How Farhan Zaidi and the Giants view MLB’s next trade deadline
SAN FRANCISCO — Farhan Zaidi is coming two decades into a Major League Baseball front office, and he can’t remember a deadline that was better for buyers than the one he saw last July. The state of that market was perfect for a Giants team going to win the division, and Zaidi and Scott Harris made their biggest hit yet by trading for Kris Bryant.
With three weeks to go until this year’s deadline, it’s unclear how the market will develop, but Zaidi expects similar momentum. It’s just not entirely certain that the Giants will be in the middle this time around.
During a lengthy session with reporters on Tuesday, Zaidi said he hoped to add to this current Giants roster before the Aug. 2 deadline, but the front office also needs to see some more. a team that played pretty bad baseball for a few weeks. before chaining four victories in the last five days.
What Zaidi doesn’t expect, however, is for the Giants to become sellers.
“We haven’t even had those conversations yet,” he said. “We really haven’t had that many conversations with other teams. We’re starting to take a few calls and I think we’re ready to listen, but I think until the last week of July it’s kinda wheel-spinning because that’s a lot of the context and the situation.”
That can change in nine innings, as the Giants showed in the hours after Zaidi’s media session. They demolished the Arizona Diamondbacks in one of their best overall performances of the year, capping a strong day at Oracle Park that began with the news that Carlos Rodón will be an All-Star.
Rodón represents one of the Giants’ best moves in recent offseasons, but also potentially an opportunity. If the Giants made him available, he would probably be the best pitcher around. There was speculation from national reporters that Rodón could be moved if the Giants continue to lose and Zaidi saw it.
But he also knows the Giants are just one game away from Wild Card third place and that Rodón could start Game 1 of any playoff series.
“I take it personally. I hope other guys take it personally,” he said of the Giants’ inclusion on trade goal lists. “You don’t want to be viewed as a seller when you’re trying to compete. That’s our perspective. We know it’s going to be out there, but our goal will be to get to July 31 (and) August 1. into a playoff position, where we’re looking to see if we can improve our team.”
Zaidi is in his fourth season in charge, but he’s only had two real trade deadlines because of the pandemic. In 2019, a hot streak fueled by Alex Dickerson led to Zaidi keeping the team together rather than trading Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith. Two years later, he made a Bryant trade which he has since called an “all-in” move.
That deadline is shaping up — at least right now — to be less dramatic. Zaidi said he’d like to add if the Giants go for it, but at the moment it’s also not a team that would motivate leaders to give up good rental prospects. Even with the last five days, the Giants are only 45-42.
The most obvious hole in the roster is in the rotation after Anthony DeSclafani’s ankle surgery, but the Giants expect Jakob Junis to come back full force early in the second half. Junis, who has a 2.63 ERA, said his hamstrings felt good and his arm got a break, which could come in handy. Assuming Junis returns next week, Zaidi said he “wouldn’t expect us to be in the starting pitcher market.”
The Giants could definitely use another arm late in the inning, but bidding for top relievers tends to get a little wild at the deadline. Zaidi sold several of his bullpen arms in 2019 and noted that the most worthy bullpen trades often don’t work.
As for the struggling roster, Zaidi expressed confidence in his veterans and said a lot of what the Giants do will be determined by their health.
“We go around the diamond and we still have position players that we believe in who were part of our success last year and who we think can continue to be part of our success,” he said. declared.
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Zaidi is also somewhat eager to take a look at some of the new giants. Tuesday’s roster included Yermin Mercedes and Austin Wynns, who were acquired during the season, as well as David Villar and Luis Gonzalez, who started the year in the minors. Zaidi said it was natural to speed up some internal reviews as the deadline approached.
“You want to see them in an expanded role and see if they can handle it,” he said. “It’s part of the thought process.”
The Giants still love the roster they’ve built, but as they’ve shown in recent days, they’re at the point where big changes can happen quickly. Last year’s closest Jake McGee was DFA over the weekend, and Tuesday’s youth move was certainly a different look. Several veterans have lost playing time in recent weeks as the crises have worsened.
Just three games over .500, the Giants have been a disappointment, a team that sits right in the middle of the pack. This made it difficult to really commit to a path before the deadline, but they still have three weeks to find out.
“A lot can happen in three weeks,” Zaidi said.
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