San Francisco Giants – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-06-23T20:16:07Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[Hunter Strickland Out Six To Eight Weeks Due To Fractured Hand]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125392 2018-06-20T00:01:02Z 2018-06-19T23:41:25Z Giants closer Hunter Strickland will miss the next six to eight weeks following surgery to repair a fractured right hand, manager Bruce Bochy told reporters Tuesday (Twitter links via Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area).

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

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

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

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

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

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 6/19/18]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125279 2018-06-19T14:51:56Z 2018-06-19T14:51:56Z Here are some of the notable recent minor moves from around the league …

  • The Giants released outfielder-turned-pitcher Jordan Schaferaccording to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy. Schafer had joined the San Francisco organization at the start of the current season in hopes of continuing his attempt to return to the majors on the mound. He had missed the prior campaign owing to Tommy John surgery. Schafer threw 6 1/3 innings at Triple-A prior to his release, allowing four earned runs on ten hits and five walks but also recording nine strikeouts.
  • Eddy also reports that the Nationals have released corner infielder Matt Hague from their Triple-A affiliate. The 32-year-old has seen brief action in three MLB campaigns, most recently in 2015. He had joined the Washington organization after being released by the Mariners in April. Over 112 plate appearances at Syracuse, he exhibited typically strong plate discipline (12 walks vs. 18 strikeouts) but was slashing just .242/.321/.323.
  • The Twins have cut ties with hard-throwing righty Zack Jones from Double-A Chattanooga, per the Eastern League transactions log. The former Rule 5 Draft pick had allowed just seven earned runs on ten hits through 25 1/3 innings thus far in 2018, racking up 39 strikeouts along the way. Unfortunately, the 27-year-old Jones has also handed out 25 walks this season. Over his seven minor-league seasons, he has recorded 12.9 K/9 against 5.5 BB/9, so the command issues represent a longstanding concern.
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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Giants Re-Sign Jose Valdez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125280 2018-06-18T19:32:35Z 2018-06-18T17:55:13Z The Giants have re-signed right-hander Jose Valdez after releasing him recently, Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports as part of his latest roundup of the league’s minor transactions. Valdez was designated for assignment back on June when the Giants activated Mark Melancon from the disabled list and, apparently, was eventually released (though there was no formal announcement from the team).

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

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

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

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Giants Sign No. 2 Overall Pick Joey Bart]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124947 2018-06-17T20:11:54Z 2018-06-17T19:59:15Z JUNE 17: Bart’s signing is now official, per an announcement from the Giants. He signed for $7.025MM, the largest upfront bonus given to a position player in the history of the draft, Callis tweets.

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

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

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

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

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

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Evan Longoria Diagnosed With Fractured Finger]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124998 2018-06-16T22:00:55Z 2018-06-16T22:00:25Z SATURDAY: Longoria will undergo surgery Tuesday, and he’s likely to miss six to eight weeks, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area was among those to report (Twitter link).

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

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

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

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

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

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Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Giants Activate Brandon Belt]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125122 2018-06-16T19:11:30Z 2018-06-16T18:57:37Z The Giants have activated Brandon Belt from the 10-day disabled list, as Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports was among those to report. Right-hander Pierce Johnson was optioned to Triple-A to make room on the active roster.

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

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

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Amateur Draft Signings: 6/15/18]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125080 2018-06-16T03:49:09Z 2018-06-16T03:49:09Z Here are the day’s deals of note from the top few rounds of the draft (rankings referenced are courtesy of Baseball AmericaMLB.comFangraphs and ESPN’s Keith Law — with the scouting reports from MLB and Fangraphs both coming free to the general public) …

