found greater success against him than their left-handed-hitting counterparts.

    Jon Heyman and Robert Murray Fan Rag reported the signing (Twitter link). Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic tweeted the structure, while Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com had the guarantee (via Twitter). 

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Giants Designate Joan Gregorio For Assignment https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/giants-designate-joan-gregorio-for-assignment.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/giants-designate-joan-gregorio-for-assignment.html#comments Mon, 19 Feb 2018 21:49:47 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115266 The Giants have designated right-hander Joan Gregorio for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Tony Watson, whose contract with San Francisco is now official (Twitter link via Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area).

    Gregorio, 26, has yet to reach the Majors and missed the second half of the 2017 season in Triple-A due to a PED suspension. Prior to that, he’d pitched to a 3.04 ERA with 7.4 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 and a 32.5 percent ground-ball rate in 74 innings of work there. Overall, Gregorio has a 4.37 ERA in 181 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level. Gregorio was, at one point, a mainstay on Giants’ prospect rankings, topping out at No. 7 among their farmhands in the 2016-17 offseason, per Baseball America. BA noted that he had an average fastball and slider with an improving changeup but questionable command, pointing to a potential shift to the ’pen.

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    Tim Lincecum Reportedly Has Guaranteed Contract Offer https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/tim-lincecum-rumors-guaranteed-offer-giants.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/tim-lincecum-rumors-guaranteed-offer-giants.html#comments Mon, 19 Feb 2018 19:34:59 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115240 Around two thirds of the league reportedly had at least one scout on hand at Tim Lincecum’s showcase last week, and SB Nation’s Grant Brisbee reports that one club came away with a favorable enough impression to offer Lincecum a guaranteed, Major League deal. That team is not the Giants, Brisbee adds, noting that the presence of a big league contract offer for Lincecum likely eliminates the chances of a reunion with his original team.

    Among the teams that were reported to be in attendance at Lincecum’s showcase (in addition to the Giants) were the Rangers, Phillies, Dodgers, Twins, Tigers, Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Brewers, Padres, Braves, Mariners and Cardinals. The Mets reportedly did not attend. Texas and San Francisco were said to be impressed by Lincecum’s showing, via Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. (The Rangers have been stockpiling affordable pitching depth.) The Yankees reportedly thought he looked “fine,” per NJ Advance Media’s Brendan Kuty.

    An NL scout told the Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish that Lincecum’s breaking ball had a better shape than in recent years but questioned whether he had a true out pitch. Lincecum’s fastball velocity was widely reported be sitting in the 90-92 mph range, which would be a marked improvement from the 87 mph he averaged with his fastball in an ill-fated run with the Angels during his 2016 comeback bid.

    At this point, it’s been more than a half decade since Lincecum was an above-average big league contributor, when he logged a pristine 2.74 ERA in more than 200 innings for the 2011 Giants. Since that time, he’s mustered just a 4.94 ERA in 654 Major League frames, battling through injuries, diminished velocity and diminished control as his home-run rate spiked.

    Given those struggles and his absence from baseball entirely in 2017, it’s a bit surprising that someone would offer a 40-man roster spot and the promise of a guaranteed salary. The now-33-year-old certainly isn’t devoid of any upside, especially relative to the cost of acquisition, but a return as an upper-echelon pitcher is a decisive long shot.

    Lincecum does have some name value with fans, though, and perhaps he could ultimately come back as a mid-rotation piece or an interesting reliever if he can sustain the low-90s velocity he reportedly displayed at last week’s workout. (He had some success pitching with similar velocity earlier this decade.) Any big league deal he signs would presumably contain a minimal guarantee and significant incentives based on his number of appearances (either games started or relief appearances, dependent on his role) and innings totals.

