MLB Trade Rumors » » San Francisco Giants 2018-01-17T04:13:39Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom Steve Adams <![CDATA[Giants Still Pursuing Center Fielders, Will Play McCutchen In Right Field]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112760 2018-01-16T23:32:59Z 2018-01-16T22:41:34Z If there were any questions as to where Andrew McCutchen would play with his new team in 2018, the Giants decisively answered them in a conference call with reporters today (link via Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle). Manager Bruce Bochy flatly told the media that McCutchen will be his right fielder in 2018, with Hunter Pence shifting across the outfield and playing left field for the first time in his MLB career (excluding a brief appearance there during the 2011 All-Star Game).

That, of course, leaves the Giants with a noted gap in center field, but GM Bobby Evans said today that he’s still exploring both the trade and free-agent market for center fielders. San Francisco will be hard-pressed to sign a notable free agent to play there, though, if the team is to stick to its goal of remaining beneath the luxury tax threshold of $197MM. Per Cot’s Contracts, the Giants are currently $4.8MM shy of that barrier, even when including the cash the team picked up from the Pirates and Rays as part of the McCutchen and Evan Longoria acquisitions.

Notably, Schulman adds that ownership has not mandated that the Giants stay under the luxury threshold, so it remains conceivable that the team could simply change course if it feels that to be the best path back to contention an increasingly competitive NL West division.

Obviously, there’s no real way to fit the free-agent market’s top center fielder, Lorenzo Cain, onto the Giants’ books without further trades to subtract payroll. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports (via Twitter) that the Giants’ non-Cain wishlist is topped by Jarrod Dyson. He’s followed by Jon Jay and Cameron Maybin, in that order, according to Crasnick. While no deal is close, Crasnick adds that the Giants have reached out to Dyson’s camp to express interest, but the fleet-footed free agent, who is still talking with multiple teams.

Dyson, 33, is one of the game’s fastest players, with an average sprint speed of 28.8 ft/sec, per Statcast. Those wheels have led to consistently excellent defensive marks across all three outfield spots, though the majority of Dyson’s career has been spent in center. At the plate, he’s a career .258/.325/.352 hitter — including a .264/.331/.367 slash across the past two seasons. Dyson has also averaged 31 stolen bases per season since beginning to accumulate regular semi-regular playing time with the Royals back in 2012.

As is the case with almost any player, Dyson brings some noted shortcomings to the table. He’s never hit more than five home runs in a season, and moving to the cavernous AT&T Park at age 33 wouldn’t figure to help him in that regard. He’s also looked more or less inept against left-handed pitching in his career, hitting just .215/.293/.259 against same-handed opponents. Neither the Royals nor the Mariners saw fit to give Dyson much time against lefties, as he’s accumulated just 341 career plate appearances against them.

Jay and Maybin, who’ll turn 33 and 31, respectively, this spring, would bring different skills to San Francisco. Neither can match Dyson’s defensive excellence, but Jay has virtually no platoon split to speak of and has been a consistent source of solid batting averages and OBP marks in his career (.288/.355/.383). Maybin is the youngest of the bunch and also has the most power and best walk rate of the bunch. But, he’s been injury-prone and didn’t enjoy an especially strong 2017 season at the plate (.228/.318/.365). The free-agent market also features cost-effective veterans like Peter Bourjos and old friend Rajai Davis, among other unsigned center field candidates (MLBTR Free Agent Tracker link).

The trade market could present its fair share of options as the Giants seek center fielders. San Francisco has been linked to Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton (another defensive star) on and off throughout the offseason, though Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported just today that talks between the two sides are “dormant.” Buchanan adds that one source feels it’s likely that Hamilton will remain with the Reds for the 2018 campaign.

Meanwhile Brewers speedster Keon Broxton has also been linked to San Francisco at times this winter, though there’s been little such talk as of late. Yankees fans will assuredly attempt to conjure up ways in which New York could jettison Jacoby Ellsbury’s contract in a trade with the Giants, though San Francisco’s proximity to the luxury tax and Ellsbury’s decline in recent years make that quite unlikely.

[Related: San Francisco Giants depth chart and San Francisco Giants payroll]

San Francisco also has some internal options, led by prospect Steven Duggar, who impressed the organization with a .262/.365/.445 slash across multiple minor league levels this past season. Duggar, though, has only played 13 games in Double-A, so while Evans said he expects the 24-year-old to be in the mix for the job in Spring Training, it may be asking a lot to expect the 2015 sixth-rounder to reach the Majors early in the season. In that sense, a short-term addition in center field could serve as a stopgap for Duggar, although there’s room for a longer-term adition as well, with both Pence and McCutchen slated to hit free agency next winter.

Looking elsewhere on the roster, the addition of McCutchen and the continued pursuit of a center fielder muddies the long-term picture for outfielders Jarrett Parker, Mac Williamson and Austin Slater, each of whom has seen time on the Giants’ big league roster in recent years. Parker is out of minor league options, so he’ll need to make the 2018 roster out of Spring Training or else be exposed to waivers. Williamson has an option remaining, while Slater has all three option years left after sticking in the Majors following a June promotion.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Giants Acquire Andrew McCutchen]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112657 2018-01-16T01:09:07Z 2018-01-15T23:34:37Z 5:34pm: Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that the Pirates are covering $2.5MM of McCutchen’s $14.75MM salary.

5:25pm: It became all the more clear on Monday that Pirates fans are looking at the end of an era, as the team announced that face of the franchise Andrew McCutchen has been traded to the Giants (along with cash considerations) in exchange for young right-hander Kyle Crick, outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds and $500K worth of international bonus pool space.

Andrew McCutchen | MLBTR Photoshop

Outfield help has been a priority for the Giants all offseason after last year’s collective unit combined to bat .253/.311/.374 in more than 2000 plate appearances. Inserting McCutchen into that mix should provide a significant boost on the offensive side of the equation, as the 31-year-old turned in a very strong rebound campaign at the plate in 2017, hitting .279/.363/.486 with 28 homers (his highest total since hitting 31 back in 2012).

Of course, questions about McCutchen’s glovework persisted in 2017 — and it should be noted that the Giants’ outfield defense was the worst in baseball last year. San Francisco outfielders combined to post an MLB-worst -45 mark in Defensive Runs Saved, and they ranked just 28th with a -11.4 Ultimate Zone Rating. The since-traded Denard Span played no small role in those shortcomings, but McCutchen’s marks of -14 and -4.5 in those respective stats  don’t exactly stand out as an indicator that an extensive amount of help is on the defensive horizon.

If the Giants were to play McCutchen in an outfield corner, perhaps he could post more meaningful contributions in that regard. At present, he figures to line up in center field, though the Giants could yet play McCutchen in left field and acquire a cost-effective center field option with a stronger defensive reputation (someone in the mold of Jarrod Dyson, speaking from a speculative standpoint).

However, it’s important to note that there may not be room for the Giants to make much of an addition. San Francisco will add more than $9MM to its luxury tax ledger by picking up the final year of McCutchen’s deal, which should place them roughly $7MM from the threshold. San Francisco has reportedly been aiming to remain under the tax cap in order to reset its penalty level.

[Related: Updated San Francisco Giants depth chart & San Francisco Giants payroll]

For the Giants, McCutchen is the second notable veteran bat the team has landed via trade this offseason. San Francisco also picked up Evan Longoria in a trade that sent Christian Arroyo, Span (plus the remaining year of his contract) and a pair of minor league pitchers to the Rays. Depending on their willingness to either shed additional payroll or pivot and exceed the luxury tax for a fifth consecutive season, those two big-name acquisitions could prove to be the Giants’ primary offseason acquisitions.

The McCutchen agreement comes just days after the Pirates shipped right-hander Gerrit Cole to the reigning World Champion Astros, further signaling a transitional period in Pittsburgh, though the pair of trades does not necessarily indicate that a full-scale tear-down is on the horizon for the Bucs. Both Cole (controlled through 2019) and McCutchen (a free agent next winter) were short-term and relatively high-priced assets — especially for a Pirates team that operates on a notoriously thin budget.

McCutchen is slated to earn $14.75MM in the final season of his contract, whereas Cole had settled at $6.75MM in order to avoid arbitration. The Pirates, then, will be saving a combined $21.5MM with this pair of swaps — money that could, in theory, be reinvested into the 2018 roster. The Pirates have, after all, opened each of the past three season with payrolls in excess of $90MM but now project for a payroll of roughly $82MM in 2018. The Bucs could further reduce that 2018 commitment if the team ultimately finds a trade partner for infielder/outfielder Josh Harrison; the versatile veteran is slated to earn $10MM this season and, like Cole and McCutchen before him, has been an oft-mentioned trade candidate this offseason.

[Related: Updated Pittsburgh Pirates depth chart & Pittsburgh Pirates payroll]

Kyle Crick | Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The 25-year-old Crick was the 49th overall pick in the 2011 draft and ranked among baseball’s top 100 prospects from 2013-15, per various reports. While his rise through the minors was slowed by control issues, he had a strong year in 2017 after converting to the bullpen on a full-time basis.

In 29 1/3 innings of relief in Triple-A, he posted a 2.76 ERA with 12.0 K/9, 4.0 BB/9 and a 44.3 percent ground-ball rate. That strong run led to Crick’s big league debut with the Giants; in 32 1/3 innings in the Majors, he logged a 3.06 ERA with 7.8 K/9, 4.7 BB/9 and a 37.9 percent ground-ball rate. Crick’s 95.5 mph average fastball velocity and 11 percent swinging-strike rate both pointed to the potential for his big league strikeout rate to catch up to the more impressive level he flashed in Triple-A.

Crick is controllable through the 2023 season, so he’ll join a lengthy list of controllable assets the Bucs received in the Cole trade as a potential long-term piece that can step directly onto the roster.

“Kyle Crick is a physical, Major League-ready right-handed reliever who brings a high-velocity, live fastball complimented by a quality slider to potentially pitch in a late inning role for the Pirates,” said Pirates GM Neal Huntington. “Kyle’s power arsenal has resulted in a high strikeout rate complimented by inducing a lot of weak contact. After his first exposure to the Major League level last season, Kyle appears ready to take the next steps in what should be a productive career as a high leverage Major League relief pitcher.”

Reynolds, 23 later this month, was the Giants’ second-round pick in 2016 and just wrapped up a strong season in Class-A Advanced, where he hit .312/.364/.462 with 10 homers, 26 doubles and nine triples in 540 trips to the plate. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com had him fourth among Giants prospects, while Baseball America ranked him fifth among San Francisco farmhands just a few weeks ago (before the Arroyo trade, meaning he’d now rank fourth on their list as well).

