San Francisco Giants – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-11-12T19:22:39Z WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Bryce Harper, Manny Machado]]> 2018-11-09T05:06:25Z 2018-11-09T05:06:25Z We took a look yesterday at some of the early chatter on Bryce Harper. While the early chatter has been less voluminous with regard to fellow superstar Manny Machado, there’s little doubt that he will have his moment as well. As the stage-setting GM Meetings draw to a close, let’s check in on some additional notes on the market’s most-hyped free agents.

  • Some eyebrows raised this evening when it was observed that the White Sox had unveiled a stage set at Chicago’s United Center featuring Bryce Harper’s name. As Chris Cwik of Yahoo Sports explains, there’s no reason to think this was the beginning of the roll-out of a signing; our readers from the south side can safely inform friends and neighbors that there’s nothing imminent. More likely, it’s part of a recruiting pitch for the popular young free agent, who is in Chicago today. The news shouldn’t be blown out of proportion, clearly, but that doesn’t mean it’s of no consequence. Evidently, the White Sox are serious enough pursuers that they have secured an in-person visit and are putting resources into a pitch. That certainly dovetails with recent reports and public statements from the organization indicating that the club is looking to spend. It also bodes well for Harper’s market that a team such as the White Sox is making a run at him even after he reportedly turned down a $300MM offer to remain in D.C.
  • As for the cross-town Cubs, all indications remain that they do not see themselves as a contender for Harper’s services, as’s Jesse Rogers reiterates on Twitter. As Rogers puts it, if the club is “playing possum,” it’s “doing a heck of a job” at selling the act.
  • It remains to be seen what stance the Giants will take with regard to Harper, particularly as Farhan Zaidi settles into his new digs atop the club’s baseball operations department. As John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports, though, agent Scott Boras certainly seems to see San Francisco as a viable landing spot for his client. Harper, he says, views the organization fondly — and would not only deliver value on the field, but off of it. As for the club’s viewpoint, it’s tough to say whether Harper will be deemed a sensible target. CEO Larry Baer said “there’s no restrictions” for his new top baseball decisionmaker; whether or not to join the bidding on Harper (or other hyper-expensive free agents) is “a judgment [Zaidi] is going to need to make.”
  • Of course, as Shea highlights, and Baer himself noted, that sort of outlay did not fit the M.O. of either of Zaidi’s prior two ballclubs — even those pesky division rivals to the south. Speaking of the Dodgers, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times wrote recently that Harper is a player worthy of breaking the mold (and the bank) to acquire. Beyond his qualities as a ballplayer, Hernandez argues that Harper has the star power — and the right kind of attitude — to thrive in Los Angeles.
  • Interestingly, the Cardinals, per Jon Heyman of Fancred, “do not seem interested” in Machado despite seemingly lining up from the perspective of roster need. But there has been quite a lot of discussion in St. Louis circles as to whether Harper might be a target. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch laid out the state of affairs recently. The Cards, he says, are seen as “a factor” in the market for Harper. While some would write the St. Louis organization off due to a lack of monster contracts on their ledger, it’s worth bearing in mind that the club has entered significant bids for players such as Jason Heyward (see here) and David Price (see here) in recent seasons, and also sought to acquire Giancarlo Stanton last winter.
  • And what of the Yankees? The situation hasn’t really changed since last we checked in, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post takes a crack at thinking through how things may play out. There’s little indication at present that the New York club has any real intention of going for Harper. But Machado makes for a much more intriguing roster fit, and could prove particularly tantalizing.
Steve Adams <![CDATA[Early Rumors On The Bryce Harper Market]]> 2018-11-08T04:44:14Z 2018-11-08T04:38:39Z Bryce Harper’s free agency — or, as agent Scott Boras termed at the GM Meetings today, “Harper’s Bazaar” — will be one of the most fascinating storylines the 2018-19 offseason has to offer. Boras has already made clear that he’ll be marketing Harper as a future Hall of Famer, given that the few players who’ve reached Harper’s level of production prior to the age of 26 are virtually all enshrined in Cooperstown. Boras doubled down on that thinking today when holding court with upwards of 100 reporters (link, with video, via SNY’s Scott Thompson).

Boras tabbed Harper as a “generational” and “iconic” player — citing the Nationals’ stark increase in attendance, television ratings and overall franchise value since Harper joined the team. While Harper’s presence on the Nats is realistically one of the myriad factors that have effected those changes, those types of milestones could very well carry more weight with some franchise owners than with baseball operations leaders.