  • The Giants agreed to a $1.5MM bonus with second-round choice Sean Hjelle, according to MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). A towering righty from the University of Kentucky, Hjelle was taken with the 45th overall choice, which came with a $1,587,600 pick allocation. He ranked as high as thirtieth on pre-draft lists, earning that placement on the Baseball America board. Evaluators seem to think the polished collegiate hurler is likely to be a steady, back-of-the-rotation arm, though he isn’t generally seen as possessing immense upside.
  • Mets second-rounder Simeon Woods-Richardson will receive a $1.85MM bonus to forego his commitment to the University of Texas, Callis tweets. That lands above the $1,485,100 slot value at the 48th overall pick. While the right-handed hurler has shown quite a lot of promise at times, there are concerns that he has not consistently maintained that high level throughout his starts. Grades were all over the map, with BA highest at #76. Clearly, the Mets believe they can tap into the tools.
  • The Brewers will save some money against the slot value on Micah Bello, their competitive balance round B pick, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo reports on Twitter. He’ll receive a $550K bonus, leaving the club with some excess pool space from the 73rd overall pick ($824,900 slot). A Hawaiian high-school outfielder, Bello did not draw top-100 billing but placed 121st on BA’s board. He’s credited as a quality overall hitter who may yet have a bit of upside, with some speed and perhaps some untapped power potential, though it’s not clear whether he’ll remain an up-the-middle defender as a professional.
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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Giants Notes: Luxury Tax, Duggar]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124743 2018-06-11T14:22:06Z 2018-06-11T14:22:06Z
  • The Giants are still “slightly” underneath the $197MM luxury tax barrier, tweets Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Rosenthal notes that while the numbers over on Cot’s Contracts indicate that organization is roughly $2MM north of that line, he’s confirmed that San Francisco is narrowly avoiding taxation at this point. The exact amount with which the Giants have to work remains unclear, though the apparent proximity to that threshold would seemingly make it difficult for the Giants to do much at the non-waiver trade deadline without jettisoning some payroll in a trade or receiving substantial cash considerations along with any player they acquire.
  • While outfield prospect Steven Duggar has been on a hot streak in Triple-A, the Giants are still in no rush to bring him up to the Majors, writes John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. GM Bobby Evans explains to Shea that the Giants not only want to see Duggar “put pressure” on the front office to call him up and adds that it’s also a matter of “the opportunity being here.” Shea notes that Mac Williamson is the only outfielder on the big league roster with options remaining, and he’s been seeing regular left field work since returning from the DL. Cutting ties with either Hunter Pence or Austin Jackson, of course, would open a spot, though either speculative move would come with some notable financial and clubhouse considerations for the front office.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Giants Re-Sign Trevor Brown]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124677 2018-06-10T23:50:54Z 2018-06-10T23:49:53Z
  • One day after they released catcher Trevor Brown, the Giants have brought him back on a new minor league deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. Brown will return to Triple-A Sacramento, where he has hit .222/.344/.259 in 32 PAs this season.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Giants Placed Cory Gearrin On Outright Waivers Last Week]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124627 2018-06-10T16:33:59Z 2018-06-10T16:31:14Z The Giants placed reliever Cory Gearrin on outright waivers last week, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (video link). No one claimed Gearrin, however, and he remains a member of the Giants. The luxury-tax threshold helped influence the decision to waive Gearrin, per Rosenthal, who points out that San Francisco is $2MM-plus above the $197MM figure. Had someone taken Gearrin off the Giants’ hands, it would have saved the team upward of $1MM and helped give it more flexibility as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches. It’s no surprise the 32-year-old Gearrin went unclaimed, though, given that he has recorded a 5.11 ERA over 24 2/3 innings with unappealing walk, groundball and home run rates (4.74 BB/9, 34.2 GB percentage, 1.82 HR/9).

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 6/9/18]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124602 2018-06-09T23:49:27Z 2018-06-09T23:49:27Z Here are some minor moves from today…

    • The Giants released Trevor Brown from their Triple-A affiliate today, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports tweets. Brown was catching for the Sacramento, where he’s been since the start of the 2017 season. He made 227 MLB plate appearances with the Giants from 2015-2016, slashing .236/.282/.354, good for a 73 wRC+ and a tenth of a win above replacement. In Triple-A this season, Brown managed a .344 OBP but a slugging percentage nearly 100 points less. The former 10th-round draft pick was said to be dealing with multiple injuries at the start of the season, so it’s possible that his health issues contributed to the club’s decision to release him.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Johnny Cueto Hoping For End-Of-June Return]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124533 2018-06-09T19:15:10Z 2018-06-09T19:14:44Z
  • Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto is “cautiously optimistic” he’ll be able to come off the 60-day DL when he’s first eligible (June 30), Chris Haft of MLB.com writes. Cueto hasn’t pitched since suffering an elbow injury at the end of April, when he was among the majors’ best starters (0.84 ERA, 2.74 FIP in 32 innings). But even without Cueto and ace Madison Bumgarner, who just made his 2018 debut Tuesday after his own lengthy absence, the Giants have managed a 32-31 record to stay in the thick of what has been a mediocre NL West.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Evans On Giants Aversion To Rebuilding]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124442 2018-06-08T18:38:11Z 2018-06-08T18:33:20Z Giants general manager Bobby Evans joined Jim Bowden and Mike Ferrin on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM today (Twitter link, with audio). Evans sidestepped some questions about potential interest in Bryce Harper as a free agent — “Our focus right now is on getting him out … we’ll certainly be aggressive and appropriate with our interest.” — but he did more broadly discuss the organization’s perennial “win-now” philosophy. At a time when more and more teams are pursuing aggressive tear-downs, Evans stated that it’d be a “big adjustment” to ever even consider embarking on a rebuild.

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

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Giants Activate Madison Bumgarner From Disabled List]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124253 2018-06-06T00:53:17Z 2018-06-06T00:53:17Z The Giants announced this afternoon that they’ve activated Madison Bumgarner from the 60-day disabled list for his season debut. The San Francisco ace missed the first two months of the season after suffering a fractured finger that required surgical repair late in Spring Training. Righty Pierce Johnson was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento to open a spot on the 25-man roster for Bumgarner, who’ll start tonight’s game against the Diamondbacks.

    [Related: Updated San Francisco Giants depth chart]

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

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

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

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

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Claim D.J. Snelten]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124097 2018-06-04T18:22:35Z 2018-06-04T18:13:48Z The Orioles announced that they’ve claimed left-hander D.J. Snelten off waivers from the Giants. Baltimore had an open spot on its 40-man roster, so no corresponding move was necessary. Snelten has been assigned to Triple-A Norfolk for the time being.