“Bryan is an effective offensive player that also plays quality defense,” said Huntington. “We look forward to working with Bryan to maximize his tools and help him become a quality well-rounded Major League player who can impact a game in many ways beyond his quality bat.”

As for the Pirates’ immediate future in the outfield, it’s not yet entirely clear how they’ll fill the void. Starling Marte seems likely to slide over from the corner outfield to center field, which should be a defensive upgrade over the life of a full season. Top prospect Austin Meadows showed in 2017 that he’s likely not yet ready for the Majors — Meadows hit just .250/.311/.359 in Triple-A — so the Bucs could turn to a platoon of 26-year-old Adam Frazier and veteran utility man Sean Rodriguez in left field for the time being.

Alternatively, Pittsburgh could wait out the free agent market and see if any veterans become available on bargain deals. The corner outfield market has no shortage of experienced options (MLBTR Free Agent Tracker link), and some of those names will undoubtedly have to settle for one-year deals later this winter.

Robert Murray and Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports first reported that talks between the two sides were picking up (Twitter link). Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the two sides had reached an agreement (Twitter link). Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area tweeted that Crick was in the deal. Yahoo’s Jeff Passan tweeted that Reynolds was likely to be a part of the deal, and The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly confirmed as much. MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reported that the Pirates would pay some of McCutchen’s salary.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Giants’ Pursuit Of Outfielders]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112653 2018-01-15T21:54:09Z 2018-01-15T20:13:26Z The Giants and Pirates are engaged in “serious talks” regarding outfielder Andrew McCutchen, according to Robert Murray and Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter link). At the same time, San Francisco is said to have “gotten more serious” in discussions with free agent Lorenzo Cain, in the words of Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter), though he also cautions the sides aren’t close to an agreement.

It has long seemed possible that the Giants could end up landing either of these two veteran players. Certainly, the connections aren’t new. That reports have emerged on both in near proximity could be interpreted in various ways.

Regarding McCutchen, the Pirates and Giants have reportedly discussed him in the past, though obviously nothing has come together to this point. Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area looked at the connection today as well, including the fact that the San Francisco front office has hoped the Gerrit Cole trade might free up chatter on McCutchen, who is owed $14.5MM in his final season of contract control. Per Pavlovic, the Bucs’ demands to this point have been too rich for the Giants.

It’s possible to view the offseason developments to date from both organizations as a lead-up to a deal involving McCutchen. The Giants, who’d rather not part with draft picks as compensation for signing a qualifying-offer-bound free agent, have already traded for Evan Longoria, so there’s little question they are pushing to return to contention in 2018. And the Pirates’ recent trade of Cole clearly indicates the organization is willing to move on from highly-paid stars. McCutchen has long seemed a more obvious trade piece than was Cole.

At the same time, it’s too soon to rule out Cain. Both players could certainly fit on the same roster; at present, only Hunter Pence — himself a question mark after a shaky 2017 season — is firmly in place in the outfield. (Our sister site, Roster Resource, currently places Steven Duggar and Jarrett Parker atop the Giants depth chart in center and left.) Of course, doing so would mean ponying up significant cash as well as prospect assets. Even if the Giants were able to secure a nice price for Cain, they’d almost surely end up flying past the luxury line and he’d unquestionably require draft compensation. Getting Cutch, too, will require only a one-year commitment but will mean parting with at least some young assets.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Giants Reportedly "Talking To" Lorenzo Cain]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112609 2018-01-15T13:45:28Z 2018-01-15T03:35:57Z The Giants aren’t dead set against signing a free agent who rejected a qualifying offer, general manager Bobby Evans said this week (via Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, on Twitter). Ideally, Evans would rather not sign a player attached to draft pick compensation, though he “all but said” that the Giants are “talking to” center fielder and QO recipient Lorenzo Cain, Schulman reports. In adding Cain, who’s likely to ink one of this winter’s biggest contracts, the Giants would lose two 2018 draft picks (their second- and fifth-highest selections) and $1MM of international bonus pool space.

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Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Should The Giants Be More Open To Surrendering Draft Picks For Free Agents?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112579 2018-01-14T20:21:35Z 2018-01-14T20:21:35Z The competitive balance tax has been a significant offseason storyline, most notably in regards to big-market teams like the Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants are all looking to stay under the threshold this winter in order to reset their tax costs and further position them for bigger spending next offseason and beyond.  While much has been made about the value of avoiding the tax, MASNsports.com’s Mark Zuckerman notes that the actual financial cost is pretty minimal for teams (like the Nationals) who barely exceed the threshold.  For instance, the Nats’ current $199.2MM payroll puts them $2.2MM over the tax line, putting D.C. in line for a 30% tax on the overage since this would be the club’s second straight year over the threshold.  Since only the overage is taxed, however, the Nationals would only be paying an extra $660K.  Zuckerman figures that a contending team like Washington shouldn’t have any issue in paying a bit extra tax money in order to acquire a pricey trade addition during the season, especially if that player ends up helping the Nats finally enjoy some postseason success.

  • In his latest Insider-only piece, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney opines that the Giants’ desire to avoid giving up draft picks to sign qualifying offer-rejecting free agents may be short-sighted.  San Francisco’s veteran-heavy roster is built to win now, and signing the likes of a Lorenzo Cain would do wonders for the troubled Giants outfield, adding more immediate help than the theoretical value of the second-round pick the club would have be surrendering in order to sign Cain.
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Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Evan Longoria Discusses Giants Trade]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112552 2018-01-14T16:51:47Z 2018-01-14T16:51:47Z
  • Evan Longoria shared some interesting details about his trade to the Giants in an appearance on the MLB Network on Friday (as detailed by MLB.com’s Daniel Kramer).  Though Longoria didn’t have any leverage in the form of no-trade protection or 10-and-5 rights, he said he “kind of gave them [the Rays] a short list of teams that I thought would be a good fit for me,” specifically teams that “were going to be committed to winning, year-in and year-out.”  It isn’t known how much, if at all, Longoria’s list factored into Tampa’s decision-making, though the Giants were one of the teams included.  The Cardinals, another club linked to Longoria in trade rumors, were also on the third baseman’s list.  Longoria said he felt a trade was coming after a talk with Rays GM Erik Neander two weeks before the Giants deal was completed.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Arbitration Updates: 1/13/18]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112430 2018-01-13T22:22:30Z 2018-01-13T22:22:30Z Here are the arbitration numbers we’ve learned thus far today — all of them coming via the Twitter feed of Jon Heyman of Fan Rag unless otherwise noted:

    • The Giants’ previously known deals with two righty relievers now have dollar values attached. Sam Dyson is slated to earn $4.425MM, while the team will pay righty Cory Gearrin $1.675MM. MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projected a $4.6MM award for Dyson and a $1.6MM salary for Gearrin.
    • Diamondbacks infielder Chris Owings settled out at $3.4MM, just a shade over the $3.3MM the team will pay outfielder David Peralta. Swartz had both Owings and Peralta at $3.8MM.
    • Right-hander Nick Vincent will take down a $2.75MM payday from the Mariners, coming in just north of his $2.7MM projection.
    • Astros righty Lance McCullers Jr. is set to receive $2.45MM (a bit shy of his projected $2.6MM) in his first season of arb eligibility, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.
    • Infielder Hernan Perez receives $1.975MM from the Brewers, falling short of a $2.2MM projection.
    • The Athletics agreed yesterday with righty Liam Hendriks at $1.9MM, matching his projection, and catcher Josh Phegley for $905K. Swartz had Phegley at $1.1MM.
    • White Sox third baseman Yolmer Sanchez has filed at $2.35MM while the team countered at $2.1MM – the same as his projection.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: National League]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112260 2018-01-13T06:28:47Z 2018-01-12T21:10:22Z The deadline for MLB teams to exchange salary arbitration figures with their arbitration-eligible players is today at 1pm ET. As such, there will be a veritable flood of arb agreements piling up in the next few hours — especially in light of a more universal approach to the “file and trial” method for teams. (That is to say, those teams will no longer negotiate one-year deals after arb figures are exchanged and will instead head to a hearing with those players, barring an agreemenr on a multi-year deal.)

    Note that you can keep an eye on all of today’s deals using MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker, which can be filtered to show only the results of the team you follow and is also sortable by service time and dollar value of the agreement. All projections that are referenced come from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’s annual compilation of projected arbitration salaries.

    Onto today’s landslide of deals…

    National League West

    • The Rockies have agreed to a $2MM salary with righty Chad Bettis, MLBTR has learned (Twitter link). That’s a fair sight more than his $1.5MM projection. Bettis surely would have had an opportunity to set a bigger platform for himself, but had to battle through testicular cancer before returning to the hill in 2017. Meanwhile, second baseman DJ LeMahieu has settled for a $8.5MM payday in his final year of arbitration, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. That’s just a hair short of the $8.8MM he was pegged for in MLBTR’s projections.
    • Giants second baseman Joe Panik is slated to earn $3.45MM in his first season of arb eligibility, Devan Fink of SB Nation was first to tweet. That’s just a hair shy of the $3.5MM that MLBTR projected. Lefty Will Smith has settled at $2.5MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The club has also announced deals with its remaining arb-eligible players, right-handed relievers Sam Dyson ($4.6MM projection), Hunter Strickland ($1.7MM projection), and Cory Gearrin ($1.6MM projection). (H/t John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, on Twitter). Strickland earns $1.55MM, Nightengale tweets.
    • The Padres and Freddy Galvis agreed to a $6.825MM deal for his lone season of team control in San Diego, tweets Robert Murray of FanRag Sports. Galvis, who spent the first several seasons of his career in Philadelphia before being traded this winter, had been projected to make $7.4MM. Infielder Cory Spangenberg settled at $1.7MM, Heyman tweets, falling below a $2.0MM projection. San Diego has also reached agreements with righty Kirby Yates and outfielder Matt Szczur, the team announced. Yates will earn $1,062,500, Heyman tweets, which is just shy of his $1.1MM projection. Szczur, meanwhile, will get $950K, a healthy boost over his $800K projection, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).
    • The Diamondbacks agreed to a $7.75MM deal with center fielder A.J. Pollock, Murray tweets. Pollock was projected to earn $8.4MM in his final year of eligibility before free agency. Murray also notes that Brad Boxberger is set to earn $1.85MM next year (Twitter link). Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic adds that lefty Andrew Chafin ($1.2MM projection) and the D-backs have a $1.195MM deal in place. Third baseman Jake Lamb, meanwhile, agreed to a $4.275MM deal with the Diamondbacks, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link). Lamb, eligible for arbitration for the first time, was projected to earn $4.7MM. He’s controllable through 2020. And ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that Chris Herrmann ($1.4MM projection) landed a $1.3MM deal. Righty Taijuan Walker has settled for $4.825MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), which is within range but shy of the $5.0MM he projected for. Lefty Robbie Ray has settled at $3.95MM, per Nightengale (Twitter link), which falls short of his $4.2MM projection. Infielder Nick Ahmed will $1.275MM, per Heyman (via Twitter), which tops the projected figure of $1.1MM. Arizona has also announced that Chris Owings and David Peralta have agreed to terms.
    • The Dodgers are in agreement on a $6MM deal with lefty Alex Wood, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). He had projected at $6.4MM. Meanwhile, righty Josh Fields agreed to a $2.2MM deal, tweets Murray. Heyman tweets that Enrique Hernandez will earn $1.6MM. Fields’ projection of $2.2MM was on the money, whereas Hernandez topped his mark by $300K. Fields is controlled through 2019, while Hernandez is controllable through 2020. Southpaw Tony Cingrani gets $2.3MM, Murray tweets, which is just a shade over his $2.2MM projection. Outfielder Joc Pederson has also settled, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group (via Twitter), with Beth Harris of the Associated Press reporting a $2.6MM salary that rather handily tops the $2.0MM that MLBTR projected.

