San Francisco Giants – MLB Trade Rumors Thu, 19 Jul 2018 04:00:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Minor MLB Transactions: 7/18/18 Wed, 18 Jul 2018 15:40:40 +0000 Here are the latest minor moves from around the game, all via Matt Eddy of Baseball America unless otherwise noted:

  • A few right-handed hurlers with some MLB experience have found new homes. Casey Coleman has returned to the Cubs on a minors deal after opening the year in indy ball. He has appeared previously in parts of four MLB seasons and thrown 177 1/3 total frames at the game’s highest level, mostly for the Cubs. Coleman has a lifetime 5.72 ERA in the majors and hasn’t seen time there since 2014. Meanwhile, Mike Broadway will go to the Rays after being released by the Royals. The 31-year-old has struggled in the upper minors of late after making 25 appearances in the bigs with the Giants in 2015 and 2016.
  • Another righty, Jeff Ames, has been announced as the newest member of the Brewers organization. The 27-year-old was a sandwich-round selection in the 2011 draft but has yet to make it to the majors. He had worked to a 5.70 ERA with 12.9 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 over 23 2/3 Double-A innings this year in the Nationals organization.
  • Eddy lists a variety of players who were cut loose, none more prominent than infielder Alexi Amarista. The 29-year-old, a seven-year MLB veteran, had been with the Phillies but slashed just .238/.285/.288 in his 173 plate appearances at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Amarista has a lifetime 68 OPS+ in 702 games of MLB action, so the lack of offensive production is hardly a surprise. He’s obviously valued primarily for his glovework.
  • Also released were outfielder Rymer Liriano (Angels) and lefty Jairo Labourt (Tigers). Both were in the not-too-distant past considered intriguing enough players to make it into the majors and then bounce around a bit via waiver claims. Liriano had posted a robust .268/.343/.523 slash in his 65 games of action at Triple-A with the Halos organization. But he had not yet been given a shot at the big league level this year and will now go looking for a better opportunity elsewhere. The 24-year-old Labourt, on the other hand, only made it into five rookie ball games with the Chicago organization, recording 11 strikeouts over 5 2/3 one-hit innings but also issuing nine free passes and allowing six runs (three earned).
Phillies, Giants Among Teams Interested In Jeurys Familia Sun, 15 Jul 2018 19:40:56 +0000 Mets soon-to-be free-agent closer Jeurys Familia is drawing trade interest primarily from National League teams, Buster Olney of ESPN reports. The Phillies and Giants are among those clubs, per Olney, who notes that Philadelphia might wait to see whether it acquires Manny Machado and Zach Britton from the Orioles before embarking on an earnest pursuit of Familia.

Familia was one of the game’s best relievers from 2014-16, a stretch in which he pitched to a 2.20 ERA and saved 99 of 114 opportunities, but he took steps backward during an injury- and suspension-shortened 2017. The 28-year-old now looks closer to his top form, having recorded a 2.88 ERA/2.52 FIP with 9.52 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 50.5 percent groundball rate in 40 2/3 innings this season. Along the way, Familia has saved 17 of 21 opportunities for the out-of-contention Mets.

The Phillies, as an NL East rival of the Mets, are quite familiar with Familia, and they’ve seen their bullpen turn in a middle-of-the-pack performance during a first-place season. The Phillies only lead their division by a game and a half, though, and their relievers entered Sunday 17th in the majors in ERA and 15th in fWAR. However, they have received strong production from youngsters Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos.

The Giants, on the other hand, are out of the playoffs right now, sitting three games back of a wild-card spot and 3 1/2 behind NL West-leading Los Angeles. Statistically, the Giants’ bullpen has outdone the Phillies’, ranking 10th in ERA and an even more impressive sixth in fWAR. Familia would further strengthen a group that has seen Will Smith, Tony Watson and Reyes Moronta, among others, turn in absolutely great showings. San Francisco’s bullpen did lose closer Hunter Strickland to a fractured hand less than a month ago, but he should be back within a few weeks.

Any team acquiring Familia would be taking on a rental, as mentioned earlier. He’s owed the balance of a $7.925MM salary.

Giants Place Jeff Samardzija On DL Sun, 15 Jul 2018 18:13:40 +0000 The Giants have placed right-hander Jeff Samardzija on the 10-day disabled list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder, Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group was among those to report. Infielder Kelby Tomlinson is up from Triple-A Sacramento in a corresponding move.

This is the third DL stint of the season and the second on account of shoulder troubles for Samardzija, who was known for his durability entering the year. The 33-year-old came into 2018 fresh off five straight seasons of 200-plus innings. He has only thrown 44 2/3 at the halfway point this year, though, and hasn’t been effective when healthy enough to take the hill.

Samardzija has pitched to a 6.25 ERA/5.42 FIP thus far, thanks in part to poor strikeout and walk rates (6.04 K/9, 5.24 BB/9), a 29.9 percent groundball mark and a recent stark decline in velocity. All of those numbers represent personal-worst figures for Samardzija, who holds a 4.17 ERA/3.86 FIP with 8.1 K/9, 2.72 BB/9 and a 43.8 percent grounder rate for his career.

Samardzija is in the third season of a five-year, $80MM contract, a deal the Giants awarded him when he was a quality mid-rotation starter. Now, with a desire to stay under the $197MM competitive-tax threshold, they’d surely like to get rid of his money. The club has reportedly made him available, in fact, but his 2018 performance, newfound injury troubles and contract combine to make him immovable.

Despite Samardzija’s woes this year, the Giants sit a respectable 50-47, three games out of a wild-card spot and 3 1/2 behind the NL West-leading Dodgers. If Samardzija misses significant time after the All-Star break, it seems likely San Francisco will slot Derek Holland back into its rotation behind Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Andrew Suarez and Dereck Rodriguez.

Giants Make Jeff Samardzija Available Sat, 14 Jul 2018 15:24:03 +0000
  • The Giants are willing to part with right-hander Jeff Samardzija, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports, adding that they specifically informed the Yankees he’s available. However, the Yankees aren’t sure if he’s the right fit for their stadium, per Nightengale. Sending Samardzija anywhere would be a tall task for San Francisco, as he’s due $19.8MM per year through 2020 and is in the midst of a rough season. The longtime workhorse, 33, has missed time with pectoral and shoulder problems, and when Samardzija has taken the mound, he has only managed a 6.42 ERA/5.47 FIP over 40 2/3 innings.
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    Giants To Sign Peter Bourjos Fri, 13 Jul 2018 23:16:38 +0000 The Giants have agreed to a minors deal with outfielder Peter Bourjos, per Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area (via Twitter). He’ll head to the team’s top affiliate.

    Bourjos, 31, has been on and off the Braves’ MLB roster this year. He hasn’t hit much at all in limited opportunities. Neither has he done much more in recent campaigns. Since the start of 2014, Bourjos carries a .229/.286/.366 slash through 1,152 trips to the plate at the game’s highest level.

    That said, the numbers have been much better this year at Triple-A, where Bourjos is a .277/.352/.511 hitter in 105 plate appearances. And the nine-year MLB veteran is much better known for his defense and baserunning. For the Giants, he’ll represent an insurance policy in center field.

