Category Archives: San Francisco Giants Pro Shop

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SAN FRANCISCO — The decision to non-tender Kevin Pillar, like several others made over the past year, was not a popular one with Giants fans.

Pillar was a Willie Mac Award winner who did two things that fans could easily cheer: Hit home runs and make diving catches.

Go on Twitter and you’ll find fans who say they won’t attend a game next season and a weird contingent that believes Farhan Zaidi is a secret agent still working for the Dodgers. But all that anger ignores one key fact. The man who decided to move on from Pillar is the same one who acquired him a week into the season for two players who are no longer with the Blue Jays and one who had an 8.11 ERA in the minors.

The Giants hired Zaidi to make good decisions, and there’s no doubt that the trade for Pillar was a brilliant one. Zaidi believes moving on after one season is the right move, too, and time will tell if he’s correct.

What we know for now is that there’s no going back, and there will be a new look in center field. In a conversation on Monday afternoon, Zaidi said the emphasis will be on adding production to the corner outfield spots. It’s hard to find a good center fielder in free agency anyway, so the Giants will go young and go in-house.

Here’s what that might look like in 2020:

The Favorite
Mike Yastrzemski got just 30 innings in center field last season because Pillar was an everyday player, but he generally looked comfortable out there, and he should. Yastrzemski actually has more minor league starts in center field (224) than any other position, and he has over 2,000 professional innings of experience in the middle of the outfield.

Yastrzemski probably won’t be climbing many walls or diving nearly as often as Pillar did, but he did a nice job in the corners last year and was worth seven Defensive Runs Saved in right field and eight overall.

The Giants are fully confident that Yastrzemski can handle center field at Oracle Park — the dimensions are shrinking a bit, too — and if the season started today he would be their center fielder.

The Young Guys
A year ago at this time, Steven Duggar was the Center Fielder of the Future. Duggar is still just 26 years old and is expected to be 100 percent for spring training after another season-ending shoulder injury.

The Giants can’t go into 2020 counting on much from Duggar, but they certainly are hoping for a breakthrough. If he improves his plate discipline and taps into his natural speed, Duggar could be the everyday center fielder. He’s the organization’s best defensive center fielder and would have been even if Pillar was brought back.

Jaylin Davis is another player the Giants want to take a long look at, although he has just 30 minor league starts in center field. Davis may see time out there in the big leagues, but he’s more likely to benefit from the Pillar decision in a different way. With Yastrzemski set for lots of time in center, Davis — a 25-year-old who hit 35 homers in the minors last year — will have an opportunity to win at-bats in one of the corner spots. The same holds true for Austin Slater and potentially Chris Shaw.

The Wild Card
When Zaidi traded a week of strong Drew Pomeranz relief appearances for Mauricio Dubon, he mentioned that one thing the Giants loved about Dubon was his potential as a super-utility player. On deadline day, Zaidi compared Dubon to Chris Taylor, but another Dodger could be a better fit. Kiké Hernandez mostly started at second base for the Dodgers last year but also made 43 appearances in the outfield, and Dubon is expected to shag plenty of fly balls next spring.

Given where the roster is right now, Dubon is also the starting second baseman and a strong option to split time with Brandon Crawford at shortstop. But if he can handle center field, the Giants would have more of the flexibility they’re seeking. They plan to be active in the infield market this offseason. If they add another middle infielder who hits right-handed, could you see that player at shortstop against left-handers with Donovan Solano at second and Dubon in center?

The Future
When the Giants drafted Heliot Ramos in 2017, some scouts predicted he would move to right field. But the Giants have kept Ramos in center and there’s no indication that he’ll need to be moved next season. There were fears that Ramos would outgrow the position as he hit his early 20s, but he appeared slimmed down in the Arizona Fall League and the Giants will keep him in the middle of the diamond for now.

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The San Francisco Giants are among the teams showing interest in Nicholas Castellanos, per a report from Jon Paul Morosi. They are one of at least four teams connected to the free agent corner outfielder.

Who is Nicholas Castellanos, you ask? No, seriously, who is he?