As we settle in for the beginning of Harper’s Bazaar — which, in case you were wondering, is “fashionable,” “elite,” “historical” and “has inspirations that deal with great shoes and great hair,” according to Boras — here’s the latest chatter on his market…

  • Fancred’s Jon Heyman spoke with Boras this morning, and while the agent wouldn’t tip his hand much in terms of total asking price, he did suggest that players with Harper’s level of accolades at this age often play until they’re 40. That, Heyman notes, could indicate that Boras is seeking a deal as long as 14 years in length for the 26-year-old Harper. The agent also pointed out that the current record average annual value — Zack Greinke’s $34.4MM — went to “a 32-year-old pitcher.” None of that, of course, offers a clear indication as to what Boras is thinking as a viable goal for Harper, though that’s perhaps largely by design. MLBTR estimated a 14-year contract for Harper in our annual Top 50 Free Agents rankings — albeit at a considerably lower annual value than that of Greinke.
  • The Nationals’ reported offer to Harper near the end of the season, said to be valued at around a $300MM guarantee, “wasn’t close” to getting the job done, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Boras spoke today about the immense surplus value the Nats reaped from Harper’s pre-arbitration and arbitration seasons and suggested that comparisons to Giancarlo Stanton’s 13-year, $325MM deal have “nothing to do with Bryce Harper.” While many fans grow weary of Boras’ colorful quotes, it’s also a valid point that an extension signed two years prior to a fellow star-caliber player’s free agency should carry much influence over Harper’s eventual contract. Extensions for Stanton and fellow superstar Jose Altuve ($30MM annual value) were signed without the benefit of open-market bidding, Boras noted, and thus shouldn’t be viewed as comparables when looking at Harper’s earning power.
  • Heyman further tweets that the Nats’ ~$300MM is currently “off the table,” though the team has still not ruled out signing Harper and would welcome the opportunity for further negotiations — which Boras will surely oblige.
  • Both ESPN’s Buster Olney and SNY’s Andy Martino throw cold water on the notion of Harper landing with the Yankees. Olney tweets that a source has “emphatically” told him that Harper to the Yankees is simply “not happening,” while Martino suggests that the Yankees “are not excited enough about Harper” to force the ensuing outfield logjam that would come with signing him (Twitter link, with video).
  • USA Today’s Bob Nightengale writes that many executives and agents throughout the industry feel that Harper will ultimately land with the Phillies, though that opinion appears largely predicated on a belief that the Yankees (and not the Phillies) will ultimately sign Manny Machado — a scenario that is entirely plausible but is by no means a given at this stage of the offseason. It’s always interesting to hear where the popular industry opinion lies at a given time, though it’s often best taken with a grain of salt; there were similar columns written regarding the Yankees and Eric Hosmer this time a year ago, for instance.
  • The Giants have been an oft-suggested landing spot for Harper over the past several seasons, but Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area cites multiple sources in calling the interest “overblown.” One Giants exec tells Pavlovic that the team is “shocked” to be so frequently connected to Harper, adding that the Giants would only be in play for the outfielder if he “really, really” wanted to be a Giant and spurned larger offers elsewhere.
Steve Adams <![CDATA[Giants Name Farhan Zaidi President Of Baseball Operations]]> 2018-11-07T04:50:16Z 2018-11-07T04:40:05Z 10:40pm: Zaidi’s contract is a five-year deal, tweets Baggarly.

9:39pm: The Giants have formally announced Zaidi’s hiring.

“I am delighted to return to the Bay Area and to join one of the most storied franchises in the game,” Zaidi said in a statement. “I have watched the Giants from afar and I have great respect for the organization’s culture and many accomplishments.  I am excited about this new opportunity and I’m looking forward to getting right to work.”

9:30pm: Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic tweets that Zaidi will be formally introduced at a press conference at 1pm PT tomorrow afternoon.

8:41pm: Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi has accepted an offer from the division-rival Giants to become their head of baseball operations, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).’s Jon Morosi reported earlier today that the Giants had offered the title of president of baseball operations.

Farhan Zaidi | Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The addition of Zaidi brings an analytical/data-oriented approach to the Giants organization and marks a departure from the team’s longstanding pairing of Brian Sabean — who remains with the organization in an advisory role — and recently dismissed general manager Bobby Evans. That’s not to say that the Giants are completely without an analytics department, but they did come with the reputation of carrying a more traditional scouting-focused front office group. Under Zaidi, an MIT grad with a Ph.D in economics from UC Berkeley, they’ll surely beef up the implementation of more modern, data-driven decisions from a roster construction and in-game standpoint.

