Giants

Could Cole trade open door for Giants to grab McCutchen?

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USATSI

Could Cole trade open door for Giants to grab McCutchen?

Editor's note: The Giants have reportedly agreed to a trade with the Pirates for Andrew McCutchen. Join Alex Pavlovic and Ray Ratto as they break down the trade at 1:30 p.m. on Facebook Live. 

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SAN FRANCISCO — Whenever a marquee free agent signs in the offseason, people around the league talk about the floodgates opening for other deals. For the Giants, the hope is that a weekend trade, not a signing, might be the trigger for increased movement. 

The Pittsburgh Pirates dealt right-hander Gerrit Cole to the Houston Astros on Saturday, signaling that they are, in fact, ready to take a step back and trade their best players for prospects. The Giants and Pirates have remained in touch in recent weeks, with the front office hopeful that a Cole deal would motivate the Pirates to next trade Andrew McCutchen, per sources.  

Thus far, the teams have appeared to find little traction in talks. The Pirates originally went straight to the top of the Giants’ prospect list, and one person familiar with talks characterized recent discussions as complicated. It’s unclear if the Pirates have lowered their demands, but they generally were viewed as getting a subpar package for Cole, so it’s possible they’ve simply reached deal-making mode. 

While Cole drew interest from the best teams in the majors, McCutchen’s field would appear to be more limited. He is owed $14.75 million in the final year of his deal, and there are enough outfielders still on the market that teams don’t need to rush into a bidding war. The Giants view him as a strong fit for several reasons, including that salary that would only be on their books for one year. They prefer to stay under the $197 million tax line, and despite what some public estimates of their payroll might show, a source said the Giants could trade for McCutchen’s entire salary and still remain just under the tax. 

McCutchen is not quite the player he once was, but he bounced back last season to hit 28 homers and post a .849 OPS. Combined with Evan Longoria, he would give the Giants a couple of veteran right-handed contributors for a lineup that was last in the majors in homers in 2017 and has leaned too far to the left in recent seasons. 

McCutchen’s one-year deal would fit the win-now mode of a franchise that has just two guaranteed years remaining with Madison Bumgarner, and he would help fill the biggest remaining need for an aging roster. While McCutchen has slipped defensively in recent years, he likely would be asked to move to right field in San Francisco, with a superior defender — potentially an in-house choice like Gorkys Hernandez or Steven Duggar — patrolling center field and Hunter Pence sliding over to left. 

Report: Tim Lincecum throws 90-93 MPH at showcase

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AP

Report: Tim Lincecum throws 90-93 MPH at showcase

Tim Lincecum was back on a mound Thursday, trying to prove to teams once again that he still has a little bit of magic left in his right arm. 

The former Giants star held a bullpen session for scouts Thursday in Seattle. The event was closed to the media, but Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that between 25 and 30 scouts were in attendance. 

And Lincecum may have some of his velocity back. According to Heyman, Lincecum was sitting between 90 and 93 miles per hour. 

Lincecum last pitched in 2016 with the Angels. In that season, his fastball averaged just 88.4 miles per hour. In nine starts with the Angels, Lincecum was nowhere near what he once was and went 2-6 with a 9.16 ERA. 

The Giants planned to be at Lincecum's showcase, according to Insider Alex Pavlovic. 

Over nine seasons with the Giants, Lincecum posted a 108-83 record and a 3.61 ERA. He won back-to-back National Cy Young awards in 2008 and 2009, was a four-time All-Star and led the league in strikeouts three times. 

Slater fighting for outfield job after Giants' offseason overhaul

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USATSI

Slater fighting for outfield job after Giants' offseason overhaul

SCOTTSDALE — Catchers are usually the only position players to hit on the main field during the first few days of spring training, but Austin Slater snuck into a group Thursday to take a few cuts. With manager Bruce Bochy leaning against the back of the cage, perhaps Slater’s session will serve as a reminder: I’m still here, don’t forget about me.

The 25-year-old broke through last summer before injuries halted his progress. As Slater focused on getting healthy this offseason, Bobby Evans focused on overhauling the outfield. That has left several familiar faces in precarious spots, and Slater finds himself fighting for a fifth outfielder job a year after batting .282 in his first 117 big league at-bats. 

At the same time, he’s trying to balance competition with health. He wants to push for an Opening Day job, but also is very aware that he needs to back it down at times as he recovers from sports hernia surgery.

“You want to prove that you can play here and win a job, but (the staff) stressed health over everything,” he said. “It does no good to push and then start the season on the DL. For me, health is the most important thing. I feel like if I’m healthy I can prove myself. There’s nothing I can prove on the DL.”

Slater originally tore his groin on July 8 and the Giants thought it would prove to be a season-ending injury. He worked his way back ahead of schedule, though, seeing limited action before sports hernia surgery the last week of September. “They went in there and cleaned up the groin,” he said, smiling where others might grimace. The procedure kept Slater from playing in the Dominican Republic as planned, although that might have been a blessing in disguise. 

The Giants were aggressive with their winter ball plans because so many young players got hurt during the season. But Jarrett Parker lasted just 24 hours before being sent home with a health issue. Christian Arroyo’s hand swelled up soon after he arrived, and he headed home. Ryder Jones immediately got food poisoning and lost 12 pounds in just over three weeks before player and team decided a mutual parting would be beneficial. 

Slater stayed home throughout, living in the Bay Area and rehabbing. The Giants told him to focus on his rehab instead of lost at-bats and then come out and try to win a job in Scottsdale. By mid-November, he was hitting again. By Thanksgiving, he was on a regular lifting and running schedule. In late January, he felt like his old self again. 

For the Giants, that means a versatile option in a new-look outfield. Slater had a .290/.343/.430 slash line going before his first injury and he’s working to tap into more power. As Bruce Bochy pointed out Thursday, Slater has a long history of putting up numbers at every level. 

“He really did a nice job of figuring out what it takes to play in the major leagues, and he has a tendency throughout his career to just get better,” Bochy said. “You have to love his right-handed bat. He’s got some pop. I think he can play all three outfield positions, so he’s in the mix.”

The Giants have Andrew McCutchen in right and Hunter Pence in left and Austin Jackson as the third guy, and Bochy’s preference is to have a true center fielder as his fourth outfielder. That leaves Slater fighting for the fifth job, alongside many others. No matter what he did last year or does this spring, Slater has options remaining, and that will come into play. A year after using 13 different players in left field, the staff is intent on having greater depth at the Triple-A level. 

Slater is a Stanford product who spent the offseason surrounded by Giants fans. He knows the math after the offseason moves.

“It doesn’t change anything,” he said. “It just adds some great guys to learn from, and there are still outfield spots to be won, so it’s not discouraging, it’s encouraging. I didn’t expect them to keep an open roster spot for a guy with 120 at-bats. We’re trying to win a championship here.”