/rapidly types in Google

Apparently, he is a baseball player. Drafted in the first round by the Detroit Tigers in 2010, he made his debut a few years later. He was pretty good, netting some Rookie of the Year votes in 2014, then he got even gooder, posting an OPS+ of 120 or greater in three of the last four seasons. He also hates the Players’ Weekend uniforms and is iffy about the use of analytics in today’s modern game. So, one of us!

He also hits lots of homers and lots of doubles.

He finished this past season with the Chicago Cubs after getting traded for a couple of pitchers in the low minors at the deadline. His numbers were okay in Detroit—.273/.328/.462, good for an OPS+ of 105—but once he arrived to Chicago, he turned into the second coming of Alex Dickerson. In 51 games, he hit .321/.356/.646, smashing 16 home runs and 21 doubles, resulting in a 151 OPS+.

He grades out as a below-average glove and a mediocre baserunner. Baseball Reference lists him as a third baseman and rightfielder, but he hasn’t touched an infielder’s glove since 2017, and for a very good reason. In 2017 alone, he committed 18 errors and totaled up a whopping -14 DRS at the hot corner.

But, you know, dingers.

Did I embed his first career homer just because he hit it against the Dodgers? Maybe.

Castellanos is young—he’ll turn 28 in March—and because of the trade, he has no pesky qualifying offer to worry about. His defense might be awful, but his experience at third and in the outfield offers at least the façade of positional flexibility.

Most importantly, it’s worth remembering that this guy is in the front office.

MLB: 2019 Spring Training Media Days
MFW SB Nation’s photo tool doesn’t have an image of Scott Harris. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
That’s Scott Harris That’s Farhan Zaidi, who you may or may not remember hired Scott Harris, the Giants’ new GM. Not coincidentally, Harris was part of the front office that traded for Castellanos in the first place, so he clearly sees something in the guy.

The question, of course, is will Castellanos want to sign with the Giants, who are A) bad and will be bad for the foreseeable future, and B) play in a park that depresses offensive value. As a righty, Castellanos’ power shouldn’t see too much of an impact. However, if you watched that first video, you may have noticed something curious.

How many of those opposite field home runs get sucked into the vortex that’s slowly eating away at Brandon Belt’s soul? It’s clear that Castellanos is at his best when he can use all the fields, and Oracle Park offers him one huge, brick wall–shaped obstacle in that regard.

At any rate, Castellanos was pretty open about how much he hated Comerica Park’s dimensions, so it will definitely be a factor in where he signs.

But hey, you never know! Maybe the Giants put that $10 million they saved from non-tendering Kevin Pillar to good use and come in second place in the free agent sweepstakes!

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As things currently stand, the San Francisco Giants might not be incredibly fun to watch in 2020.

In fact, barring the re-signing Madison Bumgarner or the addition of another big-time player through free agency or trade, things could get downright boring.

However, one of the more interesting things to watch will be the progression of their young players, including Mike Yastrzemski, Mauricio Dubon, and Logan Webb as they enter their sophomore season.

At the same time, it will also be worth watching how top prospects Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos perform in the minors early in the season, and if they can prove they are ready for the big leagues in 2020.

There’s a good chance that one, if not both of them, will play for the MLB squad this coming season.

While both players ended the 2019 season at Double-A, Bart is two years older and arguably the more polished all-around prospect. That said, he’s lost some developmental time to injury, and will need to stay healthy going forward.

The 22-year-old hit .316/.368/.544 in 22 games with Double-A Richmond to close out the regular season, and he was arguably the most impressive player in the Arizona Fall League before he fractured his thumb on a hit by pitch.

In the 10 games he was able to play pre-injury, he hit .333/.524/.767 with four home runs and 10 RBI while tallying more walks (9) than strikeouts (7) in 42 plate appearances.

Ramos also played in the AFL, though his performance was decidedly less impressive. In 17 games, he hit .185/.250/.262 with 23 strikeouts in 72 plate appearances.

These are small sample sizes for sure, but it’s enough to give you the sense that Bart might be the first one to arrive in the majors.

That’s not to say Ramos hasn’t provided plenty of reason for optimism after hitting an impressive .290/.369/.481 with 24 doubles and 16 home runs in 102 games between High-A and Double-A. Of equal importance, he raised his walk rate from 6.5 to 9.5 percent, showing a more refined approach.

Both players could start the season at Triple-A, which would leave them one hot streak away from providing the MLB lineup with a boost.