    National League Central

    • All three remaining Cardinals arb-eligibles have agreed to deals, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch tweetsMarcell Ozuna will earn $9MM after drawin a much larger $10.9MM projection, Heyman tweets. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had explained that Ozuna likely wouldn’t quite reach the amount the algorithm suggested, though the actual salary still comes in a bit shy of expectations. Lefty Tyler Lyons ($1.3MM projection) receives $1.2MM, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). The Cards have also reached agreement with Michael Wacha for $5.3MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter); he was projected to earn $5.9MM.
    • The Reds agreed to a $860K salary with Anthony DeSclafani, tweets Murray. DeSclafani missed the 2017 season due to arm troubles and had been projected to earn $1.1MM. He’ll remain under Reds control through 2020. Billy Hamilton and the Reds have settled on a one-year deal worth $4.6MM, tweets Murray. A popular trade candidate this offseason, Hamilton was projected to earn $5MM and comes with another two seasons of team control. Murray also conveys that Michael Lorenzen agreed to a $1.3125MM deal, which lines up fairly well with his $1.4MM projection.
    • The Cubs have struck a deal with lefty Justin Wilson, agreeing to a one-year, $4.25MM pact, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link). Wilson, who had been projected at $4.3MM, will be a free agent next winter. The Cubs alsoagreed to a $950K salary with infielder Tommy La Stella, tweets MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. La Stella was projected to make $1MM in his first offseason of arbitration eligiblity and can be controlled through 2020. Right-hander Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs have agreed to a $4.175MM salary, per Nightengale (on Twitter). That sum comes in a fair bit shy of his projected $4.9MM projection as a first-time eligible player. The Cubs control Hendricks through the 2020 season. Chicago also agreed with Addison Russell, per Wittenmyer (Twitter link). The shortstop will receive $3.2MM for the coming season.
    • Nightengale reports (on Twitter) that the Brewers and breakout closer Corey Knebel settled at $3.65MM. As a Super Two player, Knebel can be controlled through the 2021 season and will be arb-eligible thrice more. He was projected at $4.1MM. MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy tweets that the Brewers and right-hander Jimmy Nelson settled at $3.7MM, which falls $1MM shy of his $4.7MM projection (though some of that discrepancy may be due to Nelson’s shoulder injury). Milwaukee also announced a deal for infielders Jonathan Villar (projected at $3MM) and Hernan Perez (projected at $2.2MM). McCalvy reports that Villar will earn $2.55MM, while terms of Perez’s deal are not yet available.
    • The Pirates have avoided arbitration with shortstop Jordy Mercer by settling on a $6.75MM salary for 2018, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Mercer, who’d been projected to earn $6.5MM, is entering his final year of team control and will be a free agent next winter. Biertempfel also reports that Gerrit Cole will earn that same $6.75MM salary in 2018 — a $3MM raise over last year (Twitter link). He has two years of control remaining and had been projected to earn $7.4MM. Righty George Kontos has also agreed to terms, per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter). He had projected for $2.7MM and will receive a smidge more, at $2,725,000, per Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link).

    National League East

    • The Braves reached a $3.4MM deal with righty Arodys Vizcaino, per Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). He’d been projected at $3.7MM. The Braves and righty Dan Winkler agreed to a $610K salary for the upcoming season, tweets Mark Bowman of MLB.com. Winkler tossed just 14 1/3 innings in the Majors this year as he made his way back from elbow surgery. He’d projected at $800K.
    • The Marlins and Miguel Rojas agreed to a $1.18MM deal for 2018, Heyman tweets, placing him north of his $1.1MM projection. Rojas should see additional playing time following the Marlins’ wave of trades this offseason. He’s controlled through 2020. Miami also has a deal in place with infielder Derek Dietrich for $2.9MM, Heyman tweets, after projecting at $3.2MM.
    • The Mets were able to settle perhaps their most notable arb case, agreeing to a $7.4MM deal with righty Jacob deGrom, per James Wagner of the New York Times (via Twitter). That’s well shy of his $9.2MM projection, though MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had explained the formula likely overestimated deGrom’s earning power by quite a wide margin. Fellow top righty Noah Syndergaard gets $2.975MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), which goes a fair sight past the $1.9MM projection for the outstanding young starter, whose 2017 season was limited by injury. And reliever AJ Ramos will take home $9.225MM, according to Wagner (via Twitter). That’s just barely past the $9.2MM projection.  Wilmer Flores has also avoided arbitration with the Mets, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports (on Twitter). He’ll receive a $3.4MM salary, which falls within $300K of his projected rate. The Mets control Flores through the 2019 campaign. The Mets and right-hander Matt Harvey agreed to a one-year deal worth $5.625MM, tweets Nightengale. Harvey, who is a free agent next winter, had been projected to earn $5.9MM. Meanwhile, Marc Carig of Newsday tweets that Jeurys Familia will earn $7.925MM for the upcoming year, while Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that catcher Travis d’Arnaud will earn $3.475MM in 2018 (Twitter link). Familia, a free agent next winter, was projected at $7.4MM. The Mets control d’Arnaud through 2019, and his projection was $3.4MM. Righty Hansel Robles gets $900K, Heyman tweets.
    • Also via Nightengale (Twitter link), the Nationals agreed to a $6.475MM salary for 2018 with right-hander Tanner Roark. That falls about $1MM shy of his $7.5MM projection but still represents a noted raise of $4.315MM for Roark, whom the Nats control through 2019. Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post adds that Michael Taylor will earn $2.525MM next year. Taylor is controlled through 2020 and was projected at $2.3MM.
    • The Phillies and Maikel Franco settled on a $2.95MM salary for the 2018 season, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com (Twitter link). Franco, a Super Two player who’d been projected at $3.6MM, remains under club control with the Phils through the 2021 season. Second bagger Cesar Hernandez will earn at a $5.1MM rate in 2018, per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki (via Twitter). That beats his $4.7MM projection and wraps up this year’s arb business for the Phillies.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giants Reportedly Made Three-Year Offer To Bruce Before He Signed With Mets]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112063 2018-01-12T05:17:47Z 2018-01-12T05:02:52Z
  • The Giants’ top offer to Jay Bruce was at the three-year level but would have promised about $10MM less to him than the $39MM he ultimately scored from the Mets, according to reports from Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link) and Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). It seems that San Francisco was hoping to get some pop into the lineup at a bit of a discount, which is certainly understandable given the still-lengthy list of potential targets available in free agency and on the trade market. One additional name that has long been linked to the Giants, Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates, remains of interest, Nightengale further notes. There’s also a case to be made that the Giants ought to take the opportunity presented by the slow market development while forgetting about the luxury tax line this year, as Andrew Baggarly writes for The Athletic. Of course, that’s also true for a few other teams, and it’s arguable that such interest will help prop things up once player movement begins in earnest.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 1/10/18]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112061 2018-01-10T14:24:27Z 2018-01-10T14:24:27Z We’ll track the latest minor signings and other transactions here …

    • The Brewers have brought back left-hander Nick Ramirez on a minor-league deal, per a club announcement. Brewer Nation first tweeted word of the signing. He converted from first base to the mound in 2017, turning in rather impressive results. In 79 1/3 frames over 49 appearances, all but one of which came at Double-A, Ramirez ran a 1.36 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. It obviously remains to be seen whether the former fourth-round pick can earn a shot at the majors, but it seems promising that he was able to throttle both right-handed (.214/.260/.305) and left-handed hitters (.167/.273/.240) while working in a multi-inning role.
    • First baseman/outfielder Kyle Jensen has a minors deal with the Giants, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). The 29-year-old has only seen brief MLB time but has generally produced quality numbers at Triple-A. In 1,793 plate appearances at the highest level of the minors, he carries a .266/.341/.488 batting line with 178 home runs — though also over a thousand strikeouts. Jensen had a six-game stretch last year with Japan’s Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, but otherwise did not appear professionally. A former 12th round draft pick of the Marlins, Jensen has also spent time in recent years with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks organizations.
    • Also signing a minor-league pact is lefty Keith Hessler, who’ll join the Rockies, according to Cotillo (Twitter link). Hessler, 28, has 34 MLB frames under his belt, over which he has allowed 21 earned runs while recording 23 strikeouts and issuing 17 walks. He has mostly plied his trade in the upper minors in recent years, though he also took an indy ball detour last season. At times, Hessler has produced solid groundball numbers and been very hard on opposing lefties, though neither really held true in his most recent showing. In 45 1/3 Triple-A frames with the Padres in 2017, Hessler carried a 4.57 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[East Notes: Frandsen, Franco, Machado, Orioles]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111986 2018-01-09T05:20:27Z 2018-01-09T05:20:27Z The Phillies announced on Monday that former big leaguers Kevin Frandsen, Kevin Jordan and Kevin Stocker will join their broadcast team. According to the announcement, that trio of former Phillies will rotate through road games and serve as color analysts alongside play-by-play broadcaster Scott Franzke. The 35-year-old Frandsen is the most recent member of the group to have suited up in the Majors, appearing in seven games for the 2015 Giants. Frandsen seemingly never made a formal declaration of his intention to retire as a player, though he has not appeared in a professional game since that 2015 season. It seems fair to assume, then, that he’ll embark upon a new career as he breaks into the media world.

