San Francisco Giants – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-06-05T23:25:42Z WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest News, Notes On Minor League Pay]]> 2020-05-29T21:36:05Z 2020-05-29T15:57:39Z The manner in which teams are — or, in some cases, aren’t — continuing to pay their minor league players has drawn increased attention as the end of the month draws near. Major League teams agreed back in March to pay minor league players $400 per week through the end of May, but most minor league players now face ongoing financial uncertainty. The Dodgers have already committed to continue that $400 weekly stipend through the end of June, but veteran left-hander David Price is stepping up to add a helping hand, pledging $1,000 to each non-40-man Dodgers minor leaguer, according to a report from Francys Romero (Twitter link). That includes more than 220 minor leaguers, per’s Chris Cotillo. It’s a similar gesture to the one Shin-Shoo Choo made with the Rangers back in April.

Of course, the very fact that veterans such as Choo and Price even feel it necessary to step up to help out minor leaguers speaks to the manner in which minor league players are under-compensated. While some clubs — the Marlins and Padres — are reportedly set to pay out that $400 weekly stipend through the end of the minor league season, the Athletics are cutting off the stipend at month’s end. Others have extended the stipend through June but have not committed further.

Here’s how a few other clubs are handling the matter…

  • The Mets, Rays, Brewers, Cardinals, Giants and Indians are all extending the $400 weekly stipend through the month of June, per reports from MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (tweet), the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Todd Rosiak (tweet), the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area (tweet) and Kyle Glaser of Baseball America (tweet). “This money right now, especially for guys who aren’t as well off, this is a huge deal,” Rays minor league catcher Chris Betts tells Topkin. “…I’m beyond excited about it, and I’m honestly just more stoked and proud that the organization I play for took this route more than anything.”
  • The Athletics have, unsurprisingly, drawn a wide array of harsh criticism for their wide-ranging furlough and the full cutoff of minor league payment, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. Slusser notes that owner John Fisher repeatedly used the word “family” in his letter to fans explaining the cutbacks, but many impacted by the cuts don’t feel the effects of that word. “It’s very hard to preach family and then not act like it when times are difficult,” Class-A pitcher Aiden McIntyre tells Slusser. Triple-A outfielder Jason Krizan added: “…[I]t hurts to see the Marlins continue to pay their players when they made the least in baseball last year,” though he noted he’d rather remain an Athletic and receive benefits than otherwise. Other players, past and present, voiced similar criticisms to Slusser, as did a big league agent and an executive with another club. Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein writes that termination of the stipend saves the Athletics an approximate $1.3MM.
Steve Adams <![CDATA[Denard Span On His Future]]> 2020-05-25T19:09:24Z 2020-05-25T19:08:14Z It’s been nearly 20 months since Denard Span suited up in a big league game, and the former Twins, Nationals, Giants, Rays and Mariners outfielder suggests in an interview with Patrick Reusse of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that he may not do so again. Span reveals that he received offers in the 2018-19 offseason, although they clearly weren’t compelling enough to leave his young family. Span adds that he worked out this winter with an eye toward a 2020 return and received “two or three” minor league offers — but they came from clubs without much of a path to the Majors even in the event that he played well in Triple-A.

“I haven’t announced it, officially, but maybe this is it,” Span said when asked about retirement. “…I still would have the ability to help a team. But 36-year-old outfielders who haven’t played in two years … not happening. I’m very satisfied pouring my life into our family, to Anne, a wonderful person, and our two boys.”

Denard Span | Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

If this is indeed it for the amiable Span, it’s been quite a strong career. A first-round pick out of high school by the Twins back in 2002, Span took nearly six years to ascend to the big leagues, but he made an immediate impact upon arrival. Twenty-four years old at the time, Span finished sixth in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2008 and hit .294/.387/.432 (122 OPS+ and wRC+ alike) through 487 plate appearances, helping push the Twins to a dramatic Game 163 showdown with the White Sox. Minnesota fell in a crushing 1-0 loss to the South Siders, but Span had announced his presence in the big leagues and would never look back.

Over the next four seasons, Span was the consummate leadoff man in Minnesota, hitting a combined .283/.351/.381 with a nine percent walk rate and just an 11.5 percent strikeout rate. In addition to a knack for working counts and putting the ball in play, Span showed off well above-average baserunning skills and the ability to play plus defense wherever he was slotted into the outfield (center field, more often than not). Heading into the 2010 campaign, Span signed a five-year, $16.5MM contract extension that contained an option for an additional $9MM.