    [Related: Updated Baltimore Orioles depth chart]

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

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

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Giants Outright Gregor Blanco]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123928 2018-06-03T00:51:16Z 2018-06-02T23:39:07Z The Giants have outrighted outfielder Gregor Blanco to Triple-A Sacramento, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area was among those to report. Blanco accepted the assignment and will report to Sacramento on Tuesday. His roster spot in San Francisco will go to fellow veteran outfielder Hunter Pence, whom the team activated from the disabled list.

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

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

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Giants Place Brandon Belt On DL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123900 2018-06-02T23:41:52Z 2018-06-02T21:49:09Z The Giants have placed first baseman Brandon Belt on the 10-day disabled list and activated infielder/outfielder Alen Hanson from the DL, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area was among those to report. Belt could miss around three weeks, according to manager Bruce Bochy (via Pavlovic).

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

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

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Latest On Giants’ Roster Outlook]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123853 2018-06-02T14:26:19Z 2018-06-02T14:26:19Z The Giants activated Joe Panik from the DL yesterday, as Henry Schulman reports in his latest piece for the San Francisco Chronicle. That’s not even the most interesting news, however, as Schulman also reveals a flurry of insight into the clubs plans for utilizing their other players in the near future.

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

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

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

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

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giants Activate Mark Melancon, Designate Jose Valdez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123839 2018-06-02T02:32:28Z 2018-06-02T02:13:17Z The Giants have activated veteran reliever Mark Melancon from the disabled list, as Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area was among those to report (via Twitter). To create a roster spot, the club designated righty Jose Valdez for assignment (technically, after activating him from the 10-day DL).

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

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

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

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

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Giants Notes: Samardzija, Upcoming Roster Decisions]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123673 2018-05-31T00:55:37Z 2018-05-31T00:55:37Z The Giants announced on Wednesday that right-hander Jeff Samardzija has been placed on the 10-day disabled list due to tightness in his right shoulder. Right-hander Tyler Beede is up from Triple-A Sacramento to take his spot on the roster for the time being, though the organization’s current hope is that Samardzija will only miss one start, per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. An MRI revealed some inflammation in Samardzija’s shoulder, per Schulman, but there’s no structural damage. With so many injuries in their rotation, the Giants briefly had all three starters listed as “TBA” this weekend, though they’ve since said that Chris Stratton and Andrew Suarez will start the first two games of the series, while a determination on Sunday’s starter has seemingly yet to be made. Schulman notes that the club had been planning to move lefty Ty Blach to the bullpen, but he’s now a candidate to start in Samardzija’s place on Sunday, as is rookie Dereck Rodriguez.

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

    • With Joe Panik, Alen Hanson and Mark Melancon all likely to return from the DL this weekend, and Madison Bumgarner likely to be activated next Tuesday, and two of them (Melancon and Bumgarner) will require corresponding 40-man moves. Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News runs through some possibilities for the roster over the next six days, listing Steven Okert, Roberto Gomez and Jose Valdez as candidates to be designated for assignment in order to clear 40-man spots for Melancon and Bumgarner.
    • More complicated, Crowley notes, is the impending return of Hunter Pence from the 10-day DL. Manager Bruce Bochy implied that Pence will return to the 25-man roster when his rehab window expires this weekend, though his exact role looks uncertain. Andrew McCutchen is the team’s regular right fielder, and the Giants have said that Mac Williamson will be given an everyday opportunity in left field. Pence, of course, can’t play center field, so he appears headed for a limited role. Crowley suggests that either Austin Jackson or Gregor Blanco could land on the disabled list as a temporary fix, though it stands to reason that if Williamson proves adept in left field, the Giants could eventually have a more difficult decision on their hands.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Samardzija Exits Start With Shoulder Tightness]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123615 2018-05-30T03:57:46Z 2018-05-30T03:57:46Z Giants right-hander Jeff Samardzija exited Tuesday’s start after just one inning due to tightness in his right shoulder, writes Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. Any shoulder trouble for a pitcher, of course, is concerning to an extent, but Samardzija’s early exit comes with extra cause for worry given that his fastball was sitting at 91 mph on Tuesday, per Pavlovic. Samardzija’s velocity has been down, in general, early this season, but he’d previously averaged 92.4 mph. The injury to Samardzija is the latest blow to a Giants rotation that has yet to receive a single inning from Madison Bumgarner this season and also lost Johnny Cueto for an extended period earlier this month. In 35 2/3 innings this season, Samardzija has lumped to a 6.56 ERA with 6.6 K/9, 5.8 BB/9, 1.51 HR/9 and a 33.9 percent ground-ball rate.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Giants Designate D.J. Snelten, Release Hector Sanchez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123532 2018-05-31T18:55:49Z 2018-05-28T19:01:24Z The Giants have designated left-hander D.J. Snelten for assignment, Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group reports. Additionally, the club has released catcher Hector Sanchez, per Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. Sanchez recently suffered his eighth concussion, Pavlovic notes.

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

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

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

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Giants To Select Dereck Rodriguez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123454 2018-05-28T13:17:24Z 2018-05-28T12:28:37Z The Giants will select right-hander Dereck Rodriguez from Triple-A Sacramento on Monday, per Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic. San Francisco already has a full 40-man roster, so it’ll have to create a spot for Rodriguez.