    A couple more notes on the Phillies and some other east coast clubs…

    • In less pleasant news, third baseman Maikel Franco was suspended from his team in the Dominican Winter League for “violating the organization’s discipline code,” per Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes. Franco and teammates Moises Sierra, Garabez Rosa and Eduardo de Oleo were photographed partying at a Dominican club as late as 6am on the day of one of the team’s playoff games, per the report. It was a disappointment for both his DWL team and the Phillies alike, prompting an apology from the third baseman: “I apologize to the team, the fans and our sponsors, it’s something that will not happen again,” said Franco. The 25-year-old Franco, who impressed mightily as a rookie in 2015, has regressed in each of the past two seasons and is coming off his worst MLB campaign to date. In 623 plate appearances, Franco slashed just .230/.281/.409 with 24 homers.
    • Orioles skipper Buck Showalter is overseeing what Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com calls a “delicate situation” on the left side of the infield, where Manny Machado has reportedly indicated a desire to move to a shortstop position that would otherwise be occupied by Tim Beckham. While Showalter isn’t tipping his hand, he says there’s been progress in resolving who’ll play where — assuming, at least, that Machado is ultimately retained by the O’s. The manager says he has “positioned us to maneuver regardless of what happens between now and the season starting.”
    • Showalter and Kubatko also cover a variety of other topics of interest to the Baltimore faithful in that as well as another post, focusing in particular on a trio of lefties. Rule 5 pick Nestor Cortes has drawn early praise from the skipper, though of course he’ll still need to earn and keep an active roster spot. Elsewhere, the general prognosis on key reliever Zach Britton seems to be positive, though that’s not to say there’s any change to the mid-summer timeline for him to return from his Achilles tear. Kubatko also held an interesting chat with Richard Bleier, who recognizes that his sparkling 1.99 ERA from 2017 doesn’t guarantee him anything entering camp.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giants Remaining Patient In Search For Outfielders]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111740 2018-01-05T05:46:35Z 2018-01-05T05:46:35Z
  • Meanwhile, the Giants — who have also been tied to McCutchen — are still working through a broad slate of possibilities, as Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. GM Bobby Evans says the organization is “not really focused on the calendar” and views its options as “still very satisfying.” Patience has been the name of the game for just about all of baseball’s key actors this winter; the question remains when and how transactions will begin in earnest. For the Giants, the key limitations revolve around a desire to dip below the luxury tax line and a hesitancy to part with the best of their relatively meager prospect assets. As Schulman notes on Twitter, rivals have not only focused on outfielder Heliot Ramos, but also young pitchers Andrew Suarez and Tyler Beede.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giants To Sign Hector Sanchez, Chase d’Arnaud, Jose Valdez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111737 2018-01-05T03:53:17Z 2018-01-05T03:53:17Z The Giants have struck a minors pact with catcher Hector Sanchez, according to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. He’ll be expected to take up a spot on the depth chart but not open the season on the MLB roster, as the Giants have already re-signed Nick Hundley to pair with stalwart regular Buster Posey.

    In other news, San Francisco has agreed to terms with infielder Chase d’Arnaud and righty Jose Valdez, according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). Like Sanchez, both players saw time with the Padres in 2017.

    Sanchez, 28, is no stranger to the Giants organization. He broke into the majors in San Francisco in 2011 and played there through 2015. In 637 total MLB plate appearances thus far with the Giants, Sanchez carries a .240/.274/.345 batting line.

    Since departing, Sanchez has mostly plied his trade for the division-rival Padres. As Pavlovic notes, the otherwise light-hitting backstop turned into a slugger when stepping into the box against his former mates. Sanchez slashed just .219/.245/.423 over 143 plate appearances on the year, but he did launch four long balls against the Giants.

    As for d’Arnaud, who’ll soon turn 31, he suited up for three MLB teams in 2017 but received just 61 total plate appearances. The shortstop-capable utilityman carries a .223/.278/.306 batting line in 499 total MLB plate appearances.

    Valdez, meanwhile, will reach his 28th birthday before the 2018 season. He has a 5.72 ERA over 50 1/3 total MLB innings spread over the past three seasons. Valdez does own a mid-to-upper-nineties heater and managed an 11.2% swinging-strike rate during his time in the majors in 2017.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Pirates, Giants Discussing Andrew McCutchen Swap]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111611 2018-01-05T01:42:26Z 2018-01-04T23:43:01Z
  • The Giants and Pirates have had recent discussions about a trade involving Andrew McCutchen, though the two sides aren’t close to a deal, reports MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. The Pirates would want the Giants to include one of the organization’s best prospects — either Heliot Ramos, Chris Shaw or Tyler Beede — in any deal for McCutchen, and San Francisco brass is reluctant to part with additional top talent in an already-thin farm system after giving up Christian Arroyo in the Evan Longoria blockbuster. The 31-year-old McCutchen will earn $14.5MM this season before becoming a free agent next winter. While he had a significant rebound at the plate in 2017 (.279/.363/.486, 28 homers), he also turned in poor defensive metrics in center field for a fourth consecutive season. Upgrading the outfield defense has been a stated priority for the Giants.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giants Discussed Minors Deal With Scott Feldman]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111540 2018-01-02T18:38:03Z 2018-01-02T05:41:37Z
  • We missed this one at the time it was originally reported, but it’s worthy of note. The Giants have engaged free agent righty Scott Feldman in talks, per a report from Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, via Twitter. It seems San Francisco’s interest is in a minor-league pact. Feldman, who’ll soon turn 35, opened the 2017 season in good form but stumbled before ultimately requiring season-ending knee surgery. While he ended the year with a 4.77 ERA over 111 1/3 innings, Feldman had allowed less than four earned per nine in each of the prior four campaigns. He figures to represent a potentially steady rotation or long relief piece who ought to be available for a limited commitment.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giants Still Looking Into Variety Of Outfielders]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111375 2017-12-30T03:35:17Z 2017-12-30T02:53:55Z
  • Numerous teams are obviously preparing to pursue Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, who the Fish are reportedly increasingly willing to deal. Just how likely is a deal? Heyman cites a few sources who describe the situation as one in which the club is making Yelich and teammate J.T. Realmuto available in talks. Among the organizations with some level of interest in Yelich, per Heyman, are the DiamondbacksBraves, and Giants. No doubt there are plenty of others, too, that will line up for both players.
  • Speaking of options, the Giants are evidently still looking at quite a range of options in the outfield. Heyman says that trade candidates include not only Yelich but also Andrew McCutchen and Juan Lagares. (Others, of course, have linked the team to Billy Hamilton throughout the winter.) The free agent market is still chock full of possibilities, and Heyman says the team is still a potential landing spot for top option J.D. Martinez as well as the previously rumored Jay Bruce. Beyond that, Carlos Gomez, Carlos Gonzalez, Jarrod Dyson, and Jon Jay seem to be on the radar for the Giants.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Astros, Machado, Hamilton]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111242 2017-12-28T00:35:27Z 2017-12-27T22:28:44Z In a dramatic and suspenseful article, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic chronicles the recent harrowing life-or-death race to get Astros first base coach Rich Dauer to Houston Methodist Hospital. On the day of the Astros’ championship parade, Dauer was present at the official ceremony to honor the team. He began to stagger as if drunk, and stepped to the back of the stage. From there, a panicked attempt to get Dauer to the hospital amidst a crowd of millions of people unfolded behind the scenes. The piece is incredibly well-written, and thankfully has a happy ending. It’s definitely worth a full read.

    More from around MLB as we approach the end of December…

    • Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun wonders if this offseason’s drama surrounding Orioles star Manny Machado could have been avoided. Meoli takes a look at the chances the Orioles had to explore trades or a contract extension with their prized third baseman, but he ultimately comes to the conclusion that there was never a reason to trade him until now. It also seems as though by the time Machado was a safe fixture in the O’s lineup, his value was sky-high, and he was close enough to free agency that an extension didn’t make sense for him (or his agent). While it remains to be seen whether Baltimore will actually end up dealing Machado, Meoli’s piece sheds some light on a tough set of circumstances for the Orioles.
    • The Giants and Reds have remained active in talks about a trade that would send Billy Hamilton to San Francisco, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com. The Reds have reportedly shown interest in Heliot Ramos, who is largely considered to be the Giants’ best prospect (he credits The Athletic with first report of this news). Hamilton, of course, is regarded as one of the best defenders in the game, and also creates a lot of runs with his speed alone. His career .298 on-base percentage is widely regarded as his achilles heel, but he could still provide plenty of value as an elite center fielder in AT&T Park’s spacious outfield. A couple months back, I wrote about the trade market for Hamilton, noting that the Giants were the best match for his services.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Giants Notes: Outfield, Bullpen, Veteran Starter]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111141 2017-12-25T04:20:13Z 2017-12-25T04:18:30Z
  • The Giants are still in the market for an outfielder and bullpen help, and some in the organization think both needs could be met in one trade, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic writes.  The reliever trade market in particular is more appealing to some in the office than signing a bullpen arm.  On the outfield front, the Giants are still talking with the Reds about Billy Hamilton, though Cincinnati is still making “high demands” for the speedy center fielder.  As Pavlovic notes, the Giants could be even less likely to move young talent after swapping Christian Arroyo and two young pitching prospects to the Rays as part of the Evan Longoria trade.
  • The Giants are also on the lookout for a veteran starter on a minor league deal, Pavlovic adds.  Chris Stratton, Ty Blach, Tyler Beede, and Andrew Suarez are the in-house contenders for the two open spots in San Francisco’s rotation, and the team wants a more experienced arm in the mix to compete with all the youngsters.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Giants Agree To Minors Deal With Josh Rutledge]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110994 2017-12-23T08:35:19Z 2017-12-23T04:09:21Z
  • Infielder Josh Rutledge has agreed to a minor league deal (and, presumably, a Spring Training invite) with the Giantstweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Rutledge has spent the past three seasons in the Red Sox organization and picked up 118 PAs with Boston this past season. He’s batted just .252/.319/.313 in 259 plate appearances across those three seasons but has played second base, shortstop and third base in the Majors (plus a brief 13-inning cameo at first base).
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Alen Hanson Announces He Has Signed With Giants]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111020 2017-12-23T04:21:20Z 2017-12-23T01:58:34Z Infielder Alen Hanson has announced on his Instagram account that he has agreed to a deal with the Giants. It’s a minor-league pact, per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter); h/t SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo, via Twitter, for noticing Hanson’s post.