Span provided excellent value over the course of that contract, but he only spent half of it in a Twins uniform. As the Twins fell from their status as a perennial AL Central contender and moved into a rebuild, Span had two guaranteed years and the club option remaining on that highly appealing deal. Minnesota flipped him to the Nationals in a straight-up swap for then-vaunted pitching prospect Alex Meyer — a deal that proved regrettable for Minnesota after repeated shoulder injuries torpedoed Meyer’s career.

The Nats had no complaints, though, and that may have been the case even if Meyer had eventually developed into a quality big leaguer. Span hit .292/.345/.404 in three seasons with Washington, continuing to add value on the bases and in the field along the way. By the time he reached free agency, Span was solidified enough to command a three-year, $31MM contract from the Giants. Even as his glovework deteriorated — San Francisco didn’t help matters by continuing to play him in center for lack of a better option — Span remained solid at the plate. However, he played out the final year of that deal between his hometown Rays and the Mariners after the Giants sent him to Tampa Bay in the Evan Longoria trade.

All told, Span has logged 11 seasons in the Major Leagues and batted a combined .281/.347/.398 with 71 home runs, 265 doubles, 72 triples, 185 stolen bases (in 244 tries — 76 percent), 773 runs scored and 490 RBIs. He was never an All-Star despite a strong career that checked in at 28 wins above replacement per both FanGraphs and Baseball Reference — a likely result of the understated manner in which he brought value to his teams (on-base percentage, baserunning, defense).

Clubs clearly saw the value in Span, though, as he was a regular from the moment he debuted up through the end of the 2018 season, and he inked a pair of multi-year deals that helped propel his career earnings north of $58MM (including his draft bonus). Best wishes to Span moving forward, whatever the future holds.

TC Zencka <![CDATA[Wilmer Flores Changes Representation]]> 2020-05-23T15:23:37Z 2020-05-23T15:23:37Z Infielder Wilmer Flores has new representation. Flores, 28, will now be repped by Cesar Suarez of the Beverly Hills Sports Council, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Flores’ change in representation will soon be reflected in MLBTR’s Agency Database. Flores had previously been repped by the McNamara Baseball Group.

Suarez is a former player himself, though he never reached the majors after signing with the Yankees as a 16-year-old, per his bio on the BHS Council’s website. He hails from Flores’ native Venezuela, as do other notable Suarez clients such as Rougned Odor and Salvador Perez. Heyman did not mention any specific impetus behind Flores’ decision to make a change at this time.

Flores, 28, is coming off a one-and-done year in Arizona. The utility infielder made the most of his time in the desert. After signing a one-year, $4.25MM guaranteed deal with the Diamondbacks, he appeared in 89 games, slashing a robust .314/.361/.487, good for a career-best 120 wRC+. Flores also missed more than a month of playing time after a foot contusion in late May pushed him to the injured list. Arizona declined a $6MM player option, making him a free agent for a $500K buyout instead.

When he was on the field, Flores performed. If you’re looking to poke holes in Flores’ 2019 output, a .332 BABIP is a good place to start, but Flores has long been a strong offensive contributor, so it’s not totally a smoke show. Still, career norms of a .268 BA and .277 BABIP point to some regression. Statcast credits Flores’ 2019 with a .329 xwOBA (league average is .318 xwOBA).

As for his new agent, there’s no immediate contractual work pending after Flores signed a two-year deal with the Giants this offseason. He made back the $6MM he was in line for in Arizona, only it’s spread out across two seasons. Flores will make $3MM in each of 2020 and 2021, while the Giants hold a $3.5MM option for 2022. If Flores can flourish in San Francisco, he should have the opportunity to net another major league contract either before his age-30 or age-31 season.

The Giants haven’t been all that active in free agency recently, so their signing of Flores was notable, especially since there’s not an obvious place to put the contact-oriented infielder. Veterans like Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford, and Brandon Belt are entrenched around the infield on big-money deals that run concurrently to Flores’. There should be at-bats for Flores at second base, but he’s not alone there either, as Mauricio Dubon offers the Giants a higher ceiling with more team control as a pre-arb player, and Donovan Solano is coming off a mini-breakout of his own (.330/.360/.456 in 81 games last year). The presence of local hero Pablo Sandoval also muddies the waters for Flores – if Kung Pu Panda ends up making the team.