    Giants Could Make Further Payroll-Driven Moves Tue, 10 Jul 2018 23:38:27 +0000
  • The Giants might not be done making moves to shed salary, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. The team seemingly dubbed Austin Jackson and Cory Gearrin expendable and shed their remaining salary in Sunday’s trade with the Rangers, and Schulman wonders if the Giants would also take a similar course with either Derek Holland or Sam Dyson. Holland has been solid dating back to early May, but he’s somewhat redundant with Ty Blach also on the roster (though certainly the depth is valuable). San Francisco could save another $1.4MM, Schulman adds, if Dyson is moved. It should be emphasized that the Giants’ goal certainly isn’t to shed payroll at all costs; rather, the aim would seem to be shedding expendable pieces who could be replaced by more affordable internal options, thus creating further distance from the $197MM luxury tax barrier. Schulman also notes that while finding a taker for Hunter Pence would obviously create ample breathing room in that regard, some within the organization, including manager Bruce Bochy, would hate to see Pence and his leadership depart.
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    Quick Hits: Puig, Sandoval, G. Hernandez, Indians, Mets Mon, 09 Jul 2018 02:39:07 +0000 Congrats to all the players who were named 2018 All-Stars tonight, including 14 players who will be making their first-ever appearances at the exhibition game! The Red Sox, Astros and Indians lead the way with five All-Stars apiece, while Mike Trout, Craig Kimbrel, Chris Sale and Justin Verlander lead all players in this years cast in experience; it’s the seventh selection for each of those veterans.

    The All-Star selections aren’t the only news of tonight, though. Here are a few other quick hits to take note of…

    • Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig departed tonight’s game after experiencing pain in his side during an at-bat. According to J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group, the team is calling it a “right intercostal oblique strain.” It’s not clear yet how much time Puig will miss (particularly since the intercostals and obliques are completely different muscles), but he seems likely to require a DL stint. There’s no firm news yet on the teams plans, though.
    • The Giants got some good news and some bad news today regarding a pair of players who were hurt in today’s game; Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group was among those to tweet the specifics. The bad news is that Pablo Sandoval is believed to have suffered a thumb sprain. He’s set to be evaluated tomorrow in order to determine the extent. of the injury. The good news, however, is that Gorkys Hernandez’ situation is being described as simply a “tight left calf”. The club doesn’t think it’s anything serious, so it’s likely he’ll miss little time, if any.
    • Center field and right field for the Indians have been “somewhat of a mess, a revolving door without much consistency,” writes Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal. Lewis notes the injury situations of Bradley Zimmer and Lonnie Chisenhall in particular, and lists external options such as Adam Jones, Nick Castellanos, Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall as theoretical trade targets for the Tribe. Manny Machado has also been on the club’s radar, and could theoretically push Jason Kipnis into the outfield mix, as he has some experience there.
    • David Lennon of Newsday has some strongly-worded opinions about what he thinks the Mets ought to do with Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard prior to the trade deadline, writing that, “To stand pat with this group, in a market nearly devoid of reliable starters, would make the Mets guilty of criminal negligence in their efforts to put this debacle of a season behind them.” Though Lennon’s phrasing seems a bit hysterical, he does make a solid point in noting that the emergence of Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz makes it easier to part with either of their more established (and less controllable) starters.
    Rangers Acquire Austin Jackson, Cory Gearrin; Could Trade Jackson Sun, 08 Jul 2018 17:47:26 +0000 12:47pm: Jackson may never even play for the Rangers, per Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. General manager Jon Daniels told the outfielder “to hold off on reporting,” Fraley writes. It seems they’ll try to trade him.

    12:05pm: The Rangers have acquired outfielder Austin Jackson, reliever Cory Gearrin and right-hander Jason Bahr from the Giants in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations, according to Texas’ executive vice president of communications, John Blake. To clear room on their 40-man roster, the Rangers moved relievers Matt Bush and Tony Barnette to the 60-day disabled list. Meanwhile, the Giants will select both outfielder Steven Duggar and righty Ray Black from Triple-A, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets.

    This trade amounts to a cost-cutting move for the Giants, who were narrowly under the $197MM competitive-balance tax threshold entering Sunday. Now, with the Rangers taking on the salaries of both Jackson and Gearrin (per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic), the Giants are seemingly in better position to make some moves around the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline as they try to hang in the NL West race.

    San Francisco added Jackson on a two-year, $6MM free-agent contract last winter on the heels of a season in which the veteran was a key role player for the Indians. The 31-year-old Jackson has gone backward this season, though, as he took 165 plate appearances with the Giants and hit just .242/.309/.295 with no home runs, 14 unintentional walks and 59 strikeouts. He’ll now attempt to revive his season in his native Texas.

    The Giants tried to get rid of Gearrin via outright waivers last month, but no one claimed him. The 32-year-old’s on an affordable $1.675MM salary in his penultimate season of team control, though he has seen his ERA increase from 1.99 in 2017 to 4.20 in 2018. Overall this year, Gearrin has tossed 30 innings and managed 9.3 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9.

    Along with helping the Giants get out from under the salaries of Jackson and Gearrin, the out-of-contention Rangers also added Bahr – who ranked as San Francisco’s 27th-best prospect at Bahr, 23, joined the Giants just last year as a fifth-round pick. He has since pitched solely at the Single-A level, including 84 2/3 innings of 2.55 ERA ball this season.

    With the Jackson experiment having failed for the Giants, they’ll introduce the well-regarded Duggar to their outfield mix. The 24-year-old Duggar, a 2015 third-round pick and’s third-ranked Giants prospect, owns a .272/.354/.421 line in 356 Triple-A plate appearances this season. He’ll join a San Francisco outfield that hasn’t gotten average or better offensive production from anyone but Andrew McCutchen, Gorkys Hernandez and Austin Slater this year.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Giants Aren't Trading Madison Bumgarner Sun, 08 Jul 2018 03:39:38 +0000 It’s well known that the Yankees are looking to bolster their rotation, though the cost to acquire a starter is “out of control right now,” a source close to the team informed Mark Feinsand of Nevertheless, Feinsand goes on to list a few starters the Yankees could pursue, including Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. As you’d expect, though, Bumgarner’s not going anywhere. A Giants executive told Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic that any trade speculation centering on Bumgarner is “California dreaming.”

    Giants Activate Jeff Samardzija Sat, 07 Jul 2018 17:37:15 +0000 The Giants announced a collection of roster moves today, including the news that right-hander Jeff Samardzija has been activated from the 10-day DL to start today’s game against the Cardinals.  Infielder Chase d’Arnaud will also join the 25-man roster after his contract was purchased from Triple-A.  In corresponding moves, second baseman Joe Panik was officially placed on the 10-day DL with a left groin strain, righty Chris Stratton was sent down to Triple-A, and Hunter Strickland was moved from the 10-day to the 60-day DL.