However, versatility enthusiast Farhan Zaidi has said he wants Bart to learn another position, so that could delay his call-up. As for Ramos, he took significant steps forward in 2019, but he still has plenty of developing to do since he won’t turn 21 until next September.

I’ll say Bart sees the majors by midseason, while Ramos has to wait until September to get his shot, meaning both players make their San Francisco Giants debut in 2020.

No matter what, we should all look forward to these youngsters possibly contributing to the big league team in the near future. With Madison Bumgarner on his way out the door and Buster Posey in decline, they could be the future faces of the franchise.

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The Giants have signed lefty Tyler Anderson to a one-year, Major League contract, the team announced Tuesday evening. Anderson, who was claimed off waivers out of the Rockies organization, had been non-tendered yesterday. Terms of the contract weren’t disclosed, but it’s safe to assume that the GSE Worldwide client will take home less than the $2.625MM he’d been projected to earn in arbitration.

Anderson, 30 later this month, underwent knee surgery over the summer and was limited to 20 2/3 innings with the Rockies in 2019 as a result. The former first-round pick had an impressive debut season with the Rox in 2016 when he pitched 114 1/3 innings of 3.54 ERA ball with 7.8 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a hefty 50.9 percent ground-ball rate. But Anderson’s results took a turn for the worse in 2017-18, as his ground-ball rate deteriorated and he became increasingly homer prone. Anderson did rack up 176 innings and make 32 starts for Colorado as recently as 2018, and he has a minor league option remaining, making him a somewhat intriguing depth piece for the Giants in 2020.

Anderson isn’t likely to be guaranteed a job in the rotation next season, but there’s enough uncertainty on the Giants’ starting staff that he should have ample opportunity to vie for a spot this spring. Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija have starting spots locked down, but the remaining spots currently look to be up for grabs in a competition featuring Anderson, Tyler Beede, Conner Menez, Logan Webb, Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez. That mix would change, of course, if (or perhaps when) the Giants make some additions via free agency or the trade market.

If Anderson is able to return to form, the Giants will be able to control him through the 2021 season via arbitration.

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The Giants kicked off free agency by extending qualifying offers to Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith. But on day two, they did what they spent a great deal of last year doing: adding players to the 40-man roster who had been discarded by other organizations.

The new Moneyball isn’t about exploiting the market’s inefficiencies to collect overlooked players and skills, it’s about self improvement and internal discipline. Can the Giants renovate their development pipeline to make good players great and former fodder-types good? That’s the gambit they and most of the top teams employ and it’s the path the Giants have taken in order to catch up.

I’ll admit it’s tough to get excited about waiver claims because the idea that one of them could become a star doesn’t stick after the first couple of times. A year into the Zaidi Method and my opinion of the lottery ticket development system is that the metaphor doesn’t really work. It’s more like a raffle. There’s always the potential for a prize to be really great, but most of the time, it’s just free junk you never really needed or if it is, it’s something you could’ve bought with your own money and to your own specifications.

Like the two qualifying offer players, the trio of adds don’t figure to stick around in 2020, but let’s dive in anyway. That’s the thing about the churn: it doesn’t matter what you do because it never stops.

Rico Garcia – RHP
We got word of this single transaction via a tweet earlier in the day and little did we know it would be the tip of the iceberg. At the time I saw the tweet, it felt a little exciting, as though the Giants had fleeced the Rockies for the second time this offseason. MLB.com currently ranks him as Colorado’s #20 prospect.

While he is just 5-foot-11, Garcia still manages to get good downhill plane, and his fearlessness on the mound helps his stuff play up. Thanks to a structured throwing program, he’s managed to add 3-4 mph on his fastball since signing and will sit in the low-90s with the ability to reach back for more with his four-seamer on occasion, while his two-seamer has cutting action to it. His breaking ball can be a plus pitch, with late knee-buckling action to it, thrown in the 80-81 mph range. His changeup gives him what should be a solid third option.

FanGraphs had some nice things to say, too:

Garcia will sit 93-96 and touch 97 early in outings but lose command and zip later in starts. There are a variety of opinions about Garcia’s delivery, as one source thinks his deliberately paced mechanics are easy for hitters to time, while another thinks Garcia hides the ball really well. He’ll flash an above-average changeup and slider, and shows an ability to manipulate the fastball to sink and cut at various times. He’s more of a middle relief candidate than potential rotation piece, but it appears Colorado has found a big league piece in the 30th round.