The potential for a Universal DH should give Flores some hope for grabbing a few extra PAs, but the Giants are actually pretty set on that front after bringing back the hugely popular Hunter Pence. Fans will be happy to see Pence’s name back on the lineup card, but even from a baseball standpoint, Pence is coming off a year when he unexpectedly put together an All-Star campaign at age-36. Pence finished the year hitting .297/.358/.552 with 18 home runs in 83 games as the Rangers’ DH. Like Flores, Pence also missed a fair amount of time due to injury. Given the ages of Longoria (34), Pence (37), Crawford (33), Belt (32), Sandoval (33) and even Solano (32), Flores is actually one of the young guys in the infield mix, despite his status as a 7-year MLB veteran. It’s not obvious where his playing time will come from, but there are many paths that lead to Flores seeing time as a regular infielder.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Scooter Gennett On Why He Didn’t Sign Anywhere This Winter]]> 2020-05-22T19:00:02Z 2020-05-22T16:45:36Z Former Reds, Brewers and Giants second baseman Scooter Gennett remains unsigned, and the 2018 All-Star chatted with Doug Fernandes of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune this week about his decision not to accept an offer over the winter. Gennett details that he did receive some offers, but they were either non-guaranteed or not to his liking from a financial standpoint. The top offer he received was a $1.5MM guarantee with incentives, but he’d been targeting a deal in the $5MM range. That offer also came from a club with an everyday second baseman, it seems, so he’d likely have been viewed as a bench piece.

Many fans will bristle at Gennett’s candid comments on free agency and compensation, particularly given the current economic crisis that has been brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Gennett, though, has earned more than $19MM in his career to date and has clearly set a personal valuation both on his abilities and the level of compensation he’d require to spend another season on the road and away from his wife and family, as any player would. “You’re 220 days away from your family,” says Gennett.

The 2019 season was a tough one for Gennett, who tore a muscle in his groin during Spring Training and now acknowledges that he came back before he was ready. That was his own decision, he emphasizes, and his results clearly suffered. After hitting a combined .303/.351/.508 with 50 home runs for the Reds in 2017-18, Gennett limped to a .226/.245/.323 slash in 139 plate appearances last year. The Reds traded him to the Giants just prior to the trade deadline, receiving only cash consideration in return. San Francisco released him less than a month later.

Over the winter, Gennett reportedly drew interest from as many as six teams, with the Cubs known to be one suitor. The Cubs, however, have avoided major free agent signings over the past two offseasons and were looking for more of a low-cost pickup. Not long after being linked to Gennett, they instead signed Jason Kipnis to the same type of minor league contract to which Gennett expresses aversion in his interview with Fernandes.

Gennett is still just 30, so there’s certainly time for him to stage a comeback if he chooses to play again. He’s still working out, but he’s also frank in telling Fernandes that he is “fine with not playing.” If salary is the sticking point, it’s hard to envision his earning power on his next contract being higher than it was over the winter. A club doesn’t seem likely to top that offer once play resumes, given the revenue losses throughout the league, and sitting out for a year would surely limit him to a minor league deal if he did decide he wanted to return to the game.

Tim Dierkes <![CDATA[Which 15 Players Should The Giants Protect In An Expansion Draft?]]> 2020-05-22T15:31:11Z 2020-05-22T15:31:11Z In a few weeks, we’ll be running a two-team mock expansion draft here at MLBTR.  Currently, we’re creating 15-player protected lists for each of the existing 30 teams.  You can catch up on the rules for player eligibility here.

So far, we’ve covered the RangersMariners, Athletics, Angels, Astros, Twins, Royals, Tigers, Indians, White Sox, Rays, Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Orioles.  The Giants are up next.

We’ll start by removing free agents Hunter Pence, Jeff Samardzija, Tony Watson, Drew Smyly, and Kevin Gausman.

Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, and Brandon Crawford will make the protected list by virtue of their no-trade clauses.  I’ll also protect Mike Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson, Mauricio Dubon, and Logan Webb out of the gate.  So these seven players will be protected:

Buster Posey
Brandon Belt
Brandon Crawford
Mike Yastrzemski
Alex Dickerson
Mauricio Dubon
Logan Webb

That leaves eight spots for these 26 players:

Shaun Anderson
Tyler Anderson
Abiatal Avelino
Tyler Beede
Sam Coonrod
Johnny Cueto
Jaylin Davis
Steven Duggar
Wilmer Flores
Enderson Franco
Aramis Garcia
Jarlin Garcia
Trevor Gott
Jandel Gustave
Evan Longoria
Conner Menez
Reyes Moronta
Wandy Peralta
Dereck Rodriguez
Tyler Rogers
Sam Selman
Chris Shaw
Austin Slater
Donovan Solano
Andrew Suarez
Kean Wong

With that, we turn it over to the MLBTR readership! In the poll below (direct link here), select exactly eight players you think the Giants should protect in our upcoming mock expansion draft. Click here to view the results.

