A's and Giants poised to feel ripple effects of James Paxton trade


A's and Giants poised to feel ripple effects of James Paxton trade

The first blockbuster trade of the MLB offseason occurred on Monday, the ripple effects of which could significantly impact both the A's and Giants.

The Seattle Mariners sent ace left-hander James Paxton to the New York Yankees in exchange for Justus Sheffield -- their No. 1 prospect -- and two other minor leaguers. The Yankees have long been rumored as a potential trade partner for the Giants in a deal centering around starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner, so Monday's trade of Paxton would seem to impact the Giants in two distinct ways.

First, the Paxton trade essentially sets the market for what the return on a potential Bumgarner deal would look like. Additionally, it's possible this removes the Yankees from that list of potential trade partners. The Giants would likely be looking for young prospects in exchange for Bumgarner, and New York's farm system is now that much more depleted.

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For the A's, the Paxton trade would seemingly improve their chances within the AL West next season. Seattle no longer has an ace, and if reports are to be believed, this may just be the beginning of a Mariners' fire sale.

Prior to the Paxton trade, the Mariners set that plan in motion by sending catcher Mike Zunino to the Tampa Bay Rays. With their top battery now elsewhere, Seattle has turned their attention to contending in 2021 rather than 2019, according to MLB Insiders Jon Heyman and Jeff Passan.

So, if this is just the beginning of a Mariners fire sale, what other dominoes might fall? What other players might be available for trade, and which of those -- if any -- would make sense for either of the Bay Area teams?

If the 2019 season began today, the Mariners would possess the fifth-highest payroll of any MLB team, and that's after shipping Paxton's contract east. A bloated team salary and full-on rebuild don't often go hand-in-hand, so it would make sense if they tried to unload some of their higher salaried players, such as second basemen Dee Gordon and Robinson Cano and third baseman Kyle Seager.

Of those three players, none would seem to make a lot of sense for either the A's or Giants.

Oakland's 2019 payroll is the third-lowest in the league, they're fairly loaded at those positions, and their financials have never been as robust as the team across the Bay. 

The Giants, though, aren't likely to be racing to the phone to negotiate for one of the three aforementioned veterans either. Disregarding positional fits, the Giants could very well be on their way to a rebuild of their own, and they actually rank fourth in the league in 2019 payroll, right above Seattle. San Francisco has their own set of albatross contracts, and are unlikely to be interested in adding another -- certainly not without sending at least one the other direction.

Still, if the Mariners are intent on selling off assets, it can't hurt the A's or Giants to inquire. Beyond those three larger salaried players, the Mariners have several players on their roster that would be of interest to other teams, a few of which could make a lot of sense for Oakland or San Francisco, depending on what the cost would be.


Giants GM Scott Harris grew up Cubs fan, brother favored San Francisco


Giants GM Scott Harris grew up Cubs fan, brother favored San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO -- As Scott Harris said goodbye to family members on Monday, a Giants employee walked over and dropped off two big bags full of jerseys and orange-and-black gear.

One of his parents needed to load up on the gifts more than the other. 

Harris grew up in Redwood City with a mother who is a Giants fan, but his father, who is from Chicago, is a diehard Chicago Cubs fan. When it came time to pass on their rooting interests, they came up with an easy solution for their children.

"They divided the sons," Scott said, smiling. "I was raised a Cubs fan and my brother was raised a Giants fan, which put my nephew Teddy in an awkward spot because his dad loves the Giants and his uncle was working for the Cubs. Now at least Teddy has a little more clarity."

As Scott finished telling the story, his brother, Chris, laughed and quickly clapped. This worked out well for half of the Harris family. Scott will try and help his mother and brother's favorite team get back to the postseason, and his father has already benefited from the son's talents. Scott was part of the front office that finally brought a championship to Wrigley. 

On his first full day on the job, Scott talked about what made the Giants such a good fit -- aside from the family's rooting interests. He's excited to be back in the Bay Area and noted that as he took profile pictures under the sun at Oracle Park, the temperature was in the mid-20s back in Chicago. Harris has also been through a winter in New York, so he was thrilled to be working back in the Bay Area. The entire Harris family was fired up, too. His parents and brother sat in the fourth row for an introductory press conference and then got a tour of the clubhouse. 

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"I want to thank my family for always supporting me and their relentless pursuit of a way to get me back to the Bay Area. It worked, thank you," Harris said as he looked out as his parents and brother. "It's such a privilege to be here. It's a privilege to come back home. It's a privilege to work for a flagship organization with such a passionate and deserving fan base. 

"I grew up in Redwood City and vividly remember learning what the game looks like at the highest level by watching generations of Giants players come through Candlestick and come through this park."

Giants closing in on new manager after hiring Scott Harris as their GM


Giants closing in on new manager after hiring Scott Harris as their GM

SAN FRANCISCO -- As Giants officials and members of the media filed out of the press conference room at Oracle Park on Monday, a team employee reached over and flicked