Hmm. Short stature but big heart? A starter who could also be a reliever? Structured throwing program? Has all the makings of a teachable player with an industry consensus projection as a borderline major league-caliber player (40 Overall on MLB.com; 35 Future Value on FanGraphs)? Woo-hoo!

He was a 30th round pick by the Rockies in 2016 out of Division II Hawaii Pacific University, the only school to offer him the chance to pitch after high school. On the day of the draft, he was in touch with a professional team in Germany who wanted to sign him (read this interview with him on MiLB.com). Three years later, he made his major league debut, an August start against the Red Sox.

His legal name is Josh, but there were too many Joshes in his youth so he went with Rico. He turns 26 in January and has three option years remaining. He’s just 5-11, 190 lbs, but what he lacks in height he makes up for with heart and an open mind.

“Being a 30th-round pick and having the first season that I did and going to extended and back to Boise, it was kind of a downer,” Garcia admitted. “But I’m not the type of guy who will put my head down and be quiet. I’m going to continue gathering all the information that I can. I just talk to my teammates and coaches. That’s probably been the biggest part of my journey so far.”

The way the Rockies saw it, the struggles only made Garcia study even harder at how to get pro hitters out with his three-pitch combination.

We can only assume the Rockies called him “RiGa”, as per the franchise’s storied nicknaming convention.

He ran though Colorado’s system as a starter but he might wind up being more of a long reliever type. He doesn’t have an overpowering fastball, but it does play up in shorter stints. He’s on the Giants because he’s better than what they already had. But also,

He turns 26 in January and has three option years remaining.

Taken together, his interesting backstory, willingness to learn, hard-to-pin down projected role, and quality skill set make him a perfect project player and raffle ticket grab.

Standout number(s)
It’s important to remember that any player the Giants add meets some base level of criteria they use to evaluate players. A track record of some sort is mandatory. From there, the distinction is all about ability, which again, the organization seeks to manage as part of their new development system.

So, here’s the main standout number that points to the cover quality bound to the book of all the player’s traits: 9.0

That’s his minor league career K/9. He has 400 strikeouts in 400.2 MiLB innings to just 128 walks. That’s . . . really good. Earlier this year, he set a Hartford Yard Goats single-game strikeout record with 11 as part of a strong Double-A campaign (1.85 ERA, 87 K in 68 IP).

Churnover odds
A young arm with strikeout stuff, the potential to start or relieve, and three options remaining makes him a 4/4 on the Farhan Scale, but all of these churnover odds will be based on the probability that they hang on the roster through the entire season. The Giants used 64 players last year (an NL record) and with a 26-man active roster for 2020, figure that record will be broken.

Garcia really struggled once he got to Triple-A and used the Major League Ball (6.90 ERA in 61.1 IP), and his size doesn’t do him any favors, but if he’s truly Drivelined his delivery to success, he’s going to continue to find work. Will that be in the Giants organization? I don’t know how to calculate odds, so I’ll say he has a 33.3% chance of not being churned over. For now, let’s enjoy this hasty Photoshop job on MLB.com:

Kean Wong
Hey! It’s Kolten’s brother! And another player from Hawaii. FanGraphs rated him as the Rays’ #28 prospect at season’s end, giving him a future value (FV) of 40, which means bench player. Before you guffaw, for the cost of a waiver claim, the Giants just added a 24-year old left-handed utility player with three options remaining.

From FanGraphs:

We don’t think he plays every day, but lefty bats with that kind of positional flexibility are good role players, and Wong is ready for the big leagues right now. The infield situation in Tampa Bay is very crowded and Wong may need a change of scenery to get an opportunity.

Welcome!

It should be noted that although he made his major league debut for them, he didn’t end his season with the Rays: the Angels grabbed him as a waiver claim at the end of September. The Rays waived him because of their extreme crunch in terms of infield talent. Must be nice. The Angels waived him this week and after playing just one game (he started and had a strikeout) for reasons.