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

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

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Madison Bumgarner Nearing Return]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123350 2018-05-27T14:15:30Z 2018-05-27T14:15:33Z
  • Giants ace Madison Bumgarner is slated to take the hill in another rehab start Thursday, but he could make his season debut in the majors on Friday instead, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. Bumgarner, who’s working back from a fractured pinky finger, was untouchable during a Triple-A rehab start Saturday, striking out eight (with one walk) over 3 2/3 hitless, scoreless innings. Bumgarner threw 47 pitches, just above the pregame goal of 45, and suggested afterward that he’s ready to slot back into San Francisco’s rotation. “I obviously didn’t know before today, but I think so,”  he said. “I wouldn’t say I’d be back at midseason form, but I definitely feel I could get some outs.”
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Giants Have Decision To Make On Hunter Pence]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123331 2018-05-27T02:42:49Z 2018-05-27T02:42:53Z It’s possible Giants outfielder Hunter Pence has played his last game with the team, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports California observes. The Giants have to make a decision on Pence’s future within the next six days, when his minor league rehab assignment will end. In the event San Francisco releases Pence, who helped the club to two World Series titles as a younger player, it’ll have to eat the remainder of his $18.5MM salary. But if Pence gets another shot with the Giants, he’ll return having undergone some offensive adjustments with the help of private instructor Doug Latta – whose students also include Mac Williamson and the Dodgers’ Justin Turner – Pavlocic details. Pence feels “way better” after working with Latta, and has hit well in the minors since making the changes. The respected veteran got off to a rough start in the majors this year (.172/.197/.190 in 61 plate appearances) before going on the disabled list April 19 with a thumb issue.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Joe Panik Could Return Next Weekend]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123308 2018-05-27T01:15:01Z 2018-05-26T23:22:56Z
  • Giants second baseman Joe Panik is on track to come off the DL next weekend, Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group suggests. In the meantime, he’ll open a four- or five-game rehab assignment on Monday. Panik will end up missing upward of a month after undergoing left thumb surgery in late April. He hasn’t played since April 27, and fill-in Alen Hanson has been out for two weeks, leaving the Giants with the underwhelming duo of Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez as their options at the keystone.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Bumgarner On Track For Saturday Rehab Start]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123049 2018-05-23T02:51:38Z 2018-05-23T02:51:38Z
  • Madison Bumgarner threw 30 pitches in a simulated game today, and is on track to make his first rehab start on Saturday.  (MLB.com’s Richard Dean was one of several reporters with the info.)  The Giants ace will likely make three rehab outings before returning to the 25-man roster in June to make his season debut, after fracturing a finger in Spring Training.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mark Melancon Nearing Rehab Stint]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122967 2018-05-22T20:10:51Z 2018-05-22T16:47:13Z
  • The Giants, meanwhile, could soon face some interesting calls on their late-inning mix. As Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area writes, the club could welcome Mark Melancon back within two weeks or so, as the veteran reliever is set to begin a rehab assignment after opening the year on the shelf due to ongoing pronator issues. Skipper Bruce Bochy says the team will “let him get settled” rather than thrusting Melancon back into the closer’s role. Melancon, 33, is certainly being paid to handle the ninth. But Hunter Strickland has performed quite well in his absence, working to a 2.18 ERA with 9.6 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9. Just how that situation will be navigated over the course of the season remains to be seen.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Pablo Sandoval Could See Time At Second Base]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122730 2018-05-20T02:28:18Z 2018-05-20T01:20:28Z
  • The Giants are considering using big-bodied corner infielder Pablo Sandoval at second base, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle relays. Sandoval has been taking grounders recently at the keystone with guidance from infield coach Ron Wotus, who said that the longtime third baseman “looks good. He has quick feet and good hands. So far, so good.” San Francisco’s in position to ponder this experiment because second basemen Joe Panik and Alen Hanson are on the disabled list. Moreover, Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez haven’t been particularly effective at the plate, while the 31-year-old Sandoval has hit a solid .270/.329/.429 in 70 PAs. That represents Sandoval’s best production in several years, though it’s obviously too soon to determine whether the Panda’s truly turning back into a useful hitter.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Kendrick, Bumgarner, Mauer, Moore, Souza, Cuthbert]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122710 2018-05-19T23:02:45Z 2018-05-19T21:50:42Z Things got even worse for the Nationals today; Howie Kendrick appeared to sustain a serious injury while chasing down a Max Muncy fly ball. Kendrick was carted off the field, and was seen pointing to his ankle area. Jamal Collier of MLB.com reports that he’s off to get an MRI. The Nationals are already dealing with injuries to a number of other key players, including Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Eaton, Matt Wieters and Brian Goodwin, and can ill afford to lose another player from their outfield for an extended period of time. They’ll likely be anxious as they await further news on Kendrick.