Create your own user feedback survey

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On MLB Teams’ Plans For Employees]]> 2020-05-22T00:55:42Z 2020-05-22T00:55:42Z A variety of MLB teams have already revealed plans for the year for non-player employees. Some have instituted furloughs and/or pay cuts while others have committed to carry employees through the fall. Still other teams are taking things on a month-to-month basis, with several revealing their latest plans in recent days.

At least three teams have decided to continue paying employees in full through at least the end of June. The Cardinals are one such team, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on Twitter. The Twins are also in that camp, Jeff Passan of tweets. And the White Sox are adjusting work hours but not take-home pay, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter).

Elsewhere in the central divisions, there were some cuts. The Cubs are keeping their full slate of employees at full-time capacity, but are instituting some salary reductions, Jeff Passan of reported on Twitter. And though the Pirates will not draw down their baseball operations staff, they will reduce pay in that arena while furloughing some business employees, as Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Out west, the Giants will retain their entire full-time staff but will be trimming pay for those earning over $75K, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Part-timers have been furloughed.

The Astros have committed to maintaining full pay and benefits for full-time employees, but only through June 5th, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports. Whether some action could occur beyond that point remains to be seen. The Orioles are also still in flux, but the organization appears to be leaning towards keeping staff as usual through June, per Dan Connolly of The Athletic (via Twitter).

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[The Fall Of The Freak]]> 2020-05-20T03:15:22Z 2020-05-20T03:12:20Z Wednesday marks the four-year anniversary of the Angels bringing in one of the most accomplished starting pitchers of the previous decade. On May 20, 2016, they signed right-hander Tim Lincecum to a guaranteed contract worth a prorated $2.5MM. Considering Lincecum’s past achievements, it was worth a shot for the pitcher-needy Angels, but the experiment didn’t work out for either side. Lincecum didn’t even finish the season with the Angels, who only won 74 games that year and who designated him for assignment in the first week of August.

Of course, Lincecum brought a superb resume to the Angels. As a member of the Giants from 2007-15, “The Freak” made four All-Star teams, won three World Series championships and took home two National League Cy Young Awards. The San Francisco version of Lincecum also piled up 1,643 2/3 regular-season innings (269 appearances, 261 starts) and posted a 3.61 ERA with 9.33 K/9 and 3.54 BB/9. For the most part, Lincecum’s career started going off the rails in 2012, in which his 2.74 ERA from the prior season skyrocketed to 5.18, but there was still some magic left. Lincecum threw a 148-pitch no-hitter against the Padres in 2013, and he no-hit the Friars yet again the next season.

It was incredible that Lincecum recorded a no-hitter in back-to-back seasons, but shining moments have been few and far between since he underwent hip surgery in his last month as a Giant in September 2015. The Giants didn’t re-sign Lincecum after that, leading him to join the Angels several months later. That gamble couldn’t have gone much worse for the Angels, with whom Lincecum debuted June 18, 2016. It looked like a great move at first, as Lincecum threw six innings of one-run ball in a win over the Athletics in his Halos debut, but that proved to be his sole quality start with the team. Lincecum ultimately amassed 38 1/3 frames of 9.16 ERA pitching as an Angel. His last appearance came Aug. 5, when he yielded six earned runs over 3 1/3 innings in a loss to Seattle, before the Angels put an end to his run in their uniform.

Lincecum did get another shot, this time with the Rangers, on a guaranteed deal in 2018. That didn’t work out, though. The Rangers released Lincecum on June 5, 2018, when MLBTR’s Steve Adams wrote: “He’s been ramping up after missing much of the early portion of the season, but things haven’t gone especially well in Triple-A Round Rock. Lincecum has totaled 12 2/3 innings out of the bullpen, yielding eight earned runs on 14 hits and nine walks with 10 strikeouts in that time.”

There hasn’t been any Lincecum news on MLBTR’s pages since then, and even though he hasn’t officially retired, it’s hard to believe the soon-to-be 36-year-old will return to the majors. Lincecum was definitely a treat to watch during his peak from 2008-11, though. He totaled 200-plus innings in each of those seasons, combined for a matching 2.81 ERA/FIP with 9.97 K/9 and 3.21 BB/9, and cemented himself as a Giants icon. Unfortunately, odds are that his time in MLB is done.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Giants’ Bargain Pickup Looks More Valuable With Universal DH]]> 2020-05-18T20:50:02Z 2020-05-18T17:49:38Z With the likely implementation of a universal DH in 2020, we’ve been taking a team-by-team trip through the NL and looking at how those clubs could handle the rule change. To this point, we’ve looked at the Dodgers, Reds, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Braves, Nationals and Brewers. The Giants are up next.