In the meantime, please enjoy this hasty Photoshop job on MLB.com:

Standout number(s)
5. That’s the number of positions he’s played in the minors: second, third, left field, center field, and right field. He’s the purest version of a utility player who doesn’t figure to hit much (career minor line of .287/.342/.383).

Churnover odds
Zaidi loves him some positional versatility and Wong’s age, option situation, and pedigree (being Kolten Wong’s brother doesn’t guarantee a solid major league career, but he’s off to a good start, comparison-wise) seems to make him a decent bet to hang around. You could also get cartoony in the analysis here and think that a Rays castoff is better than the average castoff.

Wong’s situation differs from Garcia’s, too, in that the Giants already have a bunch of interesting arms in the system but very little by way of talented middle infielders. Again, not knowing how to calculate odds, I’ll give him a 66.7% chance of avoiding The Churn.

Trevor Oaks
Burch Smith finally has a companion tree in Trevor Oaks, another right-handed pitcher who, like Burch, is a starter/reliever. The Dodgers drafted him in 2014, just before Farhan Zaidi became the GM, and then was traded by Zaidi to the Royals in the deal that netted the Dodgers . . . uh . . . well, it was a three-team trade with the White Sox, too, and uh . . . hmm, carry the one . . . I see it now — for utility infielder Jake Peter and the cursed 1980s TV mechanic character-looking mustache of lefty reliever Scott Alexander:

As convoluted as the trade was, Oaks’ skill set is not. He’s a groundball pitcher in a launch angle world, relying primarily on a sinker-slider combination, all pitches averaging 89 mph or less. We might all be aware of the dwindling efficacy of a major league sinker, but look at what Statcast considers to be his slider:

That looks like a changeup, but the data doesn’t credit it as such. Also, it’s pretty devastating.

His prospects going forward look to be pretty good, actually. While he’s been a sinker-slider guy for most of his career, he also throws a cutter. The Giants remade Trevor Gott by getting him to ditch his sinker in favor of his four-seamer and last week they claimed Tyler Anderson from the Rockies who also has an effective cutter that could be harnessed better than his other fastballs, so maybe, just maybe, the Giants have a plan in place for a former Farhan farmhand.

Standout number(s)
5.3%.

That’s his minor league walk rate. It pairs with a greater than 50% groundball rate in 532.1 minor league innings. Groundball pitchers do still exist in the modern game and aren’t any worse than pitchers who don’t get a high volume of groundballs. It’s the sinker pitch that’s going away, but there are other ways of inducing weak contact and grounders, and if the Giants can harness Oaks’ natural sink and he can translate his minor league walk rate into something similar at the major league level, then they might have something. It’s the lack of velocity that gets in the way of an orgiastic projection.

Churnover odds
Oaks turns 27 at the end of Spring Training and even though he’ll have two options remaining, his generally soft repertoire might not help him keep up with whatever competition the Giants bring to camp. He certainly gets credit for being a guy Farhan Zaidi remembers and that might just well mean there’s something in his skill set they’re keen to unlock or continue developing, but on paper, I’m seeing a 90% chance of churn. So, get what will probably be your first and only look at the guy in a Giants hat:

The Giants’ 40-man roster is now full. The GM meetings begin next week, so either the Giants don’t plan to make any moves in the near-term or they’re getting ready to make many moves in the near term and plan to coincide their activity with whatever’s about to happen in Scottsdale. Yeah, there’s an excellent chance the Giants will try to sneak one, two, or all three of these guys through waivers as teams make free agent moves and trades.

The whole point of The Churn is to upgrade the back of the roster on the cheap. To that end, Garcia, Wong, and Oaks take the places of Kyle Barraclough, Mike Gerber, and Ricardo Pinto, who were all recently designated for assignment. Wong is three years younger and at least two positions more versatile than Geber; Garcia and Oaks can both start and relieve and have options available to them. They’re not the power arms, but they’re more versatile with more potential upside, and if the planned development system is fully operational, should make excellent candidates for improvement through it.

If it all works out, the Giants will have added a versatile utility infielder to spell or displace Brandon Crawford, Mauricio Dubon, and/or Donovan Solano, and two pitchers in the Shaun Anderson mold who could start or relieve, potentially filling out the back of the rotation or the middle of the currently vacant bullpen.

But don’t get attached. It’s just as likely that none of these guys play an inning for the Giants this year.