    More injury news from around MLB today…

    • Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner considers his fractured left hand to be “95% or more” healed, according to a tweet from MLB.com’s Chris Haft. He’s on track to throw live batting practice on Tuesday and begin a rehab assignment on Saturday. Meanwhile, Haft says, Johnny Cueto will head to the club’s rehab facility in Arizona. The Giants will hope for the best-case scenarios as far as the timetables of these two players; their depleted rotation is a chief factor in the club’s sub-.500 record on the season.
    • Joe Mauer is headed to the Twins’ DL with concussion symptoms once again, according to LaVelle E. Neal of the Star Tribute. He reportedly did well in regards to concussion tests last night, but is apparently experiencing some sensitivity to light along with some balance issues. Mauer, who has dealt with concussion issues in years past, is walking at a 16.8% clip so far this season en route to a .404 OBP. According to chief baseball officer Derek Falvey (via MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger), the club is “not saying at this time that Joe has a concussion.”
    • The Rangers have placed lefty Matt Moore on the 10-day disabled list with what the club is calling right knee soreness. The move will make room for fellow righty Ariel Jurado, who will make the jump from Double-A to debut in the majors tonight. Jurado has a 2.57 ERA in 35 minor league innings this year, but with a 5.31 FIP that strongly disagrees with those results. He posted a 4.59 ERA at Double-A last season, with 5.45 K/9.
    • Diamondbacks outfielder Steven Souza will avoid the DL for the time being, says Zach Buchanan of The Athletic. A key offseason acquisition by the Dbacks, Souza has already spent the bulk of the season on the DL after suffering a pectoral strain upon diving for a ball in the outfield. Fortunately, it seems as though some minor pec soreness will not require a second DL stint for the time being.
    • The Royals have placed Cheslor Cuthbert on the 10-day DL with a lower back strain, recalling fellow infielder Ramon Torres from Triple-A Omaha in a corresponding move. Cuthbert is a career .252/.308/.383 hitter, and is performing especially poorly this season, as evidenced by his -0.5 fWAR for 2018. However, Torres seems unlikely to provide any significant upgrade; he’s hitting just .229/.280/.307 at the Triple-A level so far this season.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Anderson, Lamb, Giants, Shoemaker]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122690 2018-05-19T14:05:21Z 2018-05-19T14:05:21Z The A’s announced this morning that Brett Anderson has been placed on the 10-day DL with a left shoulder strain. Anderson was removed from yesterday’s game before the second inning even began. He’d had an ugly showing so far this season at the MLB level, pitching to a 7.63 ERA with just eight strikeouts across four starts. As Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle notes, it’s the 11th time in the 30-year-old lefty’s career that he’s gone on the disabled list. Anderson has only pitched more than 100 innings once in the past eight seasons; it was a 2015 campaign with the Dodgers in which he worked to a 3.69 ERA and 3.94 FIP. In a corresponding move, the A’s have recalled Ryan Dull, who was technically optioned to Triple-A Nashville yesterday but never left Toronto.

    Other injury notes from around baseball…

    • Yesterday, the Diamondbacks officially announced the activation of slugging third baseman Jake Lamb from the disabled list. After hitting the 10-day DL with a sprained right AC joint and subsequently having his return delayed by elbow tendinitis, has finally completed a rehab assignment and is ready to return. It’s a welcome sight for the Diamondbacks, who recently lost team WAR leader A.J. Pollock to the DL. They’ll hope Lamb can repeat the 30-homer power he showed last year and help propel an offense that currently ranks 27th of 30 MLB teams with a wRC+ of just 83.
    • Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports provides a pair Giants injury updates via Twitter. Joe Panik is reportedly doing well in his recovery from left thumb surgery, and could begin a rehab assignment as soon as the end of this month. Meanwhile, Mac Williamson served as a DH in Triple-A last night. None of the rehabbing Giants, however, will be called upon at the major league level for at least another week, a group that includes rookie Alen Hanson and veteran outfielder Hunter Pence.
    • There’s still no real answer to the nerve issue in Matt Shoemaker’s forearm, according to Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times. The Angels right-hander reportedly visited a specialist in St. Louis earlier this week, and the next move in his recovery isn’t quite clear at this time. The oft-injured Shoemaker landed on the DL after just one start this season; he allowed three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings while striking out four.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Melancon, Bumgarner Nearing Rehab Assignments]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122597 2018-05-18T02:39:43Z 2018-05-18T02:12:42Z
  • Mark Melancon threw 20 pitches to live hitters today and could begin a rehab assignment as soon as Sunday, tweets Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News. He’ll likely need about two weeks’ worth of rehab games, putting him on target for a return to the Giants in early June if all goes well. Meanwhile, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets that Madison Bumgarner could make his first rehab start on May 26.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giants Place Alen Hanson On DL, Recall Austin Slater]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122374 2018-05-15T04:39:09Z 2018-05-15T04:09:34Z
  • Meanwhile, the Giants have sent infielder Alen Hanson onto the 10-day DL with a hamstring strain while bringing back Austin Slater, who may need to see a bit of time in the infield. That’s a tough break for Hanson, a minor-league signee who had impressed in his 14 games of action after previously failing to gain traction in the majors. He has produced at a healthy .298/.346/.638 clip in 52 trips to the plate. As for Slater, the 25-year-old has demolished Triple-A pitching thus far, with a .386/.456/.670 batting line in 103 plate appearances. He has spent most of his career in the outfield, but does have a bit of experience under his belt at second base.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Madison Bumgarner Could Return Shortly After May 25]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122173 2018-05-13T17:47:47Z 2018-05-13T17:30:38Z
  • The Giants are taking an aggressive approach in ace Madison Bumgarner’s recovery from a fractured pinky finger, Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group relays. Manager Bruce Bochy indicated that Bumgarner may only need one rehab start and could return shortly after May 25, when he’s eligible to come off the 60-day DL. Bumgarner hasn’t pitched yet this year, and his debut will be an especially timely one for a San Francisco team that just lost fellow front-of-the-rotation starter Johnny Cueto for up to two months with an elbow strain.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Hunter Pence May Not Return During Upcoming Week]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122166 2018-05-13T00:49:57Z 2018-05-13T00:49:33Z
  • The Giants aren’t going to bring left fielder Hunter Pence off the DL during the upcoming week unless they’re convinced he’ll provide a boost to their offense, Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group writes. The 35-year-old Pence was unable to help San Francisco before going on the DL three-plus weeks ago with a thumb issue, as he hit .172/.197/.190 and posted a minus-1 wRC+ across 61 trips to the plate. Now, thanks to his early season woes and manager Bruce Bochy’s desire to carry an extra pitcher, Pence’s return may be delayed.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[West Notes: CarGo, Fowler, Pence]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122104 2018-05-12T15:37:25Z 2018-05-12T15:37:25Z A combination of poor offensive output and surging young Rockies outfielders staking claims to playing time has led to an unusual “platoon” situation for Carlos Gonzalez, as Kyle Newman of the Denver Post writes. CarGo is hitting just .236/.278/.427 on the season with three homers, while David Dahl and Noel Cuevas both boast wRC+ figures above 100 (though each has a BABIP above .420). Gerrardo Parra has also seen a reduction in playing time thanks to the young duo’s hot streaks. Newman notes that manager Bud Black is making his lineup card each day with many factors each day, including rest, pitching matchups and the hot hand. Gonzalez signed a one-year, $8MM deal with the Rockies this past season after struggling for much of 2017.