    [Updated Giants depth chart at Roster Resource]

    Samardzija suffered some right shoulder tightness during a start on May 29 and ended up missing over a month of action while recovering.  The time off could serve as a virtual reset on Samardzija’s season, as he had a 6.56 ERA and almost as many walks (23) as strikeouts (26) in eight starts and 35 2/3 IP prior to his injury.  Injuries have plagued San Francisco’s rotation for much of the year, though the Giants finally have their projected top three of Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, and Samardzija all active at the same time.  The rotation could go from a problem area to a strength for the Giants in the pennant race, particularly since Andrew Suarez and Dereck Rodriguez have both pitched well in fill-in duty.  Indeed, it was Stratton rather than Rodriguez who was sent down to Triple-A to make room for Samardzija’s return.

    d’Arnaud signed a minor league deal back in January and now get his first taste of big league action in 2018.  He’ll take Alen Hanson’s spot as the utilityman while Hanson gets more regular duty filling in for Panik at second base.  Versatility has been the watchword for d’Arnaud over his six MLB seasons, as the 31-year-old has played at least one game at every position except pitcher and catcher.

    Giants To Place Joe Panik On 10-Day DL Sat, 07 Jul 2018 05:06:03 +0000 The Giants will place second baseman Joe Panik on the 10-day disabled, skipper Bruce Bochy told reporters after tonight’s game. The injury took place when Panik was running the bases this evening, forcing him out of the contest.

    As Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area was among those to tweet, Panik is headed for an MRI tomorrow to fully assess the injury. Clearly, though, it’s not promising that it’s already clear he’ll require a stretch on the DL.

    As Bochy put it, Panik “did a pretty good job on” the muscle. It’s impossible to guess at the duration of an absence, but certainly a significant strain could lead to a lengthy stretch away from the field.

    News of this sort is never welcome, but it’s especially unfortunate for a Giants club that was finally nearing full health. It always seemed a tough task for this roster to hang in the NL West race, but it has done so to this point.

    For the time being, it seems likely that Alen Hanson — who has been quite the pleasant surprise this year in San Francisco — will step in for Panik. Of course, Hanson has been deployed recently in left field, so there’ll be a trickle-down effect on the roster.

    Giants Release Roberto Gomez Fri, 06 Jul 2018 02:43:08 +0000 The Giants have released right-hander Roberto Gomez to open a spot on the 40-man roster for Johnny Cueto’s reinstatement from the 60-day disabled list, tweets Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. The team had already announced earlier tonight that Kelby Tomlinson was optioned to Triple-A in order to open a spot on the 25-man roster.

    Gomez, 28, has been on the minor league disabled list since early May. Because injured players can’t be outrighted during the season, the Giants instead opted to release Gomez in order to clear a spot on the roster. It’s not uncommon in this type of situation for the player in question to strike up a new minor league contract with the organization, so it’s possible that he could yet return to the Giants’ minor league ranks.

    Gomez ha pitched a total of 14 2/3 innings for the Giants over the past two seasons, and while he hasn’t yet found success in the Majors (13 runs allowed in that time), he does have an impressive 14-to-2 K/BB ratio in the big leagues. Gomez also has a solid track record at the Triple-A level, where he’s worked to a 3.93 ERA with 8.0 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9 over the course of 103 innings.

    Giants Activate Johnny Cueto Thu, 05 Jul 2018 21:54:12 +0000 The Giants announced that they’ve activated Johnny Cueto from the 60-day disabled list on Thursday. Infielder Kelby Tomlinson was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento in order to open a spot on the active roster. Cueto’s activation will also require a 40-man move, though the team has yet to make that announcement.

    Cueto, 32, has been out since late April due to a sprain in his right elbow. While the right-hander said that he initially feared he’d require Tommy John surgery, that level of damage wasn’t revealed in the subsequent MRI, and he instead is now able to return after missing a bit more than two months.

    The return of Cueto will be a welcome boon to the San Francisco rotation; the right-hander had gotten off to an outstanding start to the 2018 season, pitching to a 0.84 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, 0.28 HR/9 and a 45 percent ground-ball rate in 32 innings before landing on the shelf. He’ll now slot into the rotation alongside Madison Bumgarner, Chris Stratton, Andrew Suarez and Dereck Rodriguez. That composition is likely to change though, as Jeff Samardzija is also slated to be activated from the disabled list this weekend.

    Cueto’s return will likely be one of the more significant additions the Giants make in the coming weeks. With the team pressed right up against the luxury tax threshold, they’ll only be able to add players if their trade partners either agree to pay the entirety of the remaining salary on a player’s contract or take back some meaningful salary in return. Despite the significant injuries they’ve dealt with in the rotation this season, the Giants are sitting at 45-43 — just 3.5 games behind the division-leading Diamondbacks and three games behind the second-place Dodgers.

    Avoiding Luxury Tax "Is A Must" For Giants Thu, 05 Jul 2018 04:18:02 +0000
  • Giants GM Bobby Evans recently described the team’s desire to keep payroll under the $197MM luxury tax threshold as “a target, not a mandate” in terms of making roster upgrades, though a source tells’s Mark Feinsand that avoiding the tax “is a must” for the club.  After passing the tax limit for multiple seasons, San Francisco could be charged only a 20 percent tax on the overage rather than 50 percent if it can keep its payroll in check for the season.  This didn’t keep the Giants from some big offseason spending, and they have very little room for further additions at the deadline if they want to make a playoff push, which could greatly complicate things for Evans and the front office.  “They’ll have a better feel for what they need at the [All-Star] break, but they may very well have to move money to add money,” the source said.
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    Notable International Prospect Signings Mon, 02 Jul 2018 16:12:59 +0000 With the 2018-19 international signing period kicking off today, there will be dozens of six- and seven-figure bonuses handed out to teenage prospects, primarily out of Latin America, filtering in throughout the day today. Many of these have been in the works for quite some time, as is reflected by the fact that most of the top players’ destinations and signing bonuses have been previously reported/projected (and by the fact that the top agreements will all be reported in one swift avalanche today).

    We’ll keep track of the notable National League signings here and the notable American League signings in a separate post. Note that you can read up on each of these players with the dedicated international coverage available from Ben Badler of Baseball America (subscription required), Jesse Sanchez of and Kiley McDaniel & Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs, each of whom has scouting info on the top echelon of international amateurs. Badler is also tracking the all of the signings from all 30 teams.

    Onto some of the more notable signings…

    Read more

    Injury Notes: Tommy John Surgeries, Sanchez, Thornburg, Sandoval Mon, 02 Jul 2018 02:21:24 +0000 Tommy John surgeries have become alarmingly common in today’s baseball climate, but the most disturbing trend is the age at which the bulk of these procedures are performed. Craig Davis of the Sun Sentinel sheds some spotlight on a recent study showing that teens between the ages of 15 and 19 account for 75% of all Tommy John surgeries. Davis cites the words of Dr. Tommy John (son of the former major league pitcher and the procedure’s namesake), who bluntly says, “The success rate after Tommy John surgery is not good. You don’t want this surgery, especially if you have it in your teenage years.” One possible reason for the dramatic increase in youth Tommy John surgeries is single-sport specialization; Dr. Randolph Cohen of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood seems to believe it’s a big issue. “There’s an overall kind of irrational push by parents on children who are playing sports for such long hours and such long durations and such great repetition that we’re seeing an increase in the injuries in children than say we saw 20 years ago, where injuries like that were much more rare,” he said.