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    Mark Melancon Helped Giants Reel In Tony Watson https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/west-notes-hosmer-cargo-rox-mariners-d-backs-giants.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/west-notes-hosmer-cargo-rox-mariners-d-backs-giants.html#comments Sun, 18 Feb 2018 20:49:45 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115139
  • The friendship relievers Mark Melancon and Tony Watson forged during their time together in Pittsburgh from 2013-16 helped the Giants land Watson, Kerry Crowley of the Mercury News writes. Melancon explained Saturday that he had been trying to recruit Watson since last fall, saying: “I think I did, I’ve been pitching at him for the entire offseason and even prior to that. When he was in LA, I was like, ‘We need you over here now.’ So since September of last year I think.” Now that he’s teammates again with Watson, Melancon “couldn’t be more ecstatic.”
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    Giants Impressed With Tim Lincecum's Showcase https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/west-notes-lincecum-giants-rangers-rox-reynolds.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/west-notes-lincecum-giants-rangers-rox-reynolds.html#comments Sat, 17 Feb 2018 19:07:03 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115030 Both the Giants and Rangers came away impressed after watching free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum’s showcase on Thursday, per reports from Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Unsurprisingly, Giants brass has a fondness for Lincecum stemming from his mostly incredible run with the franchise from 2007-15. On whether they’ll try to reunite with Lincecum, general manager Bobby Evans said: “It’s up to the competition of what clubs are bidding on him, and I can’t speak to that yet. It’s early. We obviously are all rooting for Timmy. Selfishly, anything he does, we would love for it to be in a Giants uniform, but sometimes opportunities on the business side dictate otherwise. But we’re always rooting for him.” The Rangers, meanwhile, are likely to continue pursuing the 33-year-old, according to Grant.

    • The Rockies have shown some interest in re-signing first baseman Mark Reynolds since last season ended, yet the 34-year-old remains on the open market. Reynolds told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that he doesn’t know why he’s still unsigned, but he’s continuing to hope for a return to the Rockies after playing with them from 2016-17. “It would be my first choice. It was a great situation. I was good there the last two years,” said Reynolds, who combined to hit .274/.354/.471 during those seasons. “It’s something that I felt was a great fit. But I can’t control what they are thinking. I played there to prove that I’m very capable of playing at that level. … But the Rockies are a good fit, and they are a playoff team and that’s something I’m factoring in my decision as well.” The Reynolds-less Rockies do have in-house first base options on hand in prospect Ryan McMahon and utilityman Ian Desmond.
    • Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar hasn’t developed as hoped since his days as a top prospect, and now that he’s out of minor league options, he could be in another uniform soon. Profar hopes that’s not the case. “I know this team loves me a lot, and I love them,” the 24-year-old said (via Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). “I’m ready to help them win. I just want to play and help the team win. I know I can do it.” Profar was a non-factor last season in Texas, where he hit .172/.294/.207 over a small sample of 70 plate appearances. Left field was Profar’s main position with the Rangers in 2017, but they’re only planning to use him in the infield this spring, per Wilson. He’ll have difficulty carving out a regular role, though, with Joey Gallo (first base), Rougned Odor (second), Elvis Andrus (short) and Adrian Beltre (third) entrenched as starters.
    • Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra underwent surgery on the broken hamate bone in his right hand last Friday and could miss four to six weeks, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports. While Parra is “going to be fine,” according to manager Bud Black, Saunders notes that his injury could open the door for David Dahl to steal a starting spot in right field. Dahl came on the scene in impressive fashion as a rookie in 2016, but a rib cage injury kept him from the majors last season and limited him to 82 minor league PAs. Parra, on the other hand, hit a Coors Field-inflated .309/.341/.452 in 425 trips to the plate.
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    Brian Sabean “Will Be More Involved” In Running Giants In 2018 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/brian-sabean-will-be-more-involved-in-running-giants.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/brian-sabean-will-be-more-involved-in-running-giants.html#comments Fri, 16 Feb 2018 05:21:21 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114888 Brian Sabean, the long-time top baseball operations executive for the Giants, tells Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic (subscription link) that he “will be more involved” at the major-league level during the coming season. There’s no substitute for reading the piece in its entirety, but we’ll cover some of the broad strokes of the story here as well.

    Sabean, the organization’s president of baseball operations, had largely turned over regular management of MLB affairs to GM Bobby Evans when both received new titles at the start of the 2015 campaign. While that first campaign ended with a title, the ensuing years — and, in particular, the past season and a half — have fallen well shy of expectations.