When Hunter Pence bid farewell to the Giants after the 2018 season, there were questions about whether the affable slugger would ever have his name penciled into a big league lineup again. Heading into his age-36 season, he’d posted a combined .249/.297/.368 batting line in 787 plate appearances across the two prior campaigns.

Pence persevered, heading to the Dominican Winter League to work on a revamped swing and ultimately landing a minor league deal with his hometown Rangers. He parlayed that non-guaranteed pact into a prominent role with the Rangers, hitting .297/.358/.552 with 18 dingers in 316 plate appearances before an oblique injury cut his season short. That effort was enough to generate multiple offers, and late in the offseason, Pence signed up for a reunion tour in San Francisco.

The stage seemed set for Pence to hold down a part-time role — an occasional outfielder and frequent pinch-hitter who could serve as a mentor for some younger players as they graduated to the big leagues on a rebuilding club. That could still be the idea, but with the DH likely on its way to the NL, Pence could also be a more prominently used piece now. He started 46 games at designated hitter for Texas last season and surely would have been in that spot more, were it not for the presence of 37-year-old Shin-Soo Choo, who got the DH nod on 62 occasions of his own.

The Giants have other players they can rotate through the DH spot and might look at its addition as a means of getting longer looks at each of Mike Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson and Jaylin Davis — each of whom is best suited for corner outfield work. Against left-handed opponents in particular, the Giants might favor using the DH spot as a means of getting righties Pence, Davis, Austin Slater and Wilmer Flores into the lineup together. Former first-rounder Chris Shaw logged a combined .294/.360/.559 slash with 28 homers in 492 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A last season. He’d add a lefty stick to the mix.

Let’s also not forget a pair of notable minor league signings made by San Francisco this winter: Pablo Sandoval and Darin Ruf. The Kung Fu Panda has batted .259/.311/.466 with 23 homers and 33 doubles in 548 plate appearances since returning to the Giants in 2018. He’s on the mend from Tommy John surgery but should be ready to go if play is able to resume in 2020. Ruf, 33, is returning stateside after dominating the Korea Baseball Organization with a .313/.404/.564 slash through three seasons with the Samsung Lions (2017-19).

Might the universal DH spur the Giants to finally take the plunge on a signing of Yasiel Puig? The two sides have been connected at numerous points over the past several months, and Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi is quite familiar with Puig after spending five years as the Dodgers’ general manager. Puig could potentially add some life to what was a listless Giants lineup in 2019, ranking in the bottom four of all MLB teams in terms of runs scored, home runs, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and wRC+. Of course, he’d also take playing time away from some more controllable pieces.

Even if the Giants don’t add to their current group, a new way to increase Pence’s at-bats while keeping him fresh should help that deal to pay dividends. And if there’s some form of updated trade deadline, the addition of a DH spot for the other 14 other NL clubs would only increase interest in acquiring an affordable veteran who is lauded as one of the game’s great clubhouse personalities. There’s also a scenario, as explored by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Schulman, where ballyhooed catching prospect Joey Bart could make his debut and get some additional work thanks to the forthcoming DH slot in the NL.

Anthony Franco <![CDATA[An Under The Radar Potential Trade Chip In San Francisco]]> 2020-05-17T19:50:02Z 2020-05-17T16:49:08Z The Giants’ acquisition of Trevor Gott came without fanfare and at virtually no cost; he was acquired from the Nationals last February for cash considerations, part of a seemingly endless churn at the back end of the 40-man roster in Farhan Zaidi’s first season at the helm. Gott might find himself back on the trade market this season (if play becomes feasible), and he’d figure to return quite a bit more than cash this time around.

Gott had a somewhat promising debut with the 2015 Angels, riding a monster 57.2% ground ball rate to a 3.02 ERA in 48 games. He was flipped to Washington that offseason for Yunel Escobar, but his career went off the rails. In parts of three seasons, he compiled a brutal 7.39 ERA over 28 innings with an uninspiring 24:16 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Quietly, he found a new gear in San Francisco last year, even if his 4.44 ERA wouldn’t suggest it. His strikeout rate spiked to 26.6%, well above his 17.8% mark in Washington and nearly twice as high as that of his time in Anaheim. The 27-year-old also made significant improvements as a strike-thrower. His first-pitch strike rate was up to 60.3%, right around league average. Getting ahead early in counts helped him cut down on walks substantially.