    Hanson, 25, was once viewed as one of the game’s hundred or so top prospects. The switch-hitter has continued to advance, first reaching the majors in 2016, but analysts have soured on his outlook along the way.

    In 2017, Hanson received his first extended run in the majors. He was claimed off waivers in early June by the White Sox from the Pirates after a rough start to the season. Over his 175 plate appearances in Chicago, Hanson produced a .231/.276/.375 batting line with four home runs and nine steals.

    The Sox non-tendered Hanson after the season, so clearly that rebuilding organization was not convinced of his future. But he did show quality baserunning ability while playing all over the diamond — second, short, third, and all three outfield positions — so perhaps there’s still a possibility that Hanson could turn into a useful utilityman if he can make some strides at the plate.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Ellsbury "Might" Consider Waiving No-Trade Clause For Giants]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110887 2017-12-21T15:04:39Z 2017-12-21T15:04:39Z
  • Jacoby Ellsbury “might consider” waiving his no-trade clause for a few teams, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, who suggests the Giants as a possibility in that regard. That’s probably music to the ears of many Yankees fans, though it’s worth noting that there’s no indication that the Giants would want any part of Ellsbury’s enormous contract. San Francisco has a need for a center fielder, but the Giants have their own luxury tax concerns. Even if the Yankees are willing to absorb a significant amount of the remaining $68MM+ that Ellsbury is owed, there’s no indication that the Giants view him as an upgrade. San Francisco could, for instance, simply sign a player in the Jarrod Dyson mold to a considerably shorter-term deal, knowing that he’d be a vastly superior defensive option with lesser financial risk.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giants Acquire Evan Longoria]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110768 2017-12-21T04:04:45Z 2017-12-21T04:04:44Z 10:04pm: The Associated Press reports that the Rays will pay $14.5MM to the Giants and are responsible to the $13MM that is yet owed to Span. Specifically, the Rays will pay $2MM to the Giants by the end of 2017 to cover Longoria’s $2MM trade bonus, and they’ll also pay another $3MM by Oct. 31, 2022. The remaining $9.5MM, per the AP report, will be deferred in payments from 2025-29.

    In essence, then, the Giants are adding $60.5MM to their long-term ledger in order to acquire the final five years of Longoria’s contract. Moreover, it doesn’t appear that San Francisco will take much of a hit at all in terms of the luxury tax. So, when paired with the shedding of Matt Moore’s contract, the move should afford the team ample opportunity to add at least one outfielder on a multi-year deal while remaining comfortably south of the $197MM luxury tax threshold.

    7:30pm: Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (via Twitter) that the Rays will send between $10MM and $15MM to the Giants to cover a portion of Longoria’s remaining $86MM as well as a $2MM trade bonus.

    11:51am: The Rays and Giants have agreed to a deal that will send Evan Longoria to San Francisco. Young infielder Christian Arroyo headlines the return, with veteran outfielder Denard Span going along with him to offset some of Longoria’s salary. Young pitchers Stephen Woods and Matt Krook are also bound for the Tampa Bay organization.

    LongoriaInsta

    In addition to taking on Span’s contract, Tampa Bay will ship an as-yet-unknown amount of money to the Giants. The 32-year-old Longoria is owed another $86MM between now and 2022, including a $5MM buyout on a $13MM option for the 2023 campaign. He will also receive a $2MM assignment bonus.

    Just how much of that will end up on the Giants’ books remains to be learned. The precise cash exchange has yet to be reported. Plus, there’s a bit of uncertainty surrounding Span’s future obligations. He is owed $9MM for 2018, along with a $4MM buyout of a $12MM mutual option for the ensuing season. Those obligations seem destined for San Francisco, but it’s not yet clear what’ll happen with the remaining $3MM signing bonus payment owed to Span in one month.

    For both organizations, there’s quite a bit of risk in a transaction involving Longoria. The Giants are taking on a high-priced player who struggled to a career-low .261/.313/.424 batting line in 2017 — adding to a collection of costly, aging veterans. But the Rays are parting with the long-time face of the franchise.

    If Longo can bounce back, the rewards could be significant. His days of top-level offensive production are likely in the past, but Longoria was a .273/.318/.521 hitter as recently as 2016, when he also swatted 36 home runs. Of course, that followed two less-than-excellent campaigns, so the overall trajectory of late has framed Longoria more as a solidly above-average hitter than an excellent one.

    That said, it’s important to bear in mind that Longoria has also long delivered value with his glove. Though Defensive Runs Saved had observed a downturn of late, it credited him with a substantial bounceback (+11 runs) in 2017. Despite the tepid offensive output, then, Longoria contributed 3.6 rWAR and 2.5 fWAR in 2017.

    In return for Longoria, the Rays will get not only salary relief but also some young talent. Arroyo is the chief piece here. He had a messy MLB debut and missed time due to injury in 2017, but is only 22 years of age and destroyed Triple-A pitching in a limited sample in the just-completed campaign. In the best-case scenario for the Rays, Arroyo may be able to compete for a job out of camp.

    Span’s inclusion is mostly about cost. Still, he remains a useful player even as he closes in on his 34th birthday. In 2017, Span slashed .272/.329/.427 with a dozen home runs over 542 plate appearances. Though he’s no longer really capable of regular time in center and has battled through core and hip injuries in recent years, Span ought to be capable of at least average work in a corner spot and has long been a productive baserunner.

    Padding the return here for the Rays are a pair of interesting young arms. As Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs tweets, both have quality stuff that still remains to be harnessed. The 22-year-old Woods just threw 110 innings of 2.95 ERA ball at the Class A level, with 9.2 K/9 against 5.2 BB/9. The righty is considered a relief prospect, as is the left-handed Krook, who will play the coming season at 23 years of age. Krook was unsigned as a first-round pick in 2013 and landed with the Giants as a fourth-rounder in 2016. Over his 91 1/3 frames at High-A in the just-competed season, Krook worked to a 5.12 ERA with 10.3 K/9 and 6.5 BB/9.

    For the Rays, this move may be a precursor to further action. The club has been in talks on closer Alex Colome all winter. Many anticipate the team will trade a starter, with star Chris Archer representing the most intriguing possibility. Replacing Longoria with Arroyo means there’s arguably still some excess infield depth to work from. And Span could either be used as a part-time player or sent elsewhere to realize further cost savings.

    The Giants, meanwhile, still have needs and will be looking to fill them without going over the luxury tax line. It seems this swap won’t impact their spending capacity too significantly, since the average annual values of the two contracts involved aren’t too far apart. But the move takes one outfielder out of the equation while filling the gap at third, possibly leaving the Giants still searching for both a center and corner piece.

    Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times first reported Longoria was going via trade (via Twitter). Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (links to Twitter) and Robert Murray of Fan Rag (via Twitter) reported the other pieces involved. Murray was first to note on Twitter that the sides had struck a deal, with Jon Morosi of MLB Network (Twitter link) and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link) mentioning the key names involved.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mutual Interest Between Giants, Jay Bruce]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110833 2017-12-20T22:10:35Z 2017-12-20T22:10:35Z After adding Evan Longoria, the Giants are eyeing a move for outfielder Jay Bruce, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter). That longstanding connection remains realistic in part because the move for Longoria does not significantly alter the team’s competitive balance tax considerations. The inclusion of Denard Span took care of that consideration and also opened a hole for a left-handed-hitting corner outfielder.

    The 30-year-old Bruce would represent a big upgrade in terms of power, as he swatted 36 home runs in 2017, though he has also been in terms of on-base percentage and defensive ratings in recent years. It’s not clear whether San Francisco will be willing to guarantee Bruce four years, per Olney.

    Meanwhile, Bruce’s agent, Matt Sosnick, tells KNBR 680’s Gary Radnich and Larry Krueger that his client is trying for a four-year pact and would “be thrilled” to end up in the Giants organization. Sosnick adds that the Astros and Giants were Bruce’s “top two” landing spots, but the Astros have made clear that there’s simply no fit in their organization at present. Sosnick says Bruce has been fielding offers but plans to see “how it shakes out with the Giants” before making any final decision on where to sign. That said, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that there’s no indication the sides are close to a deal at present.

    What’s clear, though, is that the Giants organization views the Longoria acquisition as the first of multiple steps in its offseason plan. President Brian Sabean and GM Bobby Evans held a conference call with reporters today (link via KNBR’s Kerry Crowley), voicing a focus on bolstering their lineup — specifically by adding a more well-rounded replacement for Span.

    “Our focus in addressing our outfield and our lineup, that remains an important part of our offseason,” said Evans. “It’s a work in progress, there’s no destination for us to speak to right now, we need to wait and see how things play out.”

    Sabean, meanwhile, suggested that the Giants now “…hope to add accordingly and we hope it will be as significant of a move as this one.” That the Giants have their eyes on bolstering an offense that ranked last in the Majors with an 83 wRC+ last season and batted just .249/.309/.380 on the season as a whole is hardly a surprise, though their avenues for improvement are a bit more limited now that Longoria is slotted in at the hot corner.

    Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik and Brandon Belt figure to round out the infield, with Buster Posey behind the dish and Hunter Pence’s bloated $18MM commitment occupying a corner outfield spot. Certainly, the Giants have room to add at least one outfielder to the mix, with center field standing out as a particularly thin area in terms of MLB-ready options to step into the fray. Bruce wouldn’t fit that bill, though the organization has also been linked to Billy Hamilton in trade rumblings and, speculatively, could pursue a similarly cost-effective/defensive-minded center field option if signing a corner bat is the preferred route.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Giants Interested In Trevor Cahill]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110729 2017-12-20T04:24:16Z 2017-12-20T04:24:16Z
  • Olney also reports that the Giants are among the clubs considering righty Trevor Cahill for a rotation spot (Twitter link). Cahill, 30 in March, was terrific early in the year before a shoulder injury torpedoed his season. Through his first 41 1/3 innings with the Padres, Cahill logged a 3.27 ERA with 11.1 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 0.65 HR/9 and a 60.2 percent ground-ball rate. Upon returning from that injury, however, he was rocked for a 6.54 ERA In 42 2/3 frames between the Padres and Royals. Cahill’s newfound ability to miss bats completely evaporated after being activated from the DL (7.6 K/9), and he was unable to find the strike zone with any consistency (5.9 BB/9).
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giants Re-Sign Nick Hundley]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110691 2017-12-19T17:49:58Z 2017-12-19T17:32:20Z The Giants have announced a new one-year deal with catcher Nick Hundley, as Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area was among those to tweet. He receives a $2.5MM guarantee in the pact, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports on Twitter.