    A few injury-related notes from around major-league baseball…

    • Though injured Yankees star Gary Sanchez hasn’t begun running drills yet, Bryan Hoch of reports that his recovery is going well. The Bombers are apparently hopeful he’ll be able to return around the All-Star break. Though he’s currently batting below the Mendoza line, the young Sanchez leads all MLB catchers with 14 homers to this point in the season.
    • The Red Sox are set to add a valuable reliever even before the July 31st trade deadline hits, as Chris Cotillo of reports that Tyler Thornburg is expected to return to the club this week. The 29-year-old right-hander has yet to pitch in a game for the Red Sox since being acquired from the Brewers in exchange for Travis Shaw and a pair of minor-leaguers. There wouldn’t appear to be a great chance of salvaging the trade at this point, but if Thornburg can return to post something close to the 2.15 ERA and 12.06 K/9 he posted with Milwaukee back in 2016, he could be of great help to an already-strong bridge to Craig Kimbrel.
    • The Giants got some good news today, as it appears Pablo Sandoval has avoided any serious injury. Panda’s x-rays showed no fractures (according to a tweet from Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic), so his diagnosis is simply an elbow contusion after being hit by a Zack Godley pitch during today’s matchup against the Diamondbacks.
    Johnny Cueto Nearing Return Sun, 01 Jul 2018 13:59:02 +0000
  • Like Syndergaard, Giants front-line starter Johnny Cueto is on the cusp of a long-awaited return. Cueto, who last took the mound April 28, made a successful Double-A rehab start Friday as he works back from a right elbow sprain. Cueto will throw a bullpen session Monday, and the Giants will then decide whether to activate the 32-year-old or have him make another rehab start, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
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    Bobby Evans On $197MM CBT Threshold Sun, 01 Jul 2018 03:27:59 +0000
  • As the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches, staying under the $197MM competitive-balance tax figure is “a target, not a mandate” for the Giants, according to general manager Bobby Evans (via John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle). At the moment, the Giants are under the threshold, per Evans. If they stay under it through the end of the season, the Giants would lower their tax rate from 50 percent to 20 percent in time for the offseason, when rumored target Bryce Harper is scheduled to be among the majors’ available free agents. Indeed, “there are a lot of incentives to stay below it,” Evans added. But it could be difficult, Shea explains, especially if the Giants remain in playoff contention around the deadline. They entered Saturday at 43-40, putting them just 1 1/2 games out of a wild-card spot.
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    Giants Release Josh Rutledge Thu, 28 Jun 2018 03:17:02 +0000 The Giants have released veteran infielder Josh Rutledge from their Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. He’d been playing there on a minor league pact signed back in December.

    Rutledge, 29, appeared in 18 games for the River Cats and totaled 54 plate appearances, hitting at a woeful .077/.111/.077 clip. Obviously, it’s a substantial outlier for a player with a career .280/.341/.418 slash in 163 career games at the Triple-A level, but it’s not hard to see why the Giants elected to move on.

    Rutledge spent each of the past three seasons with the Red Sox, batting a combined .252/.319/.313 in 259 plate appearances as he moved back and forth between the Majors and Triple-A Pawtucket. The versatile infielder is a career .258/.310/.384 hitter in the Majors and has significant experience at both middle-infield slots in addition to nearly 300 innings at third base.

    Giants Demote Mac Williamson To Minors Sun, 24 Jun 2018 03:30:26 +0000
  • The Giants optioned outfielder Mac Williamson to Triple-A on Saturday and recalled fellow outfielder Austin Slater to replace him. Williamson began the year on a hot streak, but he suffered a concussion in late April and hasn’t gotten back on track since returning May 25. Overall, he has hit a below-average .213/.295/.383 in 105 plate appearances. The Giants’ hope is that he’ll “regain his swing and confidence” by playing every day in the minors, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes.
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    Hunter Strickland Out Six To Eight Weeks Due To Fractured Hand Tue, 19 Jun 2018 23:41:25 +0000 Giants closer Hunter Strickland will miss the next six to eight weeks following surgery to repair a fractured right hand, manager Bruce Bochy told reporters Tuesday (Twitter links via Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area).

    The injury occurred in rather embarrassing and regrettable fashion, it seems, as Strickland punched a door out of frustration after blowing a save and surrendering three runs in last night’s loss. In the absence of Strickland, the Giants will turn to either Tony Watson or Sam Dyson to serve as the primary closer, according to Bochy. Right-hander Pierce Johnson will be recalled back to the big leagues to take Strickland’s roster spot.

    [Related: Updated San Francisco Giants depth chart and MLB closer depth chart]

    Needless to say, the ninth-inning situation in San Francisco over the past season and a half hasn’t panned out the way the Giants had hoped. The Giants signed Mark Melancon to a then-record-setting four-year, $62MM contract to handle closing duties, but he’s managed to throw just 35 2/3 innings in the Majors dating back to Opening Day 2017, as he’s been hampered by pronator and flexor strains in his right arm. Melancon joined the club for his 2018 debut earlier this month, but it seems that in spite of his considerable experience in the ninth inning, he won’t be immediately considered for closing opportunities.

    To Strickland’s credit, the 29-year-old stepped up early this season to fill in for Melancon and enjoyed immediate success. Despite last night’s three-run hiccup, he’s sitting on a strong 2.84 ERA with 8.2 K/9 against 3.7 BB/9 and 0.6 HR/9. Strickland’s 28 games finished are the most in the National League, and 13 of those games finished have resulted in a save.

    A full year of ninth-inning work would’ve poised Strickland for a healthy raise on this year’s $1.55MM salary in arbitration this offseason, but his earning power will undoubtedly be hindered by the missed time — especially if he doesn’t regain the closer’s role when he eventually returns from the disabled list. The Giants control Strickland, a Super Two player, through the 2021 season. He’ll be arbitration-eligible three more times before reaching free agency.

    Minor MLB Transactions: 6/19/18 Tue, 19 Jun 2018 14:51:56 +0000 Here are some of the notable recent minor moves from around the league …

    • The Giants released outfielder-turned-pitcher Jordan Schaferaccording to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy. Schafer had joined the San Francisco organization at the start of the current season in hopes of continuing his attempt to return to the majors on the mound. He had missed the prior campaign owing to Tommy John surgery. Schafer threw 6 1/3 innings at Triple-A prior to his release, allowing four earned runs on ten hits and five walks but also recording nine strikeouts.
    • Eddy also reports that the Nationals have released corner infielder Matt Hague from their Triple-A affiliate. The 32-year-old has seen brief action in three MLB campaigns, most recently in 2015. He had joined the Washington organization after being released by the Mariners in April. Over 112 plate appearances at Syracuse, he exhibited typically strong plate discipline (12 walks vs. 18 strikeouts) but was slashing just .242/.321/.323.
    • The Twins have cut ties with hard-throwing righty Zack Jones from Double-A Chattanooga, per the Eastern League transactions log. The former Rule 5 Draft pick had allowed just seven earned runs on ten hits through 25 1/3 innings thus far in 2018, racking up 39 strikeouts along the way. Unfortunately, the 27-year-old Jones has also handed out 25 walks this season. Over his seven minor-league seasons, he has recorded 12.9 K/9 against 5.5 BB/9, so the command issues represent a longstanding concern.
    Giants Re-Sign Jose Valdez Mon, 18 Jun 2018 17:55:13 +0000 The Giants have re-signed right-hander Jose Valdez after releasing him recently, Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports as part of his latest roundup of the league’s minor transactions. Valdez was designated for assignment back on June when the Giants activated Mark Melancon from the disabled list and, apparently, was eventually released (though there was no formal announcement from the team).