    A pair of other items out of the West…

    • Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that the Athletics could start running more often following the promotion of speedy outfielder Dustin Fowler to the big league club. Enter Thursday’s game, Slusser notes that the A’s were just 7-for-14 in steal attempts on the season; those steals and steals attempts totals both rank second to last in the majors. In the meantime, Fowler was 8-for-10 during his time in Triple-A this year. Manager Bob Melvin describes Fowler as a “true base stealer”. Said Fowler on the subject:  “That’s something I’ve worked on my whole career, so I’d like to step it up and see how I can do at the big-league level as much as I can.” 
    • Giants outfielder Hunter Pence has reportedly resumed his rehab assignment (h/t Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports). Pence, who has been on the DL since April 20th after suffering a thumb injury, was originally expected to miss no more than the ten-day minimum. However, Pence began feeling some recurring thumb soreness during his initial rehab assignment, necessitating a retreat from playing in games for a bit. That was only five days ago, so it appears the setback wasn’t viewed as particularly serious. With Mac Williamson still being held out of games following concussion symptoms, the Giants will hope they can get Pence back into their depleted outfield mix sooner than later.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giants To Place Johnny Cueto On 60-Day DL, Select Contract Of Jose Valdez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121991 2018-05-10T15:33:37Z 2018-05-10T15:33:37Z The Giants have announced some pitching-related roster moves, as Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area was among those to report (Twitter links). Starter Johnny Cueto will move from the 10-day to the 60-day DL to open a 40-man spot for fellow righty Jose Valdez.

    Meanwhile, relievers Derek Law and Josh Osich have each been optioned to Triple-A. The latter had been on the DL with a hip strain after struggling in the majors to open the year.

    With the move, the Giants are making a somewhat early call on the length of Cueto’s absence. It had been suggested he would miss six to eight weeks with a forearm strain. With today’s placement, though, Cueto won’t be able to return until June 29, by the calculation of Pavlovic (Twitter link).

    By making the move now, the San Francisco organization will have another 40-man spot to work with. That should help the team keep the bullpen fresh, which in turn will help weather the absence of Cueto — particularly while Madison Bumgarner is also working back from the DL.

    The 28-year-old Valdez has thrown 50 1/3 innings in the majors over the past three years. This will be his first stint with the Giants after brief runs in the bigs with three other team. Thus far in 2018, Valdez has worked to a 3.71 ERA with 13.8 K/9 and 5.8 BB/9 through 17 innings over a dozen appearances at Triple-A.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cueto Shut Down For Two Weeks, Pitched Through "Unbearable" Pain]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121870 2018-05-09T03:41:35Z 2018-05-08T22:09:13Z
  • Johnny Cueto will be shut down entirely for the next two weeks as he rests a sprain in his right elbow, per Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic (Twitter links). The Giants righty told reporters today that he pitched through “unbearable” pain in each of his final three starts before landing on the disabled list. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that Cueto had mentally prepared himself for the news that he was going to require Tommy John surgery and miss the remainder of the season.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mets Expect To Trade Matt Harvey]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121823 2018-05-08T21:22:27Z 2018-05-08T21:22:35Z May 8: The Mets have been trying to add a catcher in return for Harvey, per Mike Puma of the New York Post (Twitter link). Puma adds that the Padres are also in the mix for Harvey.

    May 7: The Mets are “confident” they will strike a deal involving righty Matt Harvey, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). At this point, says Rosenthal, there are “four to five teams interested” in taking a chance on the former ace.