    Hundey, 34, has spent the bulk of his career in the NL West. The ten-year MLB veteran will return for a second run with the Giants. With the move, San Francisco has lined up its reserve for star backstop Buster Posey.

    Though he has rarely received anything approaching everyday playing time, Hundley has long been a heavily utilized piece. He has averaged nearly 300 plate appearances annually, with a lifetime .249/.300/.406 batting line.

    For the most part, it was a typical season for Hundley in 2017. He strode to the plate 303 times and ended with a .244/.272/.418 output that was shy, but within range of, his career mean.

    San Francisco will hope for a bit more bat, though palatable offensive output is only a part of the value of the respected veteran. Hundley is valued for his presence in the clubhouse and with the pitching staff. While he has never fared well in framing ratings, he does otherwise grade as a sturdy option behind the dish.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Giants’ Interest In Evan Longoria]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110631 2017-12-18T18:43:46Z 2017-12-18T18:13:26Z Over the weekend, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that the Giants had some level of interest in Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, and following up on that report, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that the Giants have “keen interest” in swinging a deal for the Tampa Bay cornerstone. However, in order for any deal to work, Nightengale notes that the Giants would need the Rays to take the contract of either Hunter Pence or Denard Span back from the Giants in addition to whatever prospects San Francisco would send.

    Taking on either of those contracts would be a fairly tall order for the cost-conscious Rays. Pence is entering the final season of a five-year, $90MM contract and is owed $18.5MM in 2018 — more than the $13.5MM that Longoria is set to take home this coming season. Obviously, taking on Pence’s deal would still provide the Rays with long-term cost savings — Longoria is owed $86MM over the next five years — but the short-term complications in that scenario are readily apparent.

    Taking on Span’s deal would be closer to a cash-neutral proposition. He’s owed a $9MM salary plus a $4MM buyout in the coming year, though he will also reportedly be paid a deferred $3MM from his signing bonus come Jan. 20, 2018 as well, so even that scenario could require the Rays to take on some additional 2018 dollars.

    Of course, if the Rays are to take on any salary in return, even a portion of one of those two deals, that’d give GM Erik Neander, senior VP Chaim Bloom and the rest of the front office greater cause to increase their ask in terms of prospects from a Giants system that is thin on upper-tier talent. At his current price tag of five years and $86MM, the 32-year-old Longoria isn’t exactly teeming with surplus value, though he remains a quality regular option at the hot corner.

    Longoria hit .261/.313/.424 with 20 homers last season — the weakest offensive output of his career — but delivered excellent defensive marks at third base, leading to a season that was worth roughly three wins above replacement. The ever-durable Longoria has only missed 12 games since the start of the 2013 season and hasn’t been on the DL since 2012, though the downturn in his offensive profile in 2017 could create some cause for trepidation. Longoria’s ground-ball rate skyrocketed to 43.4 percent as his line-drive, fly-ball and hard-contact rates all fell. His infield-fly rate, meanwhile, trended upward for a fourth straight season.

    Whether Longoria’s 2017 downturn was an aberration or the beginning of a decline remains to be seen but may also be a moot point in this instance. The Rays likely don’t relish the idea of taking on a negative-value asset in order to trade a player that has been the face of their franchise for nearly a decade, but the Giants can’t take on the $16.7MM luxury tax hit would accompany Longoria’s contract without pushing perilously close to the $197MM tax barrier.

    San Francisco wants to avoid paying that tax for a fourth straight season and would love to reset its tax penalty — they’re currently set to pay a 50 percent tax on every dollar over that point this offseason and in subsequent years — making the Longoria scenario seem to be something of a reach.

    If the Rays plan to trade Longoria at all, however, this would be the offseason to do it. He’ll gain 10-and-5 rights early in the 2018 season, which would provide him full veto power over any proposed trade.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Giants Hire Matt Buschmann For Player Development Role]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110583 2017-12-18T03:21:52Z 2017-12-18T03:21:52Z
  • The Giants announced their player development staff for the upcoming season, including the hiring of former right-hander Matt Buschmann in one of five Assistant Director Of Player Development positions (Buschmann will focus on run prevention).  Originally a 15th-round pick for the Padres in the 2006 draft, Buschmann spent 11 seasons in pro ball, though he didn’t pitch in 2017 after being released from his minor league deal with the Blue Jays in early April.  Buschmann’s career did include a brief taste of the majors, appearing in three games (4 1/3 IP) for the Diamondbacks in April 2016.  We at MLBTR wish Buschmann the best as he embarks on his post-playing career.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Giants Hire Travis Ishikawa As Arizona League Hitting Coach]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110585 2017-12-18T02:57:22Z 2017-12-18T02:57:22Z The Giants announced on Friday that Travis Ishikawa will become the new hitting coach for one of the franchise’s two Arizona League rookie ball affiliates.  The hiring seemingly brings an official end to Ishikawa’s 15-year playing career — he didn’t play last season after being granted free agency following the 2016 campaign.

    Ishikawa was originally a 21st-round pick for the Giants in the 2002 draft, and though he suited up for five other teams over the course of his career, only two of his 15 seasons were spent entirely outside of the Giants organization.  That long tenure in San Francisco earned him World Series rings in 2010 and 2014, with Ishikawa playing a particularly notable role in the latter championship year.  Ishikawa’s walkoff homer in Game 5 of the 2014 NLCS clinched the series for the Giants and sent them back to the Fall Classic; it was just the fourth time in history that a league championship series had ended on a home run.

    Appearing in parts of eight MLB seasons, Ishikawa produced a .255/.321/.391 slash line and 23 homers over 1050 career plate appearances with the Giants, Pirates, Brewers, Orioles, and Yankees.  His strong reputation as a defensive first baseman is borne out in advanced metrics, with a 13.2 UZR/150 and +17 Defensive Runs Saved over his career.

    We at MLBTR wish Ishikawa a happy retirement from playing, and wish him all the best as he embarks on his new career in coaching.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Giants Showed Interest In Maikel Franco At Winter Meetings]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110543 2017-12-17T05:21:03Z 2017-12-17T05:21:03Z
  • The Giants expressed some interest in Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco at the Winter Meetings, per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia (Twitter link). It’s unclear, though, whether the two sides engaged in any substantive talks. The 25-year-old Franco’s value clearly isn’t at its peak, as he has fallen flat since a terrific 80-game debut in 2015. He’s now coming off a season in which he hit a woeful .230/.281/.409 in 623 plate appearances. Franco will try to rebound in 2018, his first of four potential arbitration years (he’ll earn a projected $3.6MM).
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Giants Interested In Evan Longoria]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110531 2017-12-17T01:21:29Z 2017-12-17T01:18:02Z The Astros and Phillies have interest in Rays right-hander Chris Archer, joining a slew of previously reported clubs, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The Rays clearly wouldn’t have any trouble finding a taker for Archer, thanks to his track record, age (29) and team-friendly contract (four years, $34MM). Teammate and face of the franchise Evan Longoria, the Rays’ longtime third baseman, is three years older than Archer and costs far more (a guaranteed $86MM over a half-decade). But that doesn’t seem to be a prohibitive price tag, as the three-time All-Star is drawing some interest from the division-rival Yankees as well as the Giants, Mets and previously reported Cardinals, according to Topkin.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Acquire Matt Moore]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110371 2017-12-16T03:05:38Z 2017-12-16T02:24:58Z The Rangers have officially acquired lefty Matt Moore from the Giants. Texas will also add $750K of international bonus pool spending capacity while shipping minor-league righties Sam Wolff and Israel Cruz to San Francisco.

    "Sep

    With the move, the Giants have cut loose a pitcher that was slated to open the season as part of the organization’s rotation. As a peak at the club’s depth chart shows, the organization doesn’t exactly have an established player ready to step in, though there surely are options. Chris Stratton and Ty Blach will likely enter camp as the favorites to round out the starting unit, with pitchers such as Tyler Beede, Andrew Suarez, and Joan Gregorio also in the picture in the near future.

    GM Bobby Evans says that his organization will reallocate Moore’s $9MM salary to upgrade elsewhere. (H/t Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area, via Twitter.) Certainly, the organization has been looking to add power bats all offseason long, and it’s evident now that the goal is to do so without running afoul of the $197MM luxury tax line. Evans says the club’s “focus remains to strengthen our outfield defense and our everyday lineup.” Of course, there are limits to what kind of asset can be had for the level of payroll capacity that was freed with this trade, though further dealing could open more space.

    For the Rangers, Moore will fill out a southpaw-heavy starting staff — now and, perhaps, in 2019, as he can be kept at a $10MM price (or turned onto the open market with a $750K buyout). The organization has aggressively pursued pitching this offseason, with this acquisition following earlier moves that brought in Mike Minor, Doug Fister, Chris Martin, and Tony BarnetteClick here to see the updated depth chart after the move. While the Rangers have given some indication of pursuing a higher-end rotation option, at this point the staff seems mostly set unless a new opportunity arises and the organization finds a way to make all the pieces fit.

    In Moore, they’ll add a hurler who seemed on his way to establishing himself as a top-end starter before Tommy John surgery intervened. Moore looked to rebound somewhat in 2016, the year in which he was shipped from the Rays to the Giants in a deadline deal that sent Matt Duffy and prospects to Tampa Bay. The southpaw ended the year with a 4.08 ERA over 198 1/3 innings, with 8.1 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9.

    The Giants’ belief at that point was surely that Moore would at least continue to provide quite a few solid innings, with perhaps some hope that he’d make yet further strides. But his 2017 follow-up effort fell flat, as Moore’s velocity trended down and his swinging-strike rate sat at a full-season-low 8.6% rate. He ended the year with 174 1/3 frames of 5.52 ERA ball. Though he managed a fairly typical 7.6 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9, Moore was harmed by a 1.39 HR/9 rate.

    While the primary motivation here is likely financial, the Giants will add two arms in the process. The 26-year-old Wolff had some success upon moving to the bullpen in 2017, posting a cumulative 2.93 ERA with 12.3 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 over 43 innings split about evenly between Double-A and Triple-A. That said, he is expected to miss significant time due to injury in 2017, per ESPN.com’s Keith Law (via Twitter). Cruz, 20, has yet to advance past the Rookie ball level, where he struggled to a 5.91 ERA but did manage 11.8 K/9 against 4.5 BB/9 in 32 innings in 2017.