Gott has always been a fastball-reliant arm, but he seemingly changed the shape of his heater. Formerly a sinkerballer, Gott pivoted to heavy use of a four-seam last season, per Brooks Baseball. Predictably, his once elite ground ball numbers vanished, but he more than offset that with a jump in strikeouts. His mid-90’s four-seam fastball doesn’t have the spin and life of the game’s best heaters, but it nevertheless proved a better swing-and-miss offering than his sinker. On the surface, it also seems he had an easier time controlling the straighter offering.

So why was Gott’s run prevention mediocre? Sequencing luck, mostly. Despite holding opposing hitters to a .207/.270/.304 slash, he only stranded 62.5% of baserunners in 2019, an abnormally low mark that figures to rebound. If he can strand runners at something approaching the league average rate of 72.3% (pitchers’ strand rates often vary wildly season-to-season), Gott could be a mid-3.00’s ERA type.

The shortened season and potential expanded postseason would give the Giants a better shot of hanging in contention. Even in this environment, they won’t be considered any kind of favorite, though. Gott would make for a solid, under-the-radar addition to the summer trade market if San Francisco struggles. He comes with three additional seasons of team control, and arbitration salaries for middle relievers are relatively modest.

He wouldn’t return any sort of Godfather offer, but three-plus cheap seasons of an average or better reliever would be plenty valuable to a more immediate contender. Subtle breakthroughs like Gott’s are precisely what Zaidi and the SF front office have hoped to achieve with their constant reshuffling at the back of the roster.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Farhan Zaidi On Yasiel Puig Rumors ]]> 2020-04-28T05:23:11Z 2020-04-28T05:23:11Z
  • A report over the weekend all but placed free-agent outfielder Yasiel Puig in a Giants uniform. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco doesn’t seem nearly as confident a deal will come together, though, and Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi told Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic via text, “We are not having any conversations (internal or external) about player transactions at this point.” However, as Baggarly notes, that doesn’t mean a Puig signing isn’t under consideration. There’s a freeze on transactions because of the coronavirus, so even if the Giants do intend to pick up Puig, they’ll have to continue to wait to make the move. For what it’s worth, it wasn’t long ago that the Giants reportedly showed interest in Puig, who has a couple important connections in San Francisco. Zaidi and manager Gabe Kapler were both members of the Dodgers organization during at least part of Puig’s run with the Giants’ archrivals from 2013-18.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Giants Encouraged By Beck's Progress Since Trade]]> 2020-04-20T17:48:40Z 2020-04-20T17:48:12Z Much of the focus on the trade that sent right-hander Mark Melancon from the Giants to the Braves last July has centered on the surprising fact that the Braves were willing to take on all of the $14MM owed to Melancon in 2020. So much so, it seems, that the return the Giants received is often entirely overlooked. Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area writes, however, that the Giants are excited by the potential of righty Tristan Beck — a 23-year-old fourth rounder from the 2018 draft who saw his velocity trend upward during his run in the Arizona Fall League this year. Beck posted an ugly ERA (5.65) but encouraging FIP/xFIP numbers (3.04, 2.89) in eight starts with Atlanta’s Class-A Advanced affiliate. In the same number of innings with the Giants’ High-A club, Beck’s ERA dropped to 2.27 as he maintained sharp K/9 and BB/9 marks that carried into the fall league. Baseball America ranked Beck 14th among Giants prospects and called him a potential fourth starter, noting that his new organization’s decision to shift his four-seam focus to the top of the zone has improved his overall effectiveness.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Phillies, Employee Pay, Cardinals, Goldschmidt, Pirates, Shelton, Kela]]> 2020-04-18T14:07:00Z 2020-04-18T14:07:00Z Phillies owner John Middleton informed the team’s employees Friday that no one will be laid off or forced to take a pay cut through at least the end of May, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. “I am neither an epidemiologist nor a public policy maker, but I do know our industry, and it is my sincere belief that baseball will be played this year,” Middleton wrote in a letter, adding that there’s no reason to reduce the club’s budget when he’s under the impression that “a meaningful number of games” will take place in 2020. The Phillies are just the second team to commit to no cuts through May, joining the division-rival Braves. More teams are expected to follow, however, with the Giants the latest team to make the commitment, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