Early suggestions at the time of Evans’ dismissal were that the Giants would hire both a president of baseball operations and a general manager. Zaidi, presumably, will have autonomy in selecting a GM to work alongside him, though as the new president, he’ll have final say on all baseball operations matters. The bump in title was a necessity in luring Zaidi away from Los Angeles — teams generally only let their execs jump to other organizations if the offer includes a promotion — but he’s been reported to be among the organization’s top choices for the past few days.

By taking this position, the 41-year-old Zaidi will be returning to his old stomping grounds; Zaidi broke into baseball across the bay as a member of the Athletics front office, rising from a baseball operations analyst to the position of assistant GM over a more than decade-long run with the organization. While in Oakland, he aided the A’s with statistically-focused player evaluation in the draft, free agency and on the trade market, arbitration cases, contract negotiations and advance scouting.

Zaidi will be tasked with rejuvenating a Giants roster that has become stagnant as its young core has grown older. The Giants thrived earlier this decade, winning three titles in a five-year span on the backs of brilliant showings from Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Pablo Sandoval, among others. That once-elite core has withered with time, and while Bumgarner and Posey remain prominent figures in the organization, each has been slowed by injuries in recent seasons. That’s true elsewhere on the roster, as well; Brandon Belt and Joe Panik, in particular, are among the Giants position players who’ve struggled to remain on the field, while high-priced pitchers Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Mark Melancon have each been felled by health troubles as well.

The divergent paths that could be taken under Zaidi and a newly structured front office will make the Giants one of the more fascinating teams to watch this offseason. On the one hand, CEO Larry Baer has voiced a desire to aim to be competitive every season — an attitude that likely pushed Evans and Sabean to load up on veterans last offseason. But the additions of Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria didn’t restore the organization to prominence, and Longoria’s contract now joins those of Cueto, Samardzija and Melancon as undesirable commitments that’ll be tough for the Giants to escape.

However, that desire to remain competitive comes from ownership, and if going for it in 2019 is something of a mandate, then perhaps Zaidi & Co. will seek to supplement a flawed roster as best they can. San Francisco has been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Bryce Harper for the past year-plus, and the team’s successful effort to dip under the luxury tax barrier this past season only makes them a more logical landing spot if ownership is willing to commit the money.

Conversely, though, if Zaidi and the eventual San Francisco GM ultimately conclude that a more long-term outlook needs to be taken, that narrative would quickly change. Should that be the case, the Giants could go in the extreme opposite direction, making Bumgarner available on the trade market while also dangling lefty Will Smith. Complementary pieces like Sam Dyson, Hunter Strickland and Panik could all generate varying degrees of interest. Giants leadership would have its work cut out should they try to move many veterans beyond that group, however. Posey, Melancon and Brandon Crawford all have full no-trade clauses, while Samardzija, Belt and even Bumgarner all have limited no-trade clauses in their respective contracts.

For now, it’s unclear exactly how the Giants will proceed — only that the manner in which the organization has typically operated will likely be changing, as will the general composition of the team’s front office, scouting staff and analytics department.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Giants Reportedly Offer President Of Baseball Operations Title To Farhan Zaidi]]> 2018-11-06T23:00:30Z 2018-11-06T21:44:01Z The Giants have offered Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi the title of president of baseball operations within their organization, tweets’s Jon Morosi. Fancred’s Jon Heyman tweets that the ball is in Zaidi’s court and that the Dodgers “appear prepared to sign off” on the move. Joel Sherman of the New York Post had previously reported that Zaidi was the Giants’ top candidate. Per Morosi, a decision can be expected within the next 24 hours.

Formerly an assistant general manager to Billy Beane with the Athletics, the now-41-year-old Zaidi has held his role as GM of the Dodgers since November 2014. He’d bring about a new era in San Francisco — one more commensurate with today’s data-driven baseball ops departments than the Giants had under Bobby Evans and Brian Sabean. That pairing served San Francisco quite well, delivering three World Series titles in a five-year span, but CEO Larry Baer has recently voiced a desire for a “next-gen” leader to the baseball operations team, and it seems that Zaidi is the preferred choice.