    John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reported the deal (Twitter link). Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area (via Twitter), ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter), and Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Twitter) all added components of the return. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (via Twitter) reported the amount of international bonus pool capacity.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giants Nearing Trade To Clear Payroll Space]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110364 2017-12-16T00:58:11Z 2017-12-15T23:55:30Z 6:52pm: Pence is not in the deal that will send Moore to the Rangers, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Shea and colleague Henry Schulman (Twitter links) add that, while Pence is not currently being dealt and has not been asked to waive his no-trade clause, it’s likely the Giants are trying to move him.

    5:55pm: The Giants are nearing a significant swap that will open up payroll space, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). The pact will involve either or both of lefty Matt Moore and outfielder Hunter Pence.

    Details of the arrangement — including the prospective trade partner — aren’t yet known. But Shea says a deal is in place pending physicals, so it certainly appears that a move of some kind is imminent.

    While the Giants embarked upon a major effort to land high-priced star Giancarlo Stanton earlier in the offseason, there have been rumblings that the club may shift gears given how things have shaken out thus far. While there’s still no reason to believe that a rebuilding effort is afoot, the Giants may attempt the difficult task of improving their competitiveness without going past the luxury tax line in 2018.

    Moore, 28, is owed just $9MM this year and can be controlled for 2019 through a $10MM club option (otherwise he’ll be owed a $750K buyout). That’s not the bargain it once seemed likely to be, but sill seems a reasonable price for a youthful pitcher. While he struggled to a 5.39 ERA in 2017, Moore’s peripherals were within his usual range, he was much more effective in 2016, and he has been at full health of late.

    The respected Pence, meanwhile, fell off drastically in 2017 after a long run of well-above-average production at the plate. Over 539 plate appearances, Pence managed only a .260/.315/.385 slash line. He is set to earn a hefty $18.5MM in the final season of his contract, which seems a fair bit more than he’d command on the open market. Of course, there’s still value in a hard-working player who might be seen as a rebound candidate. But it’s important to note that Pence enjoys full no-trade rights and has become a Bay Area fixture.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Giants Notes: Avisail, Coaches, Ramos, Hamilton]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110211 2017-12-14T22:42:23Z 2017-12-14T22:42:23Z Here’s the latest out of San Francisco…

    • The Giants “checked in” on Avisail Garcia as part of their search for outfield help, NBCSports.com’s Alex Pavlovic reports.  The White Sox outfielder is coming off a breakout season, and he’d fit the Giants’ needs as a right-handed hitter who comes at a relatively inexpensive price (arbitration-controlled through 2019).  Garcia and Jose Abreu stand out as Chicago’s two biggest remaining veteran trade chips.
    • Also from Pavlovic’s item, he reports that the Giants were going to install Phil Nevin as their new bench coach if Hensley Muelens had been hired as the Yankees’ new manager.  Once New York hired Aaron Boone, Nevin ended up being the one leaving for the pinstripes, taking a job as the Yankees’ new third base coach.  Some Giants officials feel Meulens will only be with the team for another season, as another club will hire him away for a managerial position.
    • Talks between the Giants and Reds about Billy Hamilton failed to materialize since the Giants balked at moving Heliot Ramos, The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly reports.  Ramos has been a hot commodity this winter, as reportedly just about every team the Giants have engaged with in trade talks has asked about the 2017 first-rounder.  While the Reds would have to drop their asking price, Baggarly doesn’t think San Francisco has given up on pursuing Hamilton, as an improved outfield defense would go a long way towards helping the Giants again become competitive.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Nick Hundley Expects To Re-Sign With Giants]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110033 2017-12-14T05:49:15Z 2017-12-14T05:49:15Z
  • Free agent catcher Nick Hundley told Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle he’s “optimistic” that he’ll re-sign with the Giants (Twitter link). Hundley, 34, inked a $2MM deal to serve as Buster Posey’s backup last winter and proceeded to hit .244/.272/.418 in 303 in plate appearances. He was a mixed bag defensively, throwing 29 percent of would-be base stealers but earning minus marks as a pitch framer.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Trade Chatter: Nats, Rays, Fulmer, Reds, Jays, Braves, Giants, Yelich, Phils]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109911 2017-12-14T03:45:12Z 2017-12-14T03:44:39Z Looking to improve an already enviable rotation, the Nationals have Rays right-handers Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi on their radar, Jon Heyman of FanRag reports (via Twitter). Either would cost far less in terms of salary than free agent Jake Arrieta will, and Heyman notes that the Nats are unsure if they’d be able to afford Arrieta. Heyman also points to Diamondbacks righty Zack Greinke as a possibility for the Nats; however, he’s not exactly cheap, with $138.5MM coming his way through 2021.

    More on the trade front:

    • The Tigers “will only entertain lopsided offers” for righty Michael Fulmer, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). A trade involving the highly coveted 24-year-old doesn’t look likely, then.
    • The Blue Jays are interested in Reds outfielders Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall, per reports from Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (via Twitter) and Jays Journal. The Braves also have interest in the 29-year-old Duvall, tweets Heyman. Duvall, a 30-home run hitter in each of the previous two seasons, is controllable for the next four years. He won’t be arbitration eligible until next winter.
    • The Giants’ own interest in Hamilton continues, but Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that the chatter with the Reds has “faded significantly” of late. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer adds on Twitter that the Giants are the most serious suitors for Hamilton, but they’re “at a bit of a standoff” with the Reds. San Francisco still has interest in free agent Jay Bruce, per Rosenthal, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that Bruce is the top name on San Francisco’s “wish list.” Still, the club has not made him an offer to this point.
    • It’s up in the air whether the Marlins will trade center fielder Christian Yelich. Either way, the Phillies will continue to monitor his availability, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia relays. Meanwhile, they’ve “been aggressive” in shopping shortstop Freddy Galvis, according to Salisbury, who adds (via Twitter) that the Angels “really liked” second baseman Cesar Hernandez before they acquired Ian Kinsler. The Halos didn’t want to meet the Phillies’ asking price for Hernandez, however.
    • The Red Sox asked about Marcell Ozuna before the Cardinals acquired him, but they did not have the sort of pitching assets the Marlins were for, Dombrowski told reporters including the Globe’s Peter Abraham (Twitter link.) The Indians also inquired about Ozuna, Paul Hoynes of cleveland.com writes.
    • In addition to Chase Headley, the Padres are dangling infielder Yangervis Solarte in chatter with rival organizations, Heyman reports on Twitter. Solarte, 30, is controllable for the next three years at affordable costs (a guaranteed $4MM in 2018 and then club options totaling $13.5MM for 2019-20).
    • The Blue Jays were another team with interest in Kinsler before Wednesday’s trade, Nicholson-Smith tweets. Toronto was on Kinsler’s 10-team no-trade list, so it’s unclear how open he’d have been to going there.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giants Interested In Eduardo Nunez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109994 2017-12-14T01:46:20Z 2017-12-14T01:46:20Z
  • A variety of organizations are still looking at versatile infielder Eduardo Nunez. Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets that the Red SoxBlue Jays, and “possibly” the Yankees are among the suitors. Boston president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski acknowledged the interest, as Alex Speier of the Boston Globe was among those to tweet. The Giants have some ongoing involvement, too, but Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that San Francisco is “a longshot” to make a deal.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Angels, Giants, Mets Among Teams Showing Interest In Todd Frazier]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109879 2017-12-13T20:30:46Z 2017-12-13T20:30:46Z As many as 10 teams have reached out to Todd Frazier’s camp, including the Angels, Giants and Mets, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (all links to Sherman on Twitter). Frazier isn’t a top priority for the Yankees at present, though they could circle back around to him depending on how the rest of their moves play out. He was linked to the Red Sox earlier today as well.

    The 31-year-old Frazier (32 in February), split the 2017 season between the White Sox and Yankees, hitting a combined .213/.344/.428 with 27 homers in 576 plate appearances. Though Frazier’s played just 78 innings at first base since Opening Day 2016, he does come with 740 career innings at the position and is drawing interest at both corner infield spots, per Sherman. More notably, it seems that his frequent re-positioning in defensive shifts created a belief among some teams that Frazier could even play an adequate second base if needed, per the report.

    Frazier’s batting average has plummeted in recent years, though that’s due largely to a massive uptick in infield flies than any sort of erosion in contact skills. Frazier whiffed at a 21.7 percent rate last season, which is hardly outlandish in today’s offensive climate. However, he also popped out 31 times — fifth most in baseball — and his 109 infield flies dating back to the 2015 season are far and away the most in baseball.

    That said, Frazier’s overall approach at the plate also came with some positive indicators. His 25 percent chase rate (swings outside the strike zone), far and away the lowest of his career, tied him for the 26th-best mark among big league hitters. He also made contact at a career-high 76.9 percent clip and walked in a career-best 14.4 percent of his plate appearances. Those gains in plate discipline helped to offset his lack of contact and left his overall offensive output at healthy levels (105 OPS+, 108 wRC+).

    Moving Frazier around the diamond certainly enhances his appeal, though it also should be emphasized that he still draws strong marks as a defender at third base. Though he had an abnormally poor year in that regard in 2016, Defensive Runs Saved (+10) and Ultimate Zone Rating (+6.7) both felt his defense was among the best in the game. Only Nolan Arenado ranked above Frazier in both DRS and UZR this past season.

    The Giants have no clear answer at third base, with Pablo Sandoval and prospects Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones representing the top internal options at the moment. San Francisco third basemen combined to post a putrid .216/.268/.300 batting line in 2017, so it wouldn’t take much to raise the bar from an offensive standpoint. The Angels, meanwhile, have Luis Valbuena as an option at the hot corner, but Frazier would seem to represent a more palatable option there and could help out around the infield as needed.

    As for the Mets, David Wright’s longstanding health concerns and T.J. Rivera’s Tommy John surgery have combined with the inexperience of Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith to create a sizable amount of uncertainty. The team does have Asdrubal Cabrera as an option to bounce around the infield, and bringing in Frazier as a more regular option at third base could free him up to take some reps at second base.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Giants Eyeing Backup Catchers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109824 2017-12-13T16:38:40Z 2017-12-13T16:38:40Z
  • Rosenthal also notes within that piece that the Giants, Blue Jays, Rangers and Twins are all looking for backup catchers as well. Any from that bunch could stand out as a reasonable landing spot for Avila, though he’s stated that his preference is to play for a contender even if it comes at the expense of some playing time. Jonathan Lucroy is the biggest name on the catching market but probably doesn’t wish to serve as a backup option; Rene Rivera, Nick Hundley and Chris Stewart are among the other available catchers.