    • The Cardinals’ Paul Goldschmidt has set up camp in his Jupiter-area home during the quarantine, but he’s finding new ways to keep his head in the game. Thanks to a virtual reality product from WIN Reality, Goldschmidt can simulate at-bats against any pitcher in the game, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Goldschmidt got enough exposure to live pitching in spring training to fully test his new virtual reality gear, and he came away impressed with its accuracy. Goldy is working out in more traditional ways as well, but the VR gear is giving him an opportunity to rest his elbow while still simulating game experience.
    • The Pirates under Clint Hurdle became known for contentious run-ins with other teams due to their proclivity for throwing up and in. The bad rap was furthered by pitchers Gerrit Cole and Tyler Glasnow developing into aces once having left Pittsburgh. But Derek Shelton runs the dugout in Pittsburgh now, and it remains to be seen how the culture will change under new leadership. Shelton spoke to some of his tendencies, however, including how he will let statistics and the extenuating circumstances determine how often he lets his starters go through a lineup a third time (as much as how the pitcher is performing on any given day), per Mike Persak of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Shelton also spoke about the closer role, where he expects Keone Kela to serve as a traditional closer.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Which Players Will Reach 10-And-5 Rights This Year?]]> 2020-04-13T17:24:20Z 2020-04-13T17:24:20Z As players continue to bounce around the league with greater frequency for a variety of reasons — teams leaning increasingly toward shorter-term deals, financial incentive to reach free agency, etc. — the number of players gaining 10-and-5 rights have diminished in recent years. For those unfamiliar or those who need a reminder, 10-and-5 rights are granted to a player who has accrued 10 years of MLB service time, including five consecutive years with his current team. These players are given veto power over any potential trade involving them.

    It’s rare that a player invokes his 10-and-5 rights, although we’ve seen them come into play in the past. Adam Jones utilized his 10-and-5 provision to block a deal to the Phillies two summer ago, and Brandon Phillips quashed a pair of trades that would’ve sent him out of Cincinnati before he finally acquiesced on a deal sending him to Atlanta.

    In other cases, such as Coco Crisp’s trade from Oakland back to Cleveland in 2016, players are willing to waive that veto power for the right deal and/or some additional financial incentive. Those rights were a major factor in the Rays’ decision to trade Evan Longoria when they did; had he opened the 2018 season with Tampa Bay, he’d have gained full no-trade power just two days into the year.

    As a reminder, players will receive a year of service time even if no games are played in 2020. And if a season is played, the service time will be prorated to match the truncated nature of the season. In other words, current big leaguers are going to get their year of service unless they’re optioned to the minors or released.

    With all that said, some 10-and-5 rights looming on the horizon (I’ve omitted players such as Buster Posey, whose contracts already included full no-trade protection)…

    • Kenley Jansen: Jansen’s five-year, $80MM contract with the Dodgers didn’t include a no-trade clause, although it does pay him a $1MM assignment bonus in the event of a trade. Jansen has nine years, 73 days (9.073) of MLB service time, so he’ll clear 10 years of service in 2020 with or without a season. As such, he’ll have full no-trade power next winter, when he’d have one year and $20MM remaining on his contract.
    • Jason Heyward: Heyward is getting to the elusive 10-and-5 status in a bit of a different manner. He’s already reached 10 years of service, and once this year elapses, he’ll have spent five years in a Cubs uniform. His contract allows him to block deals to a dozen teams of his choosing in 2020, but he’ll gain full no-trade power next winter. His contract would be cumbersome to move in the first place, given the four years and $86MM remaining on his deal at the moment.
    • Johnny Cueto: Like Heyward, Cueto already has the requisite decade of MLB service, but he’s only spent four years with his current team. Next offseason, Cueto will have spent five seasons as a Giant, giving him veto power if the club wants to trade the sixth season of that deal and the subsequent club option. He’s owed $21MM in 2021 and a $5MM buyout on his 2022 club option.
    • Freddie Freeman: There’s no real reason to think the Braves would be entertaining the notion of trading a player who has long been considered the face of the franchise (even if Ronald Acuna Jr. is now taking over that title), but Freeman’s eight-year, $135MM contract didn’t contain any no-trade protection and he currently has 9.033 years of service. He’s owed $22MM in 2021, the final season of his current contract, but an extension seems likelier than a trade.
    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Recapping Farhan Zaidi’s Trades As Giants’ President]]> 2020-04-11T23:11:09Z 2020-04-11T23:05:23Z Farhan Zaidi was hired as the Giants’ president of baseball operations from the archrival Dodgers in November 2018. The club has largely eschewed headline-grabbing moves since, but the front office has been as active as any on the waiver wire. That emphasis on low-cost additions to the margins of the roster has extended to the trade market. It’s still too early to judge Zaidi’s overall body of work, but some of the lesser-heralded names have produced strong early returns.