Since the time Evans was dismissed, it’s been suggested that the Giants may ultimately make two new hires atop the baseball ops hierarchy. The fact that Zaidi has been offered a president of baseball ops title speaks to the further likelihood of that scenario, though that may well also be the cost of doing business to get him in the door. Teams typically will only let their top execs leave in order to pursue a promotion, so the Giants probably couldn’t have landed Zaidi had they only been offering a lateral move to the position of GM. Nonetheless, it stands to reason that Zaidi, if hired, could add a GM to serve underneath him in the coming weeks.

Zaidi’s background with the A’s included statistically-focused player evaluation in the draft, free agency and on the trade market, arbitration cases, contract negotiations and advance scouting. He’s an MIT grad with a Ph.D in economics from UC Berkeley.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Market Chatter: White Sox, Zunino, Kimbrel, Cards, Giants, Phils, Yanks]]> 2018-11-06T19:29:22Z 2018-11-06T19:29:22Z What role will the White Sox play in this free agent market? It’s an open question whether the club will come away with any significant players, but it also seems increasingly likely that it will be heavily involved at all levels of the market. MLBTR did not pick the South Siders to land any of the top fifty free agents, but as noted in that post, the club could pursue quite a few of the players listed.’s Jon Morosi even names the White Sox as potential pursuers of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic points out the case for the Sox to spend (subscription link), while Jon Heyman of Fancred tweets that the club is expressing an inclination to “take a step forward now.” Meanwhile, on the other side of town, indications remain that the Cubs will not spend a big chunk of change this winter, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post is the latest to report (Twitter link).

Clearly, the White Sox are an interesting team to watch. Even if it’s arguably a bit premature for significant investments, it certainly doesn’t hurt that they play in the sport’s worst overall division. Elsewhere …

  • The competition in the AL West seems to be driving the Mariners to sell. It’s unclear as yet how deep the cuts will go, but talks are already opening up. The M’s are chatting with the Rays about catcher Mike Zunino, per Rosenthal (via Twitter). With two years of control remaining, the 27-year-old backstop presents an interesting alternative to the free agent market for catchers. He’s an inconsistent but high-powered offensive performer who is generally seen as a quality defender.
  • The Cardinals and incumbent Red Sox are among the suitors for veteran closer Craig Kimbrel, according to Jon Morosi of Kimbrel is among the players who appear to be candidates to land earlier-than-usual contracts, by Morosi’s reckoning. (He mentions a few possible landing spots for others on his list, though it’s not apparent that the connections are based upon more than his analysis.)
  • Certainly, it seems the motivation is there for the Cardinals to pursue significant players. As Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes, the St. Louis front office is looking hard at ways to improve. GM Mike Girsch says the team has a competitive roster as things stand, but wants to exit the offseason with “a division-leading roster.” The piece is full of worthwhile reading for Cards fans, particularly those interested in gaining some perspective on the team’s market positioning in relation to Harper and Machado. All told, it seems reasonable not to rule the Cards out as a possible pursuer of any free agent.
  • Manny and Bryce are popular considerations for most teams, of course, even if they won’t realistically be pursued by all that many organizations. The Giants are perhaps a likelier suitor than may be evident from a passing glance, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. While the San Francisco organization struggled last year, has quite a few big contracts on the books, and doesn’t currently have a GM in place, Shea says that this kind of ownership-driven decision could still be pursued.
  • Lost in the hype for those popular young free agents is the never-ending search for pitching. While the rotation was and is a strong suit for the Phillies, that doesn’t mean they can’t improve. Indeed, as Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia writes, it could make sense for the organization to use some trade assets to add a starter — in addition, of course, to pursuing a superstar position player on the open market. Salisbury tabs southpaws Robbie Ray of the Diamondbacks and James Paxton of the Mariners as two particular names to watch.
  • Likewise, as they consider their pitching options, the Yankees will look at the still-developing trade market. Per Heyman, via Twitter, the Yanks have at least some level of interest in the top arms that have newly entered the sphere of trade candidates. New York’s brass will meet with their counterparts with the Indians, who are dangling Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. The Yankees are also said to have some interest in Paxton. Those three are among the game’s better starters, so it’s hardly surprising to hear the connections.
Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Harper/Machado Notes: Braves, Mets, Cardinals, Giants]]> 2018-11-04T17:14:52Z 2018-11-04T17:14:52Z Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will drive the action of the 2018-19 free agent market, as the two 26-year-old stars are in line to land the two biggest contracts in baseball history.  Here’s the latest buzz on what teams may or may not be preparing to pursue either of the duo…