    According to the report, the new direction was established by the upper echelons of the organization’s leadership. In his comments to Baggarly, Sabean largely seems to confirm what had become apparent to an extent with his increasingly visible role over the offseason: the architect of the Giants’ three World Series rosters is back in the control room. That said, Evans is going to continue in his GM role while “retain[ing] wide authority,” as Baggarly puts it.

    Notably, Sabean emphasized collective decisionmaking in his comments. And he seemed to suggest that he’ll be focused in large part on working with manager Bruce Bochy and reestablishing a winning culture that seemed to wane in 2017. Just how things will work out in practicality remains to be seen, but Sabean says he anticipates a smooth transition and certainly has plenty of experience working regularly with this familiar leadership group.

    Still, he also left little doubt as to his marching orders:

    “I’ll pay respect to how [Evans has] operated the last three years, but my experience has been called upon and ownership and [CEO Larry Baer] want this as an initiative starting with me and we’re going to carry it out as best we can on an everyday basis.”

    It will be difficult, no doubt, to suss out the practical impact of the Giants’ tinkering. Still, there’s no denying that the organization has sought a variety of avenues this winter to turn things around after losing 98 games in 2017.

    True, the major names remain the same at all levels. Along with Sabean’s move back downstairs, though, the coaching staff underwent a broad overhaul. And the MLB roster now features two notable, highly-respected veterans in Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria who will surely be expected not only to contribute on the field but also to bring some gravitas to the clubhouse.

    As he has previously, Sabean expressed satisfaction with the moves the club was able to make while still staying shy of the luxury tax line. Thus far, the organization has also steered clear of denting its ability to put together a compelling draft class this summer, when it holds second overall position as a consolation prize for the dreadful 2017 season.

    Whether the team’s bets from this winter work out remain to be seen, of course. McCutchen and Longoria have shown signs of being past their primes. Giving up young talent such as Christian Arroyo could sting. There are benefits to staying beneath the luxury line and maximizing the draft resources, but prioritizing those factors surely also carries the risk of not doing quite enough — particularly with strong competition in the rest of the NL West.

    It does seem clear that the team has positioned itself to win if things break right and has done so without fully mortgaging the future. But tough questions could still arise with a tepid start (is a sell-off warranted?) or a solid one (should the team add and go over the luxury tax line?). No matter how it unfolds, Sabean will again have a primary role in the everyday process.

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    Giants Negotiating With Tony Watson; Phillies & Red Sox Also In Mix https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/giants-negotiating-with-tony-watson.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/giants-negotiating-with-tony-watson.html#comments Tue, 13 Feb 2018 17:33:52 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114611 11:33am: San Francisco isn’t the only team in the mix, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag, who tweets that the Phillies, Red Sox, and unstated other teams are also still involved.

    10:20am: The Giants are engaged in “serious contract talks” with southpaw reliever Tony Watson, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports (via Twitter). It is not clear at this time what sort of contractual terms the sides are contemplating, but Watson is clearly the best lefty pen piece still unsigned at this stage.

    This is certainly an interesting bit of news, due largely to San Francisco’s closely watched effort to improve while staying shy of the competitive balance tax line. Recent tabulations have suggested the team is only $2MM or so beneath the $197MM threshold at present, leaving little room for a player of Watson’s anticipated price.

    If the Giants were to accept the luxury tax for the 2018 season, it’s at least fair to wonder whether they’d plan to go further over the line to add other players. On the other hand, part of the team’s strategy could be to engineer a mid-season sell-off to get back below the line if things don’t go quite as hoped.

    As things stand, the Giants’ depth chart features Steven Okert as the top southpaw on hand. Josh Osich and D.J. Snelten also represent 40-man options, with recent minor-league signee Derek Holland perhaps also factoring in the mix if he cannot earn a rotation slot. San Francisco will ultimately hope for a bounce back from Will Smith, who is looking to return from a Tommy John procedure that was performed just before the start of the 2017 season, but clearly there’s some room for improvement.

    Entering the winter, Watson was tabbed as the 44th-best free agent in MLBTR’s ranking of the top 50 open-market players. We guessed the 32-year-old could command $12MM in total guaranteed money over two years. While he has plenty of general late-inning experience, our assessment was that he’d be pursued (and paid) more as a quality lefty specialist. Watson, after all, has long been much more effective against opposing lefties.