    Equally as noteworthy as the deals Zaidi has made are the ones he hasn’t. The club didn’t move impending free agents Madison Bumgarner or Will Smith at last summer’s deadline. In Zaidi’s defense, the club sat at 55-53 last July 31, just two games back of the second NL Wild Card (and eventual World Series champion) Nationals. They surely also considered the draft compensation they were in line to receive this winter if each signed elsewhere as qualified free agents (as both ultimately did). Yet the Giants never looked especially likely to make a deep playoff run (Fangraphs gave them just a 5.9% shot of reaching the postseason at the time). There was certainly a case to be made they should’ve acted as a decisive seller. Instead, they pursued something of a middle-ground, trading away a few notable relievers while also making further marginal acquisitions.

    With that second-guessing out of the way, we’ll turn to the moves Zaidi’s front office has struck since he took charge in SF (excluding the most minor transactions).

    2018-19 Offseason

    2019 Season

    2019-20 Offseason

    How would you grade Zaidi’s first year-plus on the trade market? (Poll link for app users).

    Curious to look back on additional GMs and their trade histories?

    We’ve already polled on Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen, recently fired Astros president Jeff LuhnowBrewers president of baseball ops David StearnsAngels GM Billy EpplerRockies GM Jeff BridichTigers GM Al AvilaBraves GM Alex AnthopoulosBlue Jays GM Ross AtkinsMariners GM Jerry DipotoPhillies GM Matt KlentakPadres GM A.J. PrellerDodgers president of baseball operations Andrew FriedmanRays GM Erik Neanderex-Red Sox front office leader Dave DombrowskiMets GM Brodie Van WagenenReds GM Dick WilliamsOrioles GM Mike Elias and former Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[NL Notes: Crawford, Kim, Mikolas, Cecil, Johnson]]> 2020-04-05T16:42:11Z 2020-04-05T16:31:00Z Brandon Crawford gave the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea a rundown of his daily routine, as the Giants shortstop is busy balancing his time with his wife and four young children alongside workouts and engaging in whatever baseball activities he can manage from his house.  On this particular day, for example, Crawford and the Giants’ team yoga instructor met via video conferencing for a session “based on baseball mobility and movements that we need,” Crawford said.

    Some more from the National League…

    • While Crawford is one of many players staying at home with his family during the shutdown, newly-signed Cardinals left-hander Kwang-hyun Kim is in St. Louis while his family is in South Korea.  Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak told reporters (including’s Anne Rogers) that Kim could potentially return to Korea while Major League Baseball is on hiatus.  “I can only imagine the mental challenge [Kim is] under with his wife and children back in South Korea, trying to adapt to a new country, a new team, and then have all this thrust upon him,” Mozeliak said.  “So we’re trying to navigate that as best we can, but…clearly this has not been easy for him, and I think all of us could understand why.”
    • From that same teleconference earlier this week, Mozeliak also provided updates on some injured Cardinals players.  Miles Mikolas continues to make progress after suffering a flexor tendon strain in February and receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection, as Mikolas will soon throw a bullpen session and is currently throwing from 120 feet.  Brett Cecil recently took time off from his hamstring injury rehab for personal reasons, but Mozeliak said Cecil will resume the process next week.  Cecil suffered what manager Mike Shildt described as a “fairly significant” right hamstring strain in mid-March, and while no specific timeline was put in place, it was thought that Cecil was facing “multiple weeks of treatment.”
    • After pitching in Japan in 2019, Pierce Johnson signed a two-year, $5MM deal with the Padres this offseason to mark his return to North American baseball.  As Johnson told Fangraphs’ David Laurila, “a few other teams kicked the tires” on the right-hander’s availability, and he also came “really close to taking” an offer to remain with the Hanshin Tigers.  Ultimately, Johnson chose the Padres and MLB in order to bring his family back closer to home.  Johnson posted only a 5.44 ERA over his 44 2/3 career Major League innings with the Cubs and Giants in 2017-18, though his season in Nippon Professional Baseball greatly elevated his stock, as the righty posted a 1.38 ERA, 14.0 K/9, and 7.00 K/BB rate over 58 2/3 relief innings for the Tigers.