  • The Braves have been mentioned as speculative suitors for Harper and Machado, and Atlanta even had some interest in Machado at the trade deadline.  A pursuit of either player this winter, however, might not be in the cards, as per GM Alex Anthopoulos’ comments in an interview with Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio on Siriux XM (audio link).  “We can be in on any player, we certainly have the dollars to do that.  I don’t know that it makes a lot of sense….to do deals that are ten years in length and longer at significant dollars with the payroll that we have,” Anthopoulos said.  “It’s not a rule for us, but I tend to not see a ton of value from our club that that would make sense for us….That doesn’t mean we won’t at least explore some things and see if we could line up on the right deal and the right term, but I am reluctant to go extremely long in terms of length.”  Freddie Freeman’s eight-year, $135MM deal (signed in February 2014, long before Anthopoulos was with the franchise) is the biggest contract in Braves history, though that extension was signed while Freeman was still 24 and in his first arbitration-eligible year.
  • Could the Mets take a run at Machado?  Recent history would seem to indicate against it, though the New York Post’s Joel Sherman lays out the case why pursuing Machado wouldn’t be so far-fetched an idea, starting with new GM Brodie Van Wagenen’s statement about how the team is planning to contend in 2019.  Signing Machado would obviously be a big help on that front, and Sherman also notes that keeping Machado away from the Yankees would also be of interest to the PR-conscious Wilpon family.  In terms of payroll, the Mets don’t have any salaries whatsoever on the books beyond the 2020 season, plus even Machado’s 2019 salary could be covered via injury insurance payouts from David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes’ contracts.  Sherman also speculates that adding Machado would turn young shortstop Amed Rosario into a very valuable trade chip the Mets could use to address other needs, or the team could try a scenario where Machado plays shortstop in 2019 and Rosario moves to second base, with Machado potentially moving back to third base in 2020 once Todd Frazier’s contract is up.
  • The Cardinals will check in on Harper as part of what could be a busy offseason for the team, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.  As one industry source puts it, the Cards are “sending signals they are out to be a player” as a response to their three-year postseason drought, and also because they’ve missed out on other some major winter targets (i.e. Giancarlo Stanton, David Price) in recent years.  While the Cardinals still have some hesitations about extended long-term commitments to players, they could agree to such a contract in unique cases — as Goold notes, the team’s willingness to take on Stanton’s contract could hint that they are open to the record-setting deal it would take to land Harper.  Installing Harper as the everyday right fielder would make Dexter Fowler expendable, though St. Louis could also give Harper some time in center field while platooning Fowler and Harrison Bader between the two outfield spots.
  • The Giants also made a run at Stanton last winter, and San Francisco makes a lot of sense as a landing spot for Harper, as’s Buster Olney writes in a subscription-only piece.  Beyond the major upgrade Harper would bring to the Giants’ shaky outfield, Harper could find the Bay Area as much of a fit as another often-controversial star (Barry Bonds) did years ago, though obviously Bonds had the hometown factor in his favor. Olney notes that Giants owner Charles Johnson “was all-in on the idea of adding Stanton,” and the club’s traditional willingness to spend big on free agents could be more indicative of future plans than what the Giants’ yet-to-be-named new general manager has in mind.
TC Zencka <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 11/3/18]]> 2018-11-03T13:25:47Z 2018-11-03T13:25:47Z In this post we will track the minor moves from around the MLB today…

  • Right-handed pitcher Pierce Johnson is now a minor league free agent after clearing waivers, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. Pierce was a first-rounder for the Cubs back in 2012 and appeared regularly on their organizations’ list of top prospects. He spent last season shuttling between the San Francisco Giants and their Triple-A club. With the big league club, the 27-year-old appeared in 37 games, pitching to a 5.56 ERA, with a not-too-promising 7.4 K/9 to 4.53 BB/9. His numbers in Triple-A were much more heartening: 17 games, 3.57 ERA, 11.91 K/9, 3.97 BB/9. If he can figure out a way to translate those minor-league strikeout numbers to the big leagues, he could certainly develop into a useful bullpen piece.
  • The Baltimore Orioles re-signed left-handed pitcher Sean Gilmartin, per John Meoli of the Baltimore Sun. This after being outrighted by the Orioles two days ago. The 28-year-old lefty appeared in 12 games for the Orioles last season after spending the previous three with the New York Mets. Despite the low number of appearances, Gilmartin soaked up a number of innings for the Orioles, throwing 27 innings with a 3.00 ERA. He also spent time with the Orioles and Cardinals Triple-A affiliates in 2018. Gilmartin returns to the Baltimore organization on a minor league deal. Unfortunately, his peripheral metrics don’t rate so highly as that sparkling ERA: 5.39 xFIP, 5.00 K/9, 3.67 BB/9. For his major league career, he has appeared in 78 games with a 3.84 ERA (4.43 xFIP) for the Mets and Orioles.
Steve Adams <![CDATA[Willie McCovey Passes Away]]> 2018-11-01T00:21:39Z 2018-11-01T00:21:39Z The Giants issued a heavy-hearted statement Wednesday, announcing that Hall of Famer and franchise icon Willie McCovey has passed away peacefully at the age of 80 “after losing his battle with ongoing health issues.”