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The Milwaukee Brewers need starting pitching, and they’ve been clearing money off the books for the past few weeks. Could they look to add San Francisco Giants starter Jeff Samardzija?

Coming into 2019, Jeff Samardzija had two years left on a deal that would pay him $39.6 million through 2020. He also posted a 6.25 ERA in an injury-plagued season, and literally no one was looking to deal for him.

He bounced back in 2019, and he only has one year left on his contract before hitting free agency. Could the Milwaukee Brewers look to add a financially motivated Samardzija for the 2020 season?

How did Samardzija look in 2019?
A lot better than he did in 2018.

Samardzija made 32 starts for the Giants last year, and managed a 3.52 ERA. He tossed 181 1/3 innings, struck out 140, walked 49, and was tagged for 28 homers.

His average velocity on his heater was a career low 91.9 MPH. He made up for the dip in velocity by using his cutter more often and changing speeds. He’s not quite the 95 MPH+ guy he was when he was younger, but he can still eat up innings and keep hitters off balance.

What would it take to deal for Samardzija?
It really depends on how much salary the Giants are willing to eat. If they want to pass the entire salary on the the Brewers, they’d likely get a name on a roster from the Dominican Summer League. If they’re willing to take on money, they could get a fringe top-30 prospect in exchange for Samardzija. Teams aren’t going to fall over themselves to acquire a 35-year old starter with a questionable track record who’s owed almost $19 million next year.

What role would Samardzija play with the Brewers?
He’d likely slot in as a third or fourth starter in front of Eric Lauer and behind whoever they find to fill out the rotation. The team needs an innings eater who can take the ball every fifth day.

Samardzija in a contract year would likely be motivated to get one more bite at the free agent apple before opening a dispensary or a car dealership. A solid year with the Milwaukee Brewers and a playoff run would help his case for some team to give him a multi-year deal after the 2020 season. The two teams are a fit on paper, but a lot has to happen to pull off a deal. However, fans may want to pay special attention to the rumors coming out of San Francisco during the upcoming winter meetings. There’s going to be a lot of smoke around Samardzija while Brewers GM David Stearns and all the other executives are all in the same place at the same time.

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SAN FRANCISCO — The best reliever on the market came very close to being a Giant in 2020.

Will Smith told teams that he would sign the one-year qualifying offer and return to San Francisco if they did not come up with better offers, and he came pretty close to holding true to that statement. Ultimately the Atlanta Braves stepped in, giving Smith a three-year deal just before the deadline to accept the qualifying offer.

That move left the Giants with a massive hole in the ninth inning, but the bullpen issues go beyond the closer role.

The Giants had one of the National League’s best bullpens in the first half last season, but Sam Dyson, Mark Melancon and Drew Pomeranz were traded and Trevor Gott and Reyes Moronta got hurt. Of the six Giants who made at least 40 appearances out of the bullpen last year, only Gott and Tony Watson will be on the active roster on Opening Day.

That leaves a lot of room for newcomers, and Farhan Zaidi has said he likes his young depth and believes in some of the rookies who got a chance late last season. Shaun Anderson, Sam Coonrod, Tyler Rogers and Jandel Gustave are among those who could be in the mix for high-leverage jobs.
But you can expect the Giants to add plenty of experienced arms to the spring training mix, too.

Here’s a look at the bullpen market now that Smith has left for his hometown:

The Top Tier
Yeah, it’s uhh … not a good offseason to be looking for a closer. You can make a strong case that Drew Pomeranz — who signed with the Giants in January as a starter — is the best reliever left out there. Pomeranz showed flashes of brilliance when the Giants moved him to the ‘pen and they turned that promise into Mauricio Dubon. In Milwaukee, Pomeranz made himself a lot of money, striking out 45 batters in 26 1/3 innings while sitting in the high 90s with his fastball.

Will Harris, who had a 1.50 ERA last year for the Astros, is the top right-hander left on most boards. He has just 20 career saves but should pitch in the last couple innings for a contender next year. Daniel Hudson has had a rough few years but ended up as the postseason closer for the World Series champs, so he should be in for a nice raise.

The Giants have a need, but they also shouldn’t pay for high-end relief pitching given their current roster situation.