    Valdez, 28, was tagged for seven runs on eight hits and a walk with four strikeouts in five innings of relief for the Giants earlier this season. He’s seen time in the Majors in each of the past four seasons, including 2018, pitching to a collective 6.34 ERA with a 47-to-26 K/BB ratio in 55 innings out of the bullpens for the Tigers, Angels, Padres and Giants.

    While those results aren’t exactly encouraging, Valdez has averaged just under 96 mph on his fastball so far in his big league career, and he notched a solid 11.2 percent swinging-strike rate in 18 MLB frames last season. He also comes with a more encouraging Triple-A track record, where he’s recorded a 3.70 ERA with a strikeout per inning but a more troublesome 4.9 BB/9 mark in 151 innings — all coming out of the ’pen.

    Valdez has actually already suited back up for the Giants organization, though the results weren’t pretty; in a third of an inning with the team’s top affiliate in Sacramento, he was tagged for four runs on and two hits and two walks.

    Giants Sign No. 2 Overall Pick Joey Bart Sun, 17 Jun 2018 19:59:15 +0000 JUNE 17: Bart’s signing is now official, per an announcement from the Giants. He signed for $7.025MM, the largest upfront bonus given to a position player in the history of the draft, Callis tweets.

    JUNE 13: The Giants are closing in on a deal with No. 2 overall pick Joey Bart, reports John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. The former Georgia Tech catcher needs only to pass a physical, per the report, before the deal is official. An announcement from the team could come as soon as Friday, according to Shea, who adds that Bart is expected to sign for a bit south of the $7.494MM value of the No. 2 overall slot.

    Bart, 21, obliterated college opposition this season, hitting .359/.471/.632 with 16 homers and a dozen doubles in 220 at-bats. While he has a fair bit of swing-and-miss in his game at present (56 strikeouts), he also drew 41 walks in that time and was hit by another eight pitches, contributing to his robust OBP.

    It seemed fairly certain for much of the spring that Bart would go in the top few picks, and in the weeks leading up to the draft, virtually every mock draft from major outlets pegged Bart within the top three (most frequently going to the Giants). Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs rated Bart as the third-best prospect in the class, while the Baseball America staff pegged him fifth, Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of ranked him sixth, and ESPN’s Keith Law slotted him in as the draft’s 10th-best talent.

    Bart’s arm draws rating of 60 to 70 on the 20-80 scale, and he draws frequent praise for his hands, footwork and athleticism behind the dish. He’s expected to stay behind the plate and hit for plenty of power as a regular catcher down the line, though his strikeout tendencies might suppress his average. That said, an above-average defensive catcher who can get on base and hit for power is a rare commodity in Major League Baseball, and if Bart realizes that potential in a few years, he’ll more than justify his selection near the top of the draft.

    Shea notes that San Francisco GM Bobby Evans scouted Bart in person on multiple occasions and effused praise for Bart both as a player and a leader. “Joey just has this drive to be the best,” said Evans. “He’s a leader on his team, somebody guys look to on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively. You love to see a guy love his craft the way Joey loves being behind the plate.”

    Evan Longoria Diagnosed With Fractured Finger Sat, 16 Jun 2018 22:00:25 +0000 SATURDAY: Longoria will undergo surgery Tuesday, and he’s likely to miss six to eight weeks, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area was among those to report (Twitter link).

    THURSDAY: Giants third baseman Evan Longoria has been diagnosed with a fracture to the fifth metacarpal of his left hand, Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group was among those to report on Twitter. He’ll surely be headed to the DL, though that move has not yet formally taken place.

    Longoria suffered the injury when he was struck by an errant pitch. It’s to his non-throwing hand, though surely will impact his ability to swing a bat. An anticipated timeline for his return isn’t yet known.

    The 32-year-old has not exactly been at his best since arriving in San Francisco via trade over the winter. He has hit ten home runs in 268 plate appearances but is slashing just .247/.276/.435 while carrying a 3.7% walk rate that’s far below his career levels. Defensive metrics have not loved the glovework of Longoria, who has also already been charged with 11 errors.

    That said, there are some more promising signs. Statcast numbers indicate that Longoria’s .277 batting average on balls in play reflects some poor fortune. He’s carrying only a .298 wOBA despite a more promising .340 xwOBA. And Longoria has long been a quality defender. Perhaps there was still some reason to hope, then, that he’d be capable of turning in average or better work at the plate and in the field the rest of the way.

    Before he’ll have a chance to turn his season around — and help the Giants keep pace in a mercifully mediocre NL West — Longoria will need to get back to health. In the meantime, Pablo Sandoval and Alen Hanson will likely step in at the hot corner.

    Giants Activate Brandon Belt Sat, 16 Jun 2018 18:57:37 +0000 The Giants have activated Brandon Belt from the 10-day disabled list, as Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports was among those to report. Right-hander Pierce Johnson was optioned to Triple-A to make room on the active roster.

    Belt had to undergo an emergency appendectomy after being rushed to the hospital in the midst of a June 1st game. They’ll certainly be ecstatic to have him back after missing little more than the 10-day minimum, as Belt is in the midst of a career year even as the Giants are limping through the first half of the season with a 34-36 record. The 30-year-old belt sports a .307/.403/.547 slash line and sits sixth on the barrels per plate appearance leaderboard with 11.1.

    Johnson, on the other hand, certainly hadn’t done much to cement his spot on the roster. He sports an ugly 5.46 ERA, and though his 4.08 FIP indicates he’s been the victim of some bad luck, he’s also walked nearly as many batters (15) as he’s struck out (20) during his 31 1/3 innings of work. It’s worth noting that 12 of his 19 earned runs came in just three outings, though, and a fairly impressive track record of striking out hitters at Triple-A makes it seem likely he’ll be up again at some point this season.

