EXTRA BAGGS: Dodgers willing to take on toxic assets


EXTRA BAGGS: Dodgers willing to take on toxic assets

SAN FRANCISCO The face of the National League West couldundergo another dramatic change in the next 24 hours.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who are more eager to give awaycash than the Publishers Clearing House, are reportedly in agreement to takethe injured Carl Crawford and the fried chicken-loving Josh Beckett off theBoston Red Soxs hands in order to get difference-making first baseman AdrianGonzalez. The deal could become official as soon as Saturday.

The players coming to LA are owed somewhere near 275million in guaranteed salary. It remains to be seen how much cash the Red Soxare willing to contribute in what will go down as one of the biggesttoxic-flush trades in baseball history.

Itll be a huge influx in the Dodgers clubhouse, too.Beckett was at the center of last years controversy that cost Boston managerTerry Francona his job. And Gonzalez was said to be fed up there, too.

(Do you remember back in 2010, when Gonzalez spoke openlyabout his impending free agency as the San Diego Padres were desperately tryingto hold on to first place in the NL West? That should tell you something...)

The Dodgers already picked up a noted malingerer inHanley Ramirez, although he has appeared motivated while making a steadycontribution in the middle of their lineup.

The trade, if it happens, will give the Dodgers offense atremendous boost. But it remains to be seen how the players will come together.Will their clubhouse become a powder keg? Or will they come together like happymisfits, the way a certain team did in 2010?

These current Giants have the luxury of a three-game lead, and thecomfort that they dont really need to care either way about who the Dodgers get. The way players in the Giants clubhouse see it, their house is alreadyin order. And strangely enough, Id argue that Melky Cabreras suspensionhelped them to coalesce to a certain degree. Whether it was mutual anger or some other emotion, it brought them together and theyare playing with more of a united front than at any time this season.

I think were just really were just focused on playingour game, right-hander Ryan Vogelsong said. Guys are focused on what they cando and thats translating to wins. Its when youre struggling that you try todo more than you can. I like the fact that everyone is just really focused oncontributing.

As for the Dodgers? Did they feel they needed to break thebank to compete with the Giants for the division?

I guess thats a question youd have to ask them,Vogelsong said. If they get those guys, Ill worry about them when I have toface them.

The bottom line: If the Giants keep pitching extremely well,it wont matter. They won't be caught.

Javier Lopez recorded his third save in a week, which has tobe a record for him. But if he hadnt retired all three hitters in the ninth,it wouldve been Clay Hensleys assignment to pitch to Dan Uggla.

So as the media crowded around Lopez again, Hensley watchedfrom his locker and shook his head with joking disapproval.

Nobody likes a closer-by-committee situation. But if yourein it, you might as well have fun with it.

And by the way, having that third lefty in Jose Mijares isone of the reasons that manager Bruce Bochy has been able to get his matchups inthe eighth and ninth. He used Mijares in the seventh and still had Lopezavailable for the middle of Atlantas lineup, which went left-switch-left-left.

When youre going closer-by-committee, you want to keepyour options open, and (Mijares) is allowing us to do that, Lopez said.

It sure sounds like Guillermo Mota will be joining theGiants when hes eligible to return Aug. 28 from his 100-game PED suspension.Manager Bruce Bochy said Mota is throwing well for Triple-A Fresno and continues to show hecan contribute down the stretch.

As for Brad Penny, he made a one-inning start for Single-ASan Jose and allowed an unearned run on two singles with a walk and nostrikeouts.

As for Aubrey Huff, he is back in the home clubhouse andcontinues to get treatment on his knee, but Bochy said hes in a holdingpattern.

Hard to imagine Huff joining the club before rosters expandin September, if at all. When youre in a holding pattern, you eventually makea smooth landing or you run out of fuel and crash.

Bochy, asked if Vogelsong was not happy to be lifted inthe seventh inning:

Hes never happy when he comes out, the manager said, smiling.

Giants agree to multi-year deal with OF Austin Jackson


Giants agree to multi-year deal with OF Austin Jackson

SAN FRANCISCO -- The overhaul of the Giants' outfield is complete.

The Giants agreed to a two-year deal with center fielder Austin Jackson on Monday, the team announced. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the deal is worth $6 million. The team did not immediately confirm the financials of the deal, but per Heyman, clauses could take it up to $8.5 million. Those figures would be in line with the goal of staying under the luxury tax threshold.

"We are excited to have Austin join the Giants. He is a talented and versatile player who will strengthen our roster and provide additional depth at all three outfield positions," Giants Senior Vice President and General Manager Bobby Evans said in a statement.

Jackson was worth 1.9 WAR last season while posting a .869 OPS for the Cleveland Indians. He mashed left-handed pitching, batting .352 in 122 at-bats. That trait could allow Jackson to platoon with Steven Duggar if he's ready early in the season. 

Jackson is the clear frontrunner now to start in center field on opening day and help fix a glaring defensive issue. Andrew McCutchen has already been installed as the new right fielder and Hunter Pence will slide over to left.


Giants first round pick makes top 100 prospects list


Giants first round pick makes top 100 prospects list

SAN FRANCISCO -- The annual Baseball America top 100 prospects list backed up two widely held beliefs about the Giants farm system: The organization still does not have a lot of high-end prospects and a newcomer is viewed as the best of the bunch.

Heliot Ramos, last year's first-round pick, was ranked as the 79th best prospect in the game, but he's the only Giant on the list. 

Ramos, 18, is the name just about every opposing front office asked for in trade talks this offseason, but the Giants view him as a potential five-tool center fielder. He already appears to be one of the steals of the 2017 draft. After being selected 19th overall, Ramos hit .348 in rookie ball with a .404 on-base percentage and .645 slugging percentage. He hit six homers in 35 games and stole 10 bases.

Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna is the top prospect on the list, followed by Shohei Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 

The Dodgers have four players listed before Ramos and the Padres have four of the top 32 prospects as they try to rebuild and get back into NL West contention. The A's have four players in the top 100: lefty A.J. Puk (30), shortstop Franklin Barreto (43), shortstop Jorge Mateo (64) and outfielder Dustin Fowler (88).