The Former Giants
The Giants need good PR right now, and there are plenty of options if they want to go the #ForeverGiant route.

Sergio Romo, Cory Gearrin and Dan Otero are all free agents, along with a few relievers who pitched for the Giants in 2019: Kyle Barraclough, Fernando Abad, Nick Vincent and Derek Holland.

None of that moves the needle too much.

The Likely Answer
Zaidi wants flexibility in his bullpen, and he never spent much on free agent relievers in Los Angeles other than the Kenley Jansen contract. Want to know how the Giants will fill out their 2020 bullpen? Last year’s model gives us a good starting point.

The Giants traded cash considerations for Gott, a hard-throwing right-hander they believed could be pretty good in a different situation. You can bet they’re looking for the next opportunity to scoop up a similar player.

They gave a non-guaranteed deal to Vincent well after spring training had started, taking advantage of a market that has become cruel to veteran relievers. There will be plenty of options again as the offseason winds down.

There are a lot of familiar names out there — Cody Allen, Carl Edwards Jr., Jeremy Jeffress, Hector Rondon, to name a few — and a few veterans are going to be sitting around in early February looking for an opportunity. Zaidi should be able to add a few experienced arms to the spring mix and do so without spending much.

Finally, there’s the method the team turned to late in the year. The Giants went young, and while the results were sometimes ugly, the front office does feel good about some of what was seen. Rogers was a revelation, Anderson showed a desire to pitch the ninth, and Coonrod had some big moments.

The Giants know they’re in a situation where they can continue to give young guys a shot, with the hope that a year from now a few of them will look like foundational pieces for the 2021 bullpen.

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Catchers gear, such as shin guards, a chest protector and a mask, are an important part of the position, but that was not always the case. In fact, it was not until this day in 1907 that shin protectors would be worn, debuted by New York Giants catcher Roger Bresnahan.
The image of a major league catcher is pretty uniform. They are covered in padding and wearing a mask, resembling a hockey goalie more than any other player on the diamond. Considering the plethora of foul tips, balls in the dirt and other assorted nicks and bruises they acquire over the season, it is difficult to imagine someone playing the position without any protection.

However, during the early days of baseball, that was the case. Catchers would be in that familiar position behind the plate, leaving themselves exposed to the vagrancies of those foul tips and wayward pitches. That is, until New York Giants catcher Roger Bresnahan began to protect himself, using the first shin guards on this day in 1907.

Instead of the fancy shin guards that catchers use in modern times, these were nothing more than some modified cricket gear. As strange as it may have seemed at the time, those shin guards proved their use almost immediately, as Bresnahan was protected from a foul tip in the fifth inning due to the protection he had in place.

Naturally, having seen the success and usefulness of these guards, other catchers began wearing them. Suddenly, those foul tips and balls in the dirt were not quite as hazardous as they had been, allowing catchers to remain healthier and be far more productive.

This was also not the only piece of protective equipment that Bresnahan created. After being hit in the head the following year, he created a leather batting helmet, one of the first of its kind. The first catcher in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Bresnahan was a pioneer in regards to player safety and protection.

NEXT: Jackie Robinson signs first major league contract
Catchers may resemble armored tanks these days, but that was not always the case. If not for the foresight of Roger Bresnahan, who knows how long it would have taken for someone to create catcher’s gear as we know it.

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The San Francisco Giants won three titles in five years with a homegrown core of Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Pablo Sandoval leading the way.

Their success was not solely a result of in-house talent, though.

How far would they have gotten without guys like Marco Scutaro, Javier Lopez, Jake Peavy and multiple others that were acquired in trade deadline moves?

With that in mind, we set out to identify the 15 greatest deadline deals in San Francisco history.

First, a few parameters:

The 1986 MLB season was our starting point when sifting through trades. The trade deadline was on June 15 rather than July 31 prior to 1986, and it didn’t bring the same flurry of activity, so the deadline deal as we know it today really began in 1986.
Only July non-waiver trades were considered. That means no August waiver deals. This notably excluded the Rick Reuschel trade, which took place on Aug. 21, 1987.
Trades are ranked based on the value obtained in the deal, player production after the trade and postseason success. Since the goal of most deadline deals is to help the team make a postseason push, reaching and succeeding in the playoffs carried significant weight.
Alright, with that out of the way, let’s dive right in!