    Amateur Draft Signings: 6/15/18 Sat, 16 Jun 2018 03:49:09 +0000 Here are the day’s deals of note from the top few rounds of the draft (rankings referenced are courtesy of Baseball AmericaMLB.comFangraphs and ESPN’s Keith Law — with the scouting reports from MLB and Fangraphs both coming free to the general public) …

    • The Giants agreed to a $1.5MM bonus with second-round choice Sean Hjelle, according to’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). A towering righty from the University of Kentucky, Hjelle was taken with the 45th overall choice, which came with a $1,587,600 pick allocation. He ranked as high as thirtieth on pre-draft lists, earning that placement on the Baseball America board. Evaluators seem to think the polished collegiate hurler is likely to be a steady, back-of-the-rotation arm, though he isn’t generally seen as possessing immense upside.
    • Mets second-rounder Simeon Woods-Richardson will receive a $1.85MM bonus to forego his commitment to the University of Texas, Callis tweets. That lands above the $1,485,100 slot value at the 48th overall pick. While the right-handed hurler has shown quite a lot of promise at times, there are concerns that he has not consistently maintained that high level throughout his starts. Grades were all over the map, with BA highest at #76. Clearly, the Mets believe they can tap into the tools.
    • The Brewers will save some money against the slot value on Micah Bello, their competitive balance round B pick,’s Jonathan Mayo reports on Twitter. He’ll receive a $550K bonus, leaving the club with some excess pool space from the 73rd overall pick ($824,900 slot). A Hawaiian high-school outfielder, Bello did not draw top-100 billing but placed 121st on BA’s board. He’s credited as a quality overall hitter who may yet have a bit of upside, with some speed and perhaps some untapped power potential, though it’s not clear whether he’ll remain an up-the-middle defender as a professional.
    Giants Notes: Luxury Tax, Duggar Mon, 11 Jun 2018 14:22:06 +0000
  • The Giants are still “slightly” underneath the $197MM luxury tax barrier, tweets Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Rosenthal notes that while the numbers over on Cot’s Contracts indicate that organization is roughly $2MM north of that line, he’s confirmed that San Francisco is narrowly avoiding taxation at this point. The exact amount with which the Giants have to work remains unclear, though the apparent proximity to that threshold would seemingly make it difficult for the Giants to do much at the non-waiver trade deadline without jettisoning some payroll in a trade or receiving substantial cash considerations along with any player they acquire.
  • While outfield prospect Steven Duggar has been on a hot streak in Triple-A, the Giants are still in no rush to bring him up to the Majors, writes John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. GM Bobby Evans explains to Shea that the Giants not only want to see Duggar “put pressure” on the front office to call him up and adds that it’s also a matter of “the opportunity being here.” Shea notes that Mac Williamson is the only outfielder on the big league roster with options remaining, and he’s been seeing regular left field work since returning from the DL. Cutting ties with either Hunter Pence or Austin Jackson, of course, would open a spot, though either speculative move would come with some notable financial and clubhouse considerations for the front office.
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    Giants Re-Sign Trevor Brown Sun, 10 Jun 2018 23:49:53 +0000
  • One day after they released catcher Trevor Brown, the Giants have brought him back on a new minor league deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. Brown will return to Triple-A Sacramento, where he has hit .222/.344/.259 in 32 PAs this season.
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    Giants Placed Cory Gearrin On Outright Waivers Last Week Sun, 10 Jun 2018 16:31:14 +0000 The Giants placed reliever Cory Gearrin on outright waivers last week, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (video link). No one claimed Gearrin, however, and he remains a member of the Giants. The luxury-tax threshold helped influence the decision to waive Gearrin, per Rosenthal, who points out that San Francisco is $2MM-plus above the $197MM figure. Had someone taken Gearrin off the Giants’ hands, it would have saved the team upward of $1MM and helped give it more flexibility as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches. It’s no surprise the 32-year-old Gearrin went unclaimed, though, given that he has recorded a 5.11 ERA over 24 2/3 innings with unappealing walk, groundball and home run rates (4.74 BB/9, 34.2 GB percentage, 1.82 HR/9).

    Minor MLB Transactions: 6/9/18 Sat, 09 Jun 2018 23:49:27 +0000 Here are some minor moves from today…

    • The Giants released Trevor Brown from their Triple-A affiliate today, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports tweets. Brown was catching for the Sacramento, where he’s been since the start of the 2017 season. He made 227 MLB plate appearances with the Giants from 2015-2016, slashing .236/.282/.354, good for a 73 wRC+ and a tenth of a win above replacement. In Triple-A this season, Brown managed a .344 OBP but a slugging percentage nearly 100 points less. The former 10th-round draft pick was said to be dealing with multiple injuries at the start of the season, so it’s possible that his health issues contributed to the club’s decision to release him.
    Johnny Cueto Hoping For End-Of-June Return Sat, 09 Jun 2018 19:14:44 +0000
  • Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto is “cautiously optimistic” he’ll be able to come off the 60-day DL when he’s first eligible (June 30), Chris Haft of writes. Cueto hasn’t pitched since suffering an elbow injury at the end of April, when he was among the majors’ best starters (0.84 ERA, 2.74 FIP in 32 innings). But even without Cueto and ace Madison Bumgarner, who just made his 2018 debut Tuesday after his own lengthy absence, the Giants have managed a 32-31 record to stay in the thick of what has been a mediocre NL West.
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    Evans On Giants Aversion To Rebuilding Fri, 08 Jun 2018 18:33:20 +0000 Giants general manager Bobby Evans joined Jim Bowden and Mike Ferrin on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM today (Twitter link, with audio). Evans sidestepped some questions about potential interest in Bryce Harper as a free agent — “Our focus right now is on getting him out … we’ll certainly be aggressive and appropriate with our interest.” — but he did more broadly discuss the organization’s perennial “win-now” philosophy. At a time when more and more teams are pursuing aggressive tear-downs, Evans stated that it’d be a “big adjustment” to ever even consider embarking on a rebuild.

    “We want to compete to win every year,” Evans says of his Giants. “That’s our goal. That’s our plan. You get bumps in the road — problems, challenges at times — but I think it’s challenging no matter which route you take. I think when you have such a strong core, with [Brandon] Crawford, [Brandon] Belt, [Buster] Posey, [Johnny] Cueto, [Madison] Bumgarner — it makes it a lot easier to choose to compete. … Building a [minor league] system has never been our ultimate goal. Our ultimate goal is to have success at the big league level, which a strong system helps with, but it doesn’t solve.”

    Giants Activate Madison Bumgarner From Disabled List Wed, 06 Jun 2018 00:53:17 +0000 The Giants announced this afternoon that they’ve activated Madison Bumgarner from the 60-day disabled list for his season debut. The San Francisco ace missed the first two months of the season after suffering a fractured finger that required surgical repair late in Spring Training. Righty Pierce Johnson was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento to open a spot on the 25-man roster for Bumgarner, who’ll start tonight’s game against the Diamondbacks.

    [Related: Updated San Francisco Giants depth chart]

    Despite the fact that Bumgarner hasn’t made a single start at the MLB level this season, while Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija have each been plagued by injuries, the Giants have remarkably remained afloat with a 30-30 record in surprisingly feeble NL West. The D-backs currently lead the pack with a 31-28 record, though they’ve largely been in a free-fall for the past several weeks (in no small part due to several key injuries of their own).

    The return of Bumgarner will represent a seismic boost to a Giants rotation that has turned in a miserable 4.59 ERA that ranks 23rd among MLB clubs. With Cueto and Samardzija both on the shelf, the Giants currently have Chris Stratton, Andrew Suarez, Derek Holland and Dereck Rodriguez backing Bumgarner in the rotation mix, as lefty Ty Blach has already been dispatched to the bullpen after struggling to a 4.90 ERA as a starter.