“San Francisco and the entire baseball community lost a true gentleman and legend, and our collective hearts are broken,” CEO Larry Baer said in a press release announcing the loss of one of baseball’s all-time greats. “Willie was a beloved figure throughout his playing days and in retirement. He will be deeply missed by the many people he touched.  For more than six decades, he gave his heart and soul to the Giants – as one of the greatest players of all time, as a quiet leader in the clubhouse, as a mentor to the Giants who followed in his footsteps, as an inspiration to our Junior Giants, and as a fan cheering on the team from his booth. Willie’s greatest passion was his family and our thoughts and prayers are with his beloved wife, Estella, and his daughter, Allison, and her children Raven, Philip, and Marissa.”

A former National League Rookie of the Year, a National League MVP and a six-time All-Star, McCovey was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame after hitting .270/.374/.515 with 521 home runs, 353 doubles, 46 triples, 1229 runs scored and 1555 runs batted in. In addition to spending 19 seasons with the Giants, McCovey played three seasons with the Padres and also spent part of the 1976 season with the Athletics.

McCovey’s name has become synonymous not only with the San Francisco Giants — who retired his No. 44 and named right field’s “McCovey Cove” at AT&T Park in his honor — but with baseball greatness. Rest in peace, Stretch.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giants Exercise Options Over Madison Bumgarner, Pablo Sandoval]]> 2018-10-29T23:12:39Z 2018-10-29T23:12:39Z The Giants announced today that they have exercised club options over lefty Madison Bumgarner and third baseman Pablo Sandoval. With players returning from the 60-day DL, the club adds, it’ll have four open 40-man roster spots at the outset of the offseason.

Needless to say, there was never any question that the San Francisco organization would hang on to Bumgarner. While he has certainly not been his usual, ironclad self in the past two seasons, Bumgarner is a clear bargain at $12MM (rather than a $1.5MM buyout).

Bumgarner’s deal, which expires after the 2019 season, included a $35MM guarantee over five seasons. As it turns out, with both option years being exercised, he’ll have earned $56MM in a seven-season term. That has clearly been a big win for the Giants.

As for Sandoval, his second stint with the organization will continue for the time being, though he’ll still need to earn a roster spot in camp. When he re-joined the club in the middle of the 2017 season, he inked a deal that included successive club options at the league-minimum salary. The Red Sox are still responsible for his $18MM salary in 2019, less the$555K minimum, along with a $5MM buyout for a 2020 club option.

While the 32-year-old Sandoval has not exactly thrived of late, he was reasonably productive in 2018 before suffering a season-ending injury. Over 252 plate appearances, he posted a .248/.310/.417 slash. That’s a roughly league-average level of offensive output, which the veteran had not even approached since his original run with the Giants ended in 2014.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Will Giants Re-Sign Derek Holland? ]]> 2018-10-29T03:14:43Z 2018-10-29T03:13:16Z
  • With left-hander Derek Holland hoping to return to the Giants in 2019, it “could make a lot of sense” for the club to offer him a two-year contract, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports California writes. Holland was unable to secure a guaranteed contract last winter, when the Giants inked him to a minors deal in a move that worked out beautifully for the team. The 32-year-old Holland ended up pitching to a 3.57 ERA/3.87 FIP across a San Francisco-leading 171 1/3 innings, likely setting himself up for a better payday than the $2MM he raked in this season.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giants Outright Five Players]]> 2018-10-23T01:36:07Z 2018-10-23T00:02:39Z The Giants have outrighted five players off of their 40-man roster, the club announced and Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area was among those to cover (Twitter links). The moves opened space for a handful of players to be moved back onto the roster from the 60-day DL.