    Harvey was formally designated for assignment on May 5th, meaning his situation will be resolved one way or another by Saturday the 12th. If he’s not traded, Harvey would need to go onto waivers; if he were then to pass through unclaimed, he’d hit the open market (whether by release or by rejecting an outright assignment).

    We checked in earlier today on some teams with varying degrees of interest in Harvey. The Giants seem clearly to be involved, though their interest level isn’t clear. (Andy Martino of SNY.tv tweets there’s “very strong” interest, while MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports (via Twitter) that it’s much more tepid, with some significant roadblocks to a swap.) Martino adds the Reds as a possibility, joining the previously reported Mariners in that regard. And Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets that the White Sox are also in the mix. There’s some uncertainty about the status of the Orioles, but they are among the organizations that would make some degree of sense on paper.

    Of course, we’ve also seen plenty of reports of other teams that will not be in on the 29-year-old. It appears the Rangers have decided against pursuing Harvey in a trade scenario despite giving it serious consideration. Otherwise, the RaysTigersRed Sox, and Yankees are said not to be involved.

    If a deal does, in fact, get done, Rosenthal says not to expect the Mets to shave away much salary. With something on the order of $4.5MM still owed to Harvey for the rest of the season, the New York organization anticipates paying the “vast majority” in hopes of securing “something in return” in a deal.

    Reading the tea leaves, then, the Mets aren’t really looking for a MLB asset back that might offset some of the Harvey commitment. It’s possible the team will be able to find another organization willing to give a bit of young talent, but it’ll take deft work for GM Sandy Alderson to achieve significant value.

    Harvey, after all, has managed only a 5.93 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in his 212 1/3 innings since the start of the 2016 season. His velocity has continued to trail off as the arm injuries have mounted. As outstanding as he was before a procedure to address thoracic outlet syndrome, Harvey has struggled badly ever since.

    Clearly, some front offices around the game still think that Harvey can at least deliver some useful innings from the back of a rotation. Just what they’ll give up to find out remains to be seen.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Matt Harvey]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121788 2018-05-08T01:20:04Z 2018-05-07T22:42:36Z 5:40pm: While the Rangers have discussed pursuit of Harvey, per MLB.com’s TR Sullivan (via Twitter), the organization won’t trade for him. Indeed, GM Jon Daniels confirmed as much in an appearance on 105.3 The Fan (Twitter link). Of course, it still seems possible the organization could be involved if Harvey reaches the open market.

    2:36pm: The Giants have also discussed taking a flyer on Harvey, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. San Francisco learned today that Johnny Cueto will miss the next six to eight weeks, and Madison Bumgarner remains on the disabled list until late May. They’ve been plugging in a struggling Derek Holland in the fifth spot in their rotation, though it’s not clear at all if Harvey would represent an upgrade.

    12:51pm: Following one of the most high-profile DFAs in recent memory, the Mets appear to be generating some interest in former ace Matt Harvey. Andy Martino of SNY reports that that the Rangers and Mariners both have some degree of interest in acquiring the righty. MLB.com’s Jon Morosi wrote this morning that Texas’ interest is “mild,” while Martino indicates that Rangers assistant pitching coach Dan Warthen is pushing the organization to roll the dice on Harvey. Warthen was his pitching coach with the Mets prior to 2018.

    While Morosi speculates about the possibility of the Orioles and Mets lining up on a deal, Martino hears that the O’s don’t have much in the way of interest. Baltimore did check in on Harvey over the winter, but Martino reports that the Mets circled back to the O’s prior to designating Harvey for assignment and found “little interest” despite the disastrous results of the Baltimore rotation thus far in 2018.

    It’s not a huge surprise to see the Rangers connected to Harvey, given not only Warthen’s presence in the organization but also the team’s general approach to adding arms this offseason. The Rangers shopped for volume this winter, stockpiling veteran arms on low-cost deals (in many instances on minor league contracts) in an effort to bolster their organizational depth. Payroll was a factor in Texas’ approach, so it seems unlikely that they’d take on the full chunk of Harvey’s remaining contract — about $4.43MM — but the Mets will almost certainly be willing to include cash in any deal. The alternative, after all, is to release Harvey and simply pay him the money is owed anyway.

    As for the Mariners, they’ve endured plenty of rotation struggles of their own. James Paxton’s 4.19 ERA leads Seattle starters, and their rotation as a whole has pitched to a 5.30 earned run average. There’s likely been some poor fortune at play — both xFIP and SIERA peg Mariners starters at 4.05 as a group — but the bottom-line results have not been encouraging. Erasmo Ramirez just went back on the disabled list as well, prompting the Mariners to move veteran Wade LeBlanc from a long relief role into the fifth starter’s slot.

    It seems decidedly unlikely that the Mets would receive much in the way of a significant return for Harvey, whose struggles date back to Opening Day 2017. He’s earning $5.6MM this season, is a free agent in November and has undergone both Tommy John and thoracic outlet surgery — both of which (especially the latter) have contributed to his rapid decline.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Johnny Cueto Out Six To Eight Weeks With Elbow Sprain]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121789 2018-05-07T17:32:25Z 2018-05-07T17:30:58Z 12:30pm: Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets that Cueto’s timeline to return is actually six to eight weeks.