    Bumgarner made just two rehab appearances before returning to the Giants, though he could hardly have looked more impressive in that limited minor league assignment. The lefty tossed 8 1/3 innings between the Giants’ Class-A Advanced and Triple-A affiliates, posting a 15-to-1 K/BB ratio and allowing just two hits (one a solo homer) in addition to hitting one batter. He topped out at 4 2/3 innings on said rehab assignment, so it’s possible that manager Bruce Bochy exercises caution and keeps Bumgarner on a shorter leash than usual. But it seems he’s mostly ready to return to the top of the rotation for a surprisingly competitive club that, at present, sits just 1.5 games out of the lead in its division.

    The 28-year-old Bumgarner is earning $12.5MM this season, and the Giants hold a no-brainer club option for the same amount for the 2019 season. That’ll be the final year of team control over Bumgarner, who’ll head into free agency at the age of 30 in the 2019-20 offseason.

    Orioles Claim D.J. Snelten Mon, 04 Jun 2018 18:13:48 +0000 The Orioles announced that they’ve claimed left-hander D.J. Snelten off waivers from the Giants. Baltimore had an open spot on its 40-man roster, so no corresponding move was necessary. Snelten has been assigned to Triple-A Norfolk for the time being.

    [Related: Updated Baltimore Orioles depth chart]

    The 26-year-old Snelten is listed at a towering 6’7″ and 245 pounds, and he entered the season ranked as the Giants’ ninth-best prospect, per Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs. While he doesn’t throw especially hard, Snelten possesses an above-average changeup and has performed reasonably well in the upper minors. He allowed five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in his MLB debut this season but comes to the Orioles organization with a career 2.84 ERA, 7.5 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 69 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level. Longenhagen’s scouting report notes that Snelten’s size and unorthodox delivery help him succeed against same-handed batters, while the changeup gives him a viable weapon to use against right-handed opponents.

    Snelten was only just selected to the 40-man roster this past offseason, so he has two option years remaining beyond the 2018 campaign. He can be shuttled between Norfolk and Baltimore to lend some depth to the Orioles’ staff, and with several trade candidates in the Baltimore ’pen, it’s possible that a spot will eventually open for Snelten to receive a lengthier look.

    Giants Outright Gregor Blanco Sat, 02 Jun 2018 23:39:07 +0000 The Giants have outrighted outfielder Gregor Blanco to Triple-A Sacramento, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area was among those to report. Blanco accepted the assignment and will report to Sacramento on Tuesday. His roster spot in San Francisco will go to fellow veteran outfielder Hunter Pence, whom the team activated from the disabled list.

    The 34-year-old Blanco could have elected free agency after clearing waivers, but he’ll remain in the Giants organization as depth. Blanco’s in his second stint with the Giants, with whom he was a successful role player at times from 2012-16 – a stretch in which they won two championships.

    After spending last season with the NL West rival Diamondbacks, Blanco returned to the Giants over the winter on a minor league pact. Blanco did enough in camp to win a season-opening spot in San Francisco, but he ended up struggling to a .242/.289/.350 line in 129 plate appearances before the club removed him from its 40-man roster.

    Giants Place Brandon Belt On DL Sat, 02 Jun 2018 21:49:09 +0000 The Giants have placed first baseman Brandon Belt on the 10-day disabled list and activated infielder/outfielder Alen Hanson from the DL, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area was among those to report. Belt could miss around three weeks, according to manager Bruce Bochy (via Pavlovic).

    Belt exited the Giants’ game Friday with appendicitis symptoms and subsequently underwent an appendectomy, so his DL placement doesn’t come as a surprise. Nevertheless, it’s a disappointing development for a San Francisco club that has gotten off to a 27-30 start. The Giants’ sub-.500 ways certainly aren’t the fault of Belt, who’s in the midst of a career season. The 30-year-old has slashed a tremendous .307/.403/.547 with 11 home runs in 226 plate appearances. His output has been 60 percent better than league average, according to FanGraphs’ wRC+ metric.

    Hanson, 25, had been enjoying a terrific season before he went on the DL on May 14 with a hamstring strain. The offseason minor league signing opened 2018 with a .298/.346/.638 line and four home runs over just 52 PAs prior to landing on the shelf. Hanson saw action at second base and left field along the way, though he has also lined up at third base, shortstop and the other two outfield positions during his short major league career.

    Latest On Giants’ Roster Outlook Sat, 02 Jun 2018 14:26:19 +0000 The Giants activated Joe Panik from the DL yesterday, as Henry Schulman reports in his latest piece for the San Francisco Chronicle. That’s not even the most interesting news, however, as Schulman also reveals a flurry of insight into the clubs plans for utilizing their other players in the near future.

    Perhaps chief among these tidbits is the confirmation that veteran Hunter Pence will play in a backup role when he returns from the disabled list, where he’s been shelved with a sprained thumb since mid-April. Skipper Bruce Bochy couldn’t have been more direct, making it clear that Mac Williamson is the club’s primary left fielder while stating that he’d like to get Pence in later in games, “like I would with a fourth outfielder.”

    Although Bochy’s plans are hardly surprising considering how much injuries and the aging curve have slowed Pence’s production across the past few seasons, it’s surely disappointing news for the three-time All-Star. Pence was once one of the great players in the game, ranking 33rd in fWAR from 2008-2014 with at least 20 homers in every one of those seasons. This year, however, Pence kicked off the season by hitting .172/.197/.190 with just one extra base hit an alarming 22 strikeouts in 61 plate appearances. He’s in the final year of his five-year, $90MM contract and thus will reach free agency at season’s end.

    The oddest thing to come out of Schulman’s piece is the news that Pablo Sandoval is taking ground balls at shortstop. “He’s got good hands and a good first step,” said Bochy. When the club activated Panik, they optioned Kelby Tomlinson to the minors in a related move, leaving Sandoval as the only reserve infielder on the major league roster. That’ll change soon when Alen Hanson returns from his hamstring injury (Schulman notes that this will probably happen early next week), but for the time being it would seem as though the club is prepared to turn to Sandoval as its emergency shortstop in the event that Brandon Crawford has to come out of a game for any reason.

    At least one more move is coming, as Madison Bumgarner is slated to make his season debut against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday.

    Giants Activate Mark Melancon, Designate Jose Valdez Sat, 02 Jun 2018 02:13:17 +0000 The Giants have activated veteran reliever Mark Melancon from the disabled list, as Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area was among those to report (via Twitter). To create a roster spot, the club designated righty Jose Valdez for assignment (technically, after activating him from the 10-day DL).

    Melancon will appear for the first time this season. He has dealt with ongoing elbow and forearm issues since joining the San Francisco organization on a four-year, $62MM contract before the 2017 season.

    Though he signed to be a closer, Melancon is expected to spend some time working up to speed before his role settles out. Hunter Strickland has handled the ninth inning to open the year, performing well though perhaps not putting the job in a stranglehold, either.

    It remains to be seen how that’ll all shake out. Generally, it’s preferable to have that problem than for Melancon still to be on the shelf. It is fair to wonder, though: since the Giants are paying Melancon top dollar, perhaps they would prefer to see him return to closing rather than running up Strickland’s future arbitration tab by giving him save opportunities.