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    Giants Notes: Pence, Hernandez https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/west-notes-dodgers-yu-rangers-gomez-giants.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/west-notes-dodgers-yu-rangers-gomez-giants.html#comments Sun, 11 Feb 2018 03:54:40 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114426
  • The Giants’ Hunter Pence has taken his switch from right to left field in stride, which the team’s management appreciates, per John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. The soon-to-be 35-year-old Pence has never played left during his 1,489-game career as an outfielder, but he’ll head there this year as a result of the Giants’ acquisition of Andrew McCutchen. Pence is embracing the move, which Shea notes was difficult for ex-Giant Angel Pagan when they had him shift from center to left two years ago. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to have a whole new perspective,” Pence said. “It’s kind of refreshing on the mind. It’s an exciting challenge that I anticipate.”
  • Gorkys Hernandez, one of Pence’s outfield mates, underwent surgery on a broken hamate bone in his left hand after last season, broadcaster Marvin Benard revealed Saturday (Twitter link via Shea). Hernandez played with the injury for at least some of 2017, when he batted a meek .255/.327/.326 with no home runs and a .071 ISO over 348 PAs. The out-of-options 30-year-old will compete to retain his spot on the Giants this spring.
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    West Notes: A’s, Rangers, Bumgarner https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/west-notes-as-rangers-bumgarner.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/west-notes-as-rangers-bumgarner.html#comments Sat, 10 Feb 2018 15:09:06 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114370 While it’s been somewhat of a surprise to see some large market teams not spending the way they usually do, this offseason isn’t different from any other for small-market teams like the Athletics. As Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, low payrolls have long been “modus operandi” for the A’s, and now much of baseball is under fire for following suit. “I can’t speak for other teams, but I know for us, this scenario is not much different than it’s been for a number of years as we push for a new stadium,” Oakland Vice President of Baseball Operations Billy Beane said. He added that the scenario is individual for each team, but for the A’s it comes down to simply not having the resources. While some are accusing MLB clubs of a “race to the bottom,” Slusser notes that youth-centric rebuilds with focus on prospects and the draft helped lead the Royals, Cubs and Astros to World Series titles in the past three seasons. Indeed, Beane said, “I’m sure that’s part of it. Sports is very copycat: Whatever succeeds, people will try.” The Athletics signed Yusmiero Petit to a two-year, $10MM contract this offseason, and also made offers to Brian Duensing and Austin Jackson before they ultimately signed with other clubs. Now, says Slusser, the A’s offseason spending is “essentially done.”

    Other notes from teams near the country’s Pacific coast…

    • Evan Grant of SportsDay dives into the questions that the Rangers will need to answer if they choose to implement a six-man rotation this season (or as manager Jeff Banister calls it, a “five-plus-one” rotation). The basic structure: have five starters who pitch regularly, and utilize a sixth pitcher as a swingman to pitch only when necessary to ensure that each pitcher gets five days off between starts. The ultimate hope is that such a configuration will keep all Rangers pitchers fresh and reduce late-season fatigue. “The schedule makes it challenging. Construction of your roster makes it challenging,” said Banister. “There is enough data that tells us there are pitchers who definitely benefit from an extra day’s rest or the routine of being on that five-day rest period or six-day rest period. You can point to ERAs. You can point to velocity. You can point to walk rates go down, strike out rates go up.” There are significant challenges in bringing this idea into reality, however. First, it’s a pretty radical change from what MLB pitchers are used to doing, and what they’ve been trained to do during their entire careers. Second, they’d need to find enough pitchers to make it a viable strategy, and the Rangers’ starting staff has more questions than answers at the moment.
    • Giants GM Bobby Evans says that there haven’t been any contract talks between the club and postseason titan Madison Bumgarner, according to a tweet from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Bumgarner has long been the ace of the Giants’ pitching staff. He was drafted by the organization and has never played for another. MadBum’s posted a 3.01 ERA (3.34 xFIP) over the course of his eight-year MLB career with 8.84 K/9 against just 2.04 BB/9. The Giants own a 2019 club option over the towering lefty for a mere $12MM, so they’ll be able to control him through his age-29 campaign before he hits the open market during the 2019-2020 offseason (barring an extension).
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