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As Carlos Beltrán takes over the Mets — he’ll be introduced as their new manager in a press conference Monday morning — he joins a baseball fraternity that’s rare in today’s game:

Beltrán and Don Mattingly of the Marlins are the only current managers who were superstars as players. The ex-players over the rest of the managerial landscape did not have the same kind of big careers, and they certainly didn’t make the kind of money Beltrán did.

Whether it’s fair or unfair, the number of non-star managers seems to stir debate over ex-stars getting the job. Should anyone care if Beltrán doesn’t fit the profile of the scrappy middle infielder who soaked up every detail to get by as a player and now deploys that knowledge as a manager? Or if he’s not a shrewd catcher steeped in the calculus of running a pitching staff?

Probably not. There’s precedent for players as good as or better than Beltrán becoming managers. Plenty of those were successful.

According to the Baseball Hall of Fame’s website, 63 Hall of Fame players also managed big-league teams.

Eleven of those won the World Series. Frank Chance won two as the player-manager of the 1907-08 Cubs. Nine of the 11 were player-managers, back during the time when that was popular.

Bob Lemon of the 1978 Yankees is the last Hall of Fame player to manage a Fall Classic winner, and he and Red Schoendienst of the 1967 Cardinals are the only ones who weren’t player-managers.

There have been duds, too. Ty Cobb finished as high as second once in six seasons, though his career record was over .500. Ted Williams started his managing career by going 86-76 with the 1969 Senators, not exactly a powerhouse. But by the time he finished his managing career, he had a .429 winning percentage in four seasons.

Babe Ruth wanted to manage, but famously couldn’t get a gig, proving that a Cooperstown resume doesn’t automatically get you hired.

Beltrán, who hit 435 career home runs and was a Postseason monster, is not in the Hall of Fame — yet. He’s not eligible for the ballot until 2023, meaning he could be elected during his tenure in the Mets dugout, presuming he’s more like Chance as a manager than Ryne Sandberg, who had a .428 winning percentage from 2013-15 running the Phillies, and lasts that long.

Why don’t stars try to manage the way they once did? John Thorn, the official historian for Major League Baseball, has a theory.

“Part of it is that superstar players have been paid so well over the last 20-40 years, they have socked away something and to return to active duty at a much-reduced salary is less appealing,” Thorn said.

So maybe it says something about Beltrán’s commitment to the job that he’s willing to take it. Beltrán made more than $221 million, according to baseball-reference.com, during a career than spanned from 1998-2017. He’s got to be the richest ex-player to ever become a manager.

Williams had enough money when he became manager of the Washington Senators in 1969, thanks to endorsements with Sears for hunting and fishing apparel, Thorn said. Williams, Thorn added, wanted to be back in baseball.

“Ted Williams was the least likely candidate for managing,” Thorn said. “People assumed, and they may assume this of Beltrán, that when you can do it on the field, you have little patience for those who can’t.”

As a manager, Williams ultimately proved to be more of a specialist — he adored working with hitters and mostly focused on that, said Rich Donnelly, the longtime coach and minor-league manager who played in the Senators’ system and went to spring training while Williams managed there.

Williams’ big advice to his pitchers?

“Throw sliders,” Donnelly said. “That was a tough pitch for him when he played. But not every pitcher can throw a slider.”

“From what I’m told about Carlos, he has a passion for the total game,” Donnelly added. “Ted had a passion for hitting and teaching guys how to hit. He used to wonder why guys couldn’t hit like he could.

“He took me into center field once and said, ‘You’re a good athlete, you’ve got good hand-eye coordination. Why can’t you hit? Who taught you to hit?’”

“My dad,” Donnelly said. Williams replied, colorfully, that the senior Donnelly was not a wonderful hitting coach. But, Donnelly added, Williams helped him enough that he hit better in Triple-A than he did in high school. Later, Williams recommended that Donnelly become a manager, which jump-started the baseball lifer’s career.

So maybe Williams’ dugout tenure is a cautionary tale of sorts for Beltrán, though Beltrán doesn’t seem to need it. He’s always displayed a passion for every facet of the game, and was renowned as a resource for teammates on any kind of skill, a superstar at even the most minute baseball detail.

That’s a trait that will probably serve him well now.