    [SOURCE LINK]
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[J.D. Martinez Rumors: Wednesday]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109802 2017-12-13T15:57:00Z 2017-12-13T15:57:00Z We haven’t heard an immense amount of chatter to this point on J.D. Martinez, the top free agent slugger, but that could well change today. The power-hitting outfielder is set to appear at the Winter Meetings to sit down with a few possible suitors, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported (via Twitter) yesterday. Here’s the latest chatter:

    • We learned yesterday that the Red Sox will get face-to-face time with Martinez and agent Scott Boras, as Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweeted. Indeed, it seems that Martinez is a top priority for Boston, though adding him would presumably mean finding a deal for center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
    • The Diamondbacks are also slated to meet with Martinez, who starred there after a midseason trade, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Whether the Arizona organization can find the cash to make that happen remains to be seen, but it does seem the club’s discussion of Zack Greinke in trades is likely related.
    • While the Giants are also a rumored suitor, though GM Bobby Evans would say only that the team will “maybe” be among those meeting with Martinez, as Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic tweeted yesterday. As Baggarly further explains, though, in a subscription piece, there are ongoing concerns internally that blowing past the luxury line would not be wise. Certainly, there’s no clear path to adding Martinez (or any other high-priced free agents) without doing so.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Giants Notes: Span, Marlins, Ramos, Luxury Tax]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109768 2017-12-13T05:47:42Z 2017-12-13T05:47:42Z
  • The Giants are believed to have offered Denard Span as one of the three players going to the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.  Span would have helped fill the hole in Miami’s outfield and his $11MM salary would’ve helped the Giants offset a small portion of Stanton’s enormous contract.  The Giants continue to be linked to the Marlins in talks for Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, though Span wouldn’t be part of those potential trades given the far different salary parameters involved.  It is fair to wonder whether Span will be wearing a different uniform in 2018, given how the Giants are looking to thoroughly upgrade their outfield both offensively and defensively.  Also in the piece, Giants GM Bobby Evans said that teams have been asking about San Francisco’s top prospects and younger players, including right-hander Chris Stratton.
  • Giants prospect Heliot Ramos is being asked about in almost every trade proposal, The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly writes.  Ramos, 17 ,was the 19th overall pick of the 2017 amateur draft and he has already turned a lot of heads in his brief pro career.
  • Also from Baggarly, Bobby Evans said that teams have approached the Giants about trades that would see the Giants send a large-salaried player (and some prospects) elsewhere in what would essentially be a case of the other club buying minor league talent.  Evans said he isn’t considering those types of deals at this time, though Baggarly also writes that the Giants may be increasingly keen on getting under the luxury tax threshold this winter in order to position themselves for larger spending in the future.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Reds, Giants Don't Appear Close On Billy Hamilton Trade]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109697 2017-12-13T00:18:46Z 2017-12-13T00:13:56Z
  • The Giants made a “semi” strong trade offer to the Reds for Billy Hamilton, a source tells MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, though it doesn’t look like anything is close to being completed.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Carlos Gonzalez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109628 2017-12-12T20:52:51Z 2017-12-12T20:47:22Z 2:47pm: Other clubs with some level of interest include the Astros, Orioles, and Rockies, per MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (via Twitter). Colorado GM Jeff Bridich has previously indicated a desire to “continue conversations” with CarGo, as Nick Groke of the Denver Post tweeted yesterday, though he did not commit to anything beyond that.

    12:46pm: Though Carlos Gonzalez hasn’t drawn a huge amount of headlines coming off a down season in the final campaign of his seven-year deal with the Rockies, he’s generating a fair bit of interest from clubs looking to take a flyer on the former MVP candidate, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. Gonzalez is likely to sign a short-term deal to rebuild his value, and Crasnick notes that the A’s, Blue Jays, Rays, Giants and Royals are among the clubs that are “believed” to be keeping tabs on him.

    Gonzalez, 32, struggled to a ghastly .221/.299/.338 slash in the season’s first half before erupting with a .314/.390/.531 slash, 21 doubles and eight homers in the second half. That surge was fueled largely by a mammoth spike in CarGo’s BABIP (.390 following the All-Star break). While that level isn’t sustainable over a full season, the fact that Gonzalez’s hard-contact rate spiked by nearly eight percent from the first half to the second half suggests that there was more than mere good fortune at play in his late rebound.

    Defensively, Gonzalez hasn’t graded out as an elite right fielder by any means in recent years, but he’s been a bit above average per Defensive Runs Saved and a bit below average in the estimation of Ultimate Zone Rating. Statcast rated him one out above average in the outfield this past season.

    Of the teams listed, the A’s are a bit of a surprise, given their desire to add a controllable right-handed-hitting corner bat. However, they do have outfield space to spare, and Gonzalez could be a nice value play for them on a short-term deal. From a hitter’s standpoint, the Coliseum isn’t necessarily a great place to go try to put up big numbers, though Gonzalez is plenty familiar with the setting from his days in Oakland early in his career.

    The Rays are an even more curious fit given their payroll crunch, though if the team sheds a significant amount of salary and looks to rebuild, they could reallocate some resources to a one-year pact for Gonzalez with the intent to flip him at the nonwaiver deadline. It’s a similar story in Kansas City, where they have space in the outfield but are reportedly on the path to a rebuild.

    The Jays have been eyeing left-handed bats and some outfield help, so there’s certainly a reasonable match there. San Francisco, of course, just missed out on Giancarlo Stanton and will be looking to bolster its offense in other manners now. Depending on the price point at which Gonzalez and agent Scott Boras ultimately settle, other teams could well jump into the mix and hope to sign the Gonzalez that hit 65 homers from 2015-16 as opposed to the one that struggled in 2017 and 2014.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Billy Hamilton]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109653 2017-12-12T20:34:24Z 2017-12-12T20:28:45Z There’s significant enough interest in Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton that it’s possible a deal could come together during the Winter Meetings, according to a report from Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer. In particular, the Giants are holding “serious discussions” with Cincinnati.

    The Giants have long been connected to Hamilton, with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweeting earlier today they are the strongest contender while noting the Reds are interested in clearing room for Jesse Winker in the outfield. But Buchanan stresses they are not the only team still involved in talks. Hamilton is said to be the Reds player generating the most trade interest, with numerous other teams — including the Rangers — also still showing real interest.

    Hamilton, of course, is a burner on the bases and top-quality up-the-middle defender. He also has not yet established himself at the plate at the game’s highest level, though. MLBTR recently broke down Hamilton’s trade candidacy in full at this link.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[6 To 8 Teams Interested In Marcell Ozuna]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109506 2017-12-12T20:27:46Z 2017-12-12T16:42:00Z TODAY: The Rockies and Blue Jays are also among the interested teams, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).

    YESTERDAY, 7:45pm: The Marlins are telling teams Ozuna would be easier to acquire than outfield mate Christian Yelich, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets. That’s not surprising, as the 26-year-old Yelich is controllable by way of a team-friendly contract through 2022 and carries a more consistent track record than Ozuna.

    7:01pm: Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna is drawing interest from six to eight clubs, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). Along with the Cardinals, whose interest was already known entering Monday, the Giants and Nationals are among the teams in on Ozuna, per Frisaro. The Athletics are also still considering Ozuna, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Slussser first reported their interest in Ozuna in early November.

    Two of these clubs – the Cardinals and Giants – have spent a large portion of the offseason engaging with the Marlins about right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, and they even had deals in place to land the 2017 NL MVP. But Stanton nixed those trades before accepting a deal to the Yankees over the weekend, sending the Cards and Giants scrambling for other options. Ozuna makes for an appealing Plan B, then, as he’s coming off a season in which he slashed a career-best .312/.376/.548 with 37 home runs and a 4.8 fWAR over 679 plate appearances.

    In terms of production, last year was an outlier for Ozuna relative to the rest of his career – which began when he debuted in 2013 – but he has still accounted for at least 2.5 fWAR in three of four full seasons. At worst, Ozuna seems to be a solid regular, and the 27-year-old doesn’t come with an onerous, Stanton-esque contract. He’s controllable for two more years via arbitration and will earn a projected $10.9MM in 2018. That’s certainly an affordable figure, though it should also help the Marlins land a quality return for him. They’re obviously educated on both the Cardinals’ and Giants’ farm systems thanks to the Stanton talks.

    The Nationals, meanwhile, share a division with the Marlins, but that shouldn’t necessarily serve as a deterrent to a payroll-cutting Miami team whose primary goal in an Ozuna trade should be to bolster its weak system. Washington’s prospect pool is only the majors’ 18th best, per Baseball America (the outlet ranks the Cards’ 13th and the Giants’ 27th), but it seems that’s primarily because of a lack of depth. The top of the Nationals’ system is impressive, according to BA, and that could help pave the way for an Ozuna swap.

    With the Nationals at risk of losing Bryce Harper to free agency in a year, Ozuna might somewhat help cover for his potential exit in 2019. In the meantime, the Nats could perhaps use a left fielder to complement Harper in right and Adam Eaton in center. They do, however, have other in-house options in Michael A. Taylor and Brian Goodwin. Taylor was particularly strong in 2017, yet the Nats may not be content with him functioning as a regular in 2018, if their interest in Ozuna is any indication.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Giants Notes: Bruce, Duggar, McCutchen, Bullpen]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109564 2017-12-12T11:00:34Z 2017-12-12T11:00:34Z
  • The Giants have some level of interest in Jay Bruce, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.  The slugger is known to be on the target list for at least four other teams, though it remains to be seen if the bidding will be high enough for Bruce to land his desired five-year contract.  A right-handed bat would be a better fit within San Francisco’s heavily left-handed lineup, though Bruce would check a couple of boxes for the Giants as a power hitter and defensively-capable right fielder.
  • From that same Schulman piece, the Giants are impressed enough with prospect Steven Duggar that “it does affect how we view addressing that [center field] need this offseason,” GM Bobby Evans said.  “It does give us a mindset more short term.”  This would seem to lessen the chance that the Giants acquire names like Lorenzo Cain or Billy Hamilton, who have been both been linked to the team in rumors.  Andrew McCutchen has also been mentioned as a possibility for the Giants, yet Schulman writes that “he is not viewed as a priority,” even though the Pirates outfielder is only under contract through the 2018 season and would seem to fit as a short-term answer.  Duggar is expected to start the season in Triple-A but would seem to be on pace for a big league debut next year and potentially a regular role by 2019.
  • A big bat for third base or the corner outfield is the priority for the Giants at the Winter Meetings, Schulman tweets, and the team may have to sacrifice defense in order to land that type of hitter.  San Francisco also wants to address the bullpen, though that will be dealt with later in the offseason.
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