    12:21pm: There’s been no shortage of worry over the status of Johnny Cueto’s elbow following last week’s placement on the DL and visit to multiple specialists, including Dr. James Andrews. FanRag’s Jon Heyman, however, tweets that the Giants received relatively good news on their righty. While Cueto has been diagnosed with a sprain in the elbow, he’s avoided a major tear of the ulnar collateral ligament. Dr. Andrews prescribed rest for Cueto, and he’s expected to miss six weeks of action, per Heyman.

    Certainly, a six-week absence for Cueto, who stormed out of the gates hotter than almost any pitcher on the planet, is a critical blow for the Giants. But Cueto has obviously avoided a worst-case scenario by receiving a non-surgical treatment plan. With Cueto and Madison Bumgarner on the shelf for the time being, the Giants will continue to turn to Jeff Samardzija, Chris Stratton, Ty Blach, Derek Holland and Andrew Suarez in the rotation, with Tyler Beede waiting in the wings at Triple-A Sacramento should another need arise in the starting corps.

    The 2017 season was one to forget for Cueto, who was limited to 147 2/3 innings by a flexor strain and struggled to a 4.52 ERA in that time. Last year’s struggles prompted Cueto to forgo the opt-out provision in his six-year deal with the Giants, and early on, it looked like a blessing in disguise for San Francisco. Cueto took the NL by storm in April, tossing 32 innings with a 0.84 ERA, 7.3 K/9, 1.7 BB/9 and a 45 percent ground-ball rate. He allowed just one homer in his 32 frames before landing on the DL with what was initially termed inflammation before an MRI and a series of evaluations.

    San Francisco has remained afloat in the division with a 19-15 record, four games back from the Diamondbacks for the NL West lead, and just completed a sweep of an exciting young Braves team over the weekend. The loss of Cueto for an extended period will give the club a lengthy look at Suarez, who has admittedly been quite impressive in his first three starts as a big leaguer (3.06 ERA, 18-to-2 K/BB ratio, 53.3 percent ground-ball rate in 17 2/3 innings). The former second-round pick could position himself to seize a long-term starting job for the Giants if he continues at anywhere near that pace.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Would Matt Harvey Be A Fit For The Giants?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121762 2018-05-07T04:58:44Z 2018-05-07T04:58:44Z
  • The Giants could be a potential fit as a suitor for Matt Harvey, as the former Mets ace’s arm intrigues some members of San Francisco organization, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (via Twitter).  Rather than take on the extra salary that would come with claiming or trading for Harvey during his DFA period, Schulman figures the Giants will wait until he hits the open market before considering a pursuit.  The Giants have little salary room to spare as they aim to stay under the $187MM luxury tax limit, so their obvious preference is to sign Harvey for a prorated minimum salary.
  • Braves pitching prospect Mike Soroka’s second career MLB start wasn’t nearly as impressive as his first, as Soroka allowed four earned runs over four innings today against the Giants.  Manager Brian Snitker told MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (Twitter link) and other media that Soroka is scheduled to make his next start, with an implication being that Atlanta isn’t planning to demote the 20-year-old anytime soon.  Anibal Sanchez is still sidelined with a hamstring injury, and will likely be moved to relief pitching when he returns so the Braves can give Soroka a fuller look in his first taste of the majors.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mac Williamson's Return Not Imminent]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121717 2018-05-06T21:30:31Z 2018-05-06T21:30:34Z
  • Giants outfielder Mac Williamson’s return from the seven-day concussion DL isn’t imminent, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle suggests. Williamson, who suffered the injury April 24, will likely need a rehab assignment even when he’s healthy enough to play again, Schulman notes. As such, he might not suit up again for the Giants until mid-May or later.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Giants Sign Ryan Hanigan]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121711 2018-05-06T17:58:19Z 2018-05-06T17:58:57Z The Giants have signed catcher Ryan Hanigan to a minor league contract, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets.

    The 37-year-old Hanigan was most recently with the Indians, who signed him to a minors pact in February but released him a month later. While Hanigan has enjoyed some success during his time in the majors, which began with the Reds in 2007, he hasn’t been able to find a big league deal since the Red Sox declined his $3.75MM option after the 2016 season. Nevertheless, he did reach the majors last year as a member of the Rockies, with whom he hit .267/.324/.347 in 112 plate appearances.

    Given the Giants’ depth behihnd the plate, returning to the bigs in San Francisco looks as though it’ll be a tall order for Hanigan. Backup Nick Hundley has been outstanding this year behind all-world starter Buster Posey, and the Giants also have promising prospect Aramis Garcia in Double-A (he’s on their 40-man roster) and veterans Hector Sanchez and Trevor Brown at Triple-A.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mac Williamson Still "Woozy," Won't Return Sunday]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121665 2018-05-06T03:38:35Z 2018-05-06T03:38:00Z
  • Giants outfielder Mac Williamson won’t come off the seven-day concussion disabled list Sunday, manager Bruce Bochy announced (Twitter link via Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group). Williamson is still “woozy,” according to Bochy. As Crowley notes, that suggests Williamson is continuing to deal with symptoms from the head injury he suffered April 24. The Giants have gone an impressive 7-3 since then, even though Williamson may have been in the very early stages of a breakout season prior to going on the DL.
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