    Valdez, 28, has been knocked around in five MLB innings on the year, allowing three long balls among eight total base hits. He carries a 6.34 ERA in 55 1/3 total frames at the game’s highest level over the past four seasons.

    Giants Notes: Samardzija, Upcoming Roster Decisions Thu, 31 May 2018 00:55:37 +0000 The Giants announced on Wednesday that right-hander Jeff Samardzija has been placed on the 10-day disabled list due to tightness in his right shoulder. Right-hander Tyler Beede is up from Triple-A Sacramento to take his spot on the roster for the time being, though the organization’s current hope is that Samardzija will only miss one start, per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. An MRI revealed some inflammation in Samardzija’s shoulder, per Schulman, but there’s no structural damage. With so many injuries in their rotation, the Giants briefly had all three starters listed as “TBA” this weekend, though they’ve since said that Chris Stratton and Andrew Suarez will start the first two games of the series, while a determination on Sunday’s starter has seemingly yet to be made. Schulman notes that the club had been planning to move lefty Ty Blach to the bullpen, but he’s now a candidate to start in Samardzija’s place on Sunday, as is rookie Dereck Rodriguez.

    A bit more out of San Francisco, where there are several roster decisions looming on the horizon…

    • With Joe Panik, Alen Hanson and Mark Melancon all likely to return from the DL this weekend, and Madison Bumgarner likely to be activated next Tuesday, and two of them (Melancon and Bumgarner) will require corresponding 40-man moves. Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News runs through some possibilities for the roster over the next six days, listing Steven Okert, Roberto Gomez and Jose Valdez as candidates to be designated for assignment in order to clear 40-man spots for Melancon and Bumgarner.
    • More complicated, Crowley notes, is the impending return of Hunter Pence from the 10-day DL. Manager Bruce Bochy implied that Pence will return to the 25-man roster when his rehab window expires this weekend, though his exact role looks uncertain. Andrew McCutchen is the team’s regular right fielder, and the Giants have said that Mac Williamson will be given an everyday opportunity in left field. Pence, of course, can’t play center field, so he appears headed for a limited role. Crowley suggests that either Austin Jackson or Gregor Blanco could land on the disabled list as a temporary fix, though it stands to reason that if Williamson proves adept in left field, the Giants could eventually have a more difficult decision on their hands.
    Samardzija Exits Start With Shoulder Tightness Wed, 30 May 2018 03:57:46 +0000 Giants right-hander Jeff Samardzija exited Tuesday’s start after just one inning due to tightness in his right shoulder, writes Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. Any shoulder trouble for a pitcher, of course, is concerning to an extent, but Samardzija’s early exit comes with extra cause for worry given that his fastball was sitting at 91 mph on Tuesday, per Pavlovic. Samardzija’s velocity has been down, in general, early this season, but he’d previously averaged 92.4 mph. The injury to Samardzija is the latest blow to a Giants rotation that has yet to receive a single inning from Madison Bumgarner this season and also lost Johnny Cueto for an extended period earlier this month. In 35 2/3 innings this season, Samardzija has lumped to a 6.56 ERA with 6.6 K/9, 5.8 BB/9, 1.51 HR/9 and a 33.9 percent ground-ball rate.

    Giants Designate D.J. Snelten, Release Hector Sanchez Mon, 28 May 2018 19:01:24 +0000 The Giants have designated left-hander D.J. Snelten for assignment, Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group reports. Additionally, the club has released catcher Hector Sanchez, per Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. Sanchez recently suffered his eighth concussion, Pavlovic notes.

    The 25-year-old Snelten’s exiting the Giants’ 40-man roster to make room for the addition of righty Dereck Rodriguez. Snelten, a 6-foot-7, 245-pounder, joined the Giants in the ninth round of the 2013 draft and worked his way to the majors this year. He struggled across 4 1/3 innings, though, allowing five earned runs on nine hits and three walks (with four strikeouts). Snelten has been far more effective at Triple-A since last season, having combined for a 2.84 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 over 69 2/3 frames.

    Sanchez, 28, has spent the majority of his professional career in the San Francisco organization. He made his pro debut back in 2007 and ascended to the majors in 2011, later seeing extensive action with the Giants from 2012-14. He left the Giants after 2015 and spent the ’16 campaign with the White Sox and Padres, only to return to San Francisco the next season.

    Sanchez stayed with the Giants on a minor league deal over the winter, but he hasn’t seen any major league action this year. In all, he has amassed 834 plate appearances in the majors, including 637 with the Giants, and hit .238/.273/.367.

    Giants To Select Dereck Rodriguez Mon, 28 May 2018 12:28:37 +0000 The Giants will select right-hander Dereck Rodriguez from Triple-A Sacramento on Monday, per Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic. San Francisco already has a full 40-man roster, so it’ll have to create a spot for Rodriguez.

    The 25-year-old Rodriguez comes with an interesting backstory, as Jesse Sanchez of detailed in 2017. Not only is Rodriguez the son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, but he’s still relatively new to pitching. The younger Rodriguez entered the pro ranks as an outfield prospect in 2011, when the Twins selected him in the sixth round. That didn’t work out, however, leading the Twins to turn Rodriguez into a pitcher back in 2013.

    Rodriguez took to his position change quickly and eventually reached the Double-A level with the Twins, but his time with the organization ended after last season. He then signed a minors pact over the winter with the Giants, and has since pitched to a 3.40 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 50 1/3 Triple-A innings (nine appearances, all starts). Rodriguez will work out of the Giants’ bullpen in his first major league call-up.

    Madison Bumgarner Nearing Return Sun, 27 May 2018 14:15:33 +0000
  • Giants ace Madison Bumgarner is slated to take the hill in another rehab start Thursday, but he could make his season debut in the majors on Friday instead, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. Bumgarner, who’s working back from a fractured pinky finger, was untouchable during a Triple-A rehab start Saturday, striking out eight (with one walk) over 3 2/3 hitless, scoreless innings. Bumgarner threw 47 pitches, just above the pregame goal of 45, and suggested afterward that he’s ready to slot back into San Francisco’s rotation. “I obviously didn’t know before today, but I think so,”  he said. “I wouldn’t say I’d be back at midseason form, but I definitely feel I could get some outs.”
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    Giants Have Decision To Make On Hunter Pence Sun, 27 May 2018 02:42:53 +0000 It’s possible Giants outfielder Hunter Pence has played his last game with the team, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports California observes. The Giants have to make a decision on Pence’s future within the next six days, when his minor league rehab assignment will end. In the event San Francisco releases Pence, who helped the club to two World Series titles as a younger player, it’ll have to eat the remainder of his $18.5MM salary. But if Pence gets another shot with the Giants, he’ll return having undergone some offensive adjustments with the help of private instructor Doug Latta – whose students also include Mac Williamson and the Dodgers’ Justin Turner – Pavlocic details. Pence feels “way better” after working with Latta, and has hit well in the minors since making the changes. The respected veteran got off to a rough start in the majors this year (.172/.197/.190 in 61 plate appearances) before going on the disabled list April 19 with a thumb issue.