    Four of the players to be bumped — infielder Chase d’Arnaud, righty Casey Kelly, utilityman Kelby Tomlinson, and infielder Miguel Gomez — are now free agents. The former two had the right to reject an assignment, while the latter pair became eligible for minor-league free agency upon departing the MLB roster.

    A fifth player, right-hander Tyler Herb, was also outrighted. In his case, though, he’ll remain in the San Francisco organization. He has been assigned to Triple-A Sacramento, which is where he spent most of the 2018 campaign.

    Tomlinson, 28, had the lengthiest and most notable tenure with the Giants of the players outrighted today. He never quite matched his promising debut effort, however, ending his time in San Francisco with a .265/.331/.332 slash line over 687 plate appearances.

    As for d’Arnaud, a light-hitting journeyman infielder, he’ll look for another opportunity to function as a depth piece. The 29-year-old Kelly, once a prospect of some note, allowed just eight earned runs in his 23 2/3 innings with the Giants but surrendered a 4.76 ERA over 24 Triple-A starts. Gomez has received scant MLB opportunity. He played mostly at the two highest levels of the minors in 2018, drawing just nine walks in 437 plate appearances while posting a .291/.304/.418 slash line.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cafardo: Giants Expected To Show Interest In Patrick Corbin]]> 2018-10-21T01:29:49Z 2018-10-21T01:27:02Z The Yankees (previously reported), Dodgers, Giants and Braves are among the teams that are expected to “show a lot of interest” in left-hander Patrick Corbin once free agency starts, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. The 29-year-old Corbin is coming off a career season at the perfect time, having logged a 3.15 ERA/2.47 FIP with 11.07 K/9 and 2.16 BB/9 over 200 innings in 2018. As a result of that top-notch production, it’s likely Corbin will price himself out of Arizona and perhaps ink a nine-figure contract with someone.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Hundley Likely To Return In 2019?]]> 2018-10-19T04:01:51Z 2018-10-19T04:01:51Z
  • Buster Posey’s hip surgery makes it a “pretty good bet” that Nick Hundley will return to the Giants for a third season in 2019, writes Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. While Aramis Garcia’s September play encouraged many in the organization, bringing Hundley back into the fold would allow the Giants to either get Garcia everyday at-bats in Triple-A early in the season or to serve as Hundley’s backup if Posey isn’t ready to begin the season. Interestingly, Pavlovic adds that some members of the organization can even envision Hundley, who has become one of the more popular figures in the clubhouse, managing the Giants in the future. The 35-year-old Hundley hit .241/.298/.408 with 10 home runs in 305 plate appearances with San Francisco in 2018.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Bobby Evans On Giants, Other GM Jobs]]> 2018-10-08T02:54:57Z 2018-10-08T02:54:57Z
  • Former Giants GM Bobby Evans tells the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo that he would like to be considered for the other open general manager jobs around baseball, though since he still has 15 months remaining on his contract in San Francisco, he is happy to take on whatever role assigned by the Giants’ next baseball operations head.  Evans would also be understanding if the new GM would prefer if Evans left the organization.  The team’s decision to remove Evans from his former post caught him somewhat off-guard: “I think you’re always surprised when something like this happens because we’ve all worked so closely together for so long and we had three World Series championships together.”  Nevertheless, Evans said “the Giants were fantastic to me for 25 years,” and he defended his front office from the perception that it was somewhat behind in analytical implementation, noting that the team was already in the process of shifting from a traditional scouting-heavy approach to more analytics usage.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Poll: Which Is The Most Intriguing General Manager Job?]]> 2018-10-08T01:40:10Z 2018-10-08T01:27:23Z After recently polling MLBTR’s readership about which of the six open managerial positions had the most to offer, it only follows that we ask the same question about the three general manager vacancies.

    For simplicity’s sake, let’s use “general manager” in this sense as the person in charge of a team’s baseball operations department, even if that official title could be something different (i.e. president of baseball ops) on a particular team.  If you’re a hypothetical executive who has multiple GM offers presented to them, deciding which job to take demands a big-picture view.  Which franchise has the most to offer a new GM in terms of resources, which range from everything from player payroll to front office staffing?  Would a GM have full control of baseball ops, or is there another rung above them on the organizational ladder?  Does a team already have some good players in place and is expecting to win, or is a rebuild under way, or will a rebuild be under way in the near future?

    With all these factors (and more) in mind, let’s take a look at the three open GM jobs…

    Mets: As disappointing as New York’s 2018 season was, this is still a team that boasts one of the game’s best pitching staffs, plus some intriguing young building blocks in Brandon Nimmo, Amed Rosario, and a healthy Michael Conforto.  If incumbent veterans like Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, and Todd Frazier can avoid the DL and regain some of their old productivity, the team’s lackluster lineup will already get a huge boost, not even factoring in what external additions can bring into the fold.  There is certainly opportunity for quick improvement in 2019, and since the team doesn’t have any payroll money guaranteed beyond the 2020 season, there’s plenty of room for extending in-house stars and adding some other notable salaries in trades or free agents.

    That’s the good news about the Mets job, though as any follower of New York’s sports media could tell you, there’s also quite a bit of bad news.  It’s still unknown how much financial flexibility the Mets actually have, as while team payroll has cracked the $150MM mark in each of the last two seasons, that’s still a modest figure for a club that plays in the New York market.  There’s also the open question about how much autonomy a general manager truly has within the organization, given how owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon are so often accused of taking a heavy hand with their input in the baseball operations department.  For instance, it’s unusual that an incoming GM would be inheriting three influence senior members of a team’s current front office staff, and there is uncertainty if a new GM would really be allowed to fire John Ricco, J.P. Riccardi, and/or Omar Minaya unless ownership allows it.  Manager Mickey Callaway is also staying on for 2019, so a new general manager wouldn’t even able to select their own preferred voice in the dugout.  It also might not help that the Wilpons themselves are reportedly looking for different things in a general manager, as Jeff prefers to hire a younger GM with an analytics background, while Fred wants a more experienced name from a scouting and personnel background.

    Giants: The main pro and the main con of the San Francisco job amount to the same thing — this is a team that expects to win.  Even if 2019 may be a season more focused on something of a rebuild-on-the-fly, there is little doubt that the franchise wants a turn-around after two straight losing seasons.  To this end, a new GM will have money to spend, as the Giants haven’t afraid of exceeding the luxury tax threshold in the past, and are now free for more big spending after (barely) getting payroll under the threshold this season to reset their escalating tax payment figure to zero.  There’s also no small amount of appeal in taking over one of baseball’s top-tier, most historically-rich franchises, and a team that has three World Series championships within the last decade.

    The downside, of course, is that taking over such a team means taking on a lot of pressure.  There may be more of a case that the Giants need a rebuild rather than a reload, given how many expensive veteran contracts are on the books.  (And how more veteran additions could be coming, if the Giants stick to their logic from last offseason.)  Madison Bumgarner, the Giants’ best asset, is also scheduled for free agency after the 2019 season, so the contention window may be particularly short unless Bumgarner can be extended, though the team is at least open to listening to a GM that would suggest Bumgarner be traded.

    There is also some question of autonomy within the chain of command, as long-time executive Brian Sabean is staying on in an upper-management role, plus Bruce Bochy is being retained as manager.  Team CEO Larry Baer has said, however, that the new baseball operations head will be reporting to him, and will have the freedom add new faces to the front office mix.  This could be a situation where the “new GM” is really a president of baseball operations, with a general manager also hired in a secondary role to handle day-to-day duties.

    Orioles: The cleanest slate of the three jobs, the Orioles are undergoing a change in direction at the very top of the organization, as John and Louis Angelos take over ownership duties from their father, Peter.  It remains to be seen how the Angelos brothers’ style will differ from that of Peter Angelos’ style, though there has already been some indication that the Orioles are adopting a more standard approach to baseball operations (such as a new willingness to spend on international players).  It also isn’t clear if a new GM will have the full autonomy that the team’s recent media release claims, or if incumbent VP of baseball operations Brady Anderson will still have a major voice in the decision-making process.

    This all being said, while it might take some years for a general manager to remake the Mets or Giants in their own image, the new Orioles GM can put their big stamp on the organization as early as this offseason.  Rather than navigate pre-existing payroll hurdles or expectations of contention, the new Orioles only has to focus on rebuilding for the next several years.  As low as the Orioles sunk in 2018, the lure of a total rebuild could be enticing to many candidates — Blue Jays baseball ops VP Ben Cherington, for one, would seemingly only leave his position in Toronto “to build an organization from the ground up,” according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.  A new general manager also has something of a head start on the rebuilding process due to the number of young talents acquired by former baseball operations executive VP Dan Duquette in the trade deadline deals of Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Kevin Gausman, Darren O’Day, Brad Brach, and Jonathan Schoop.

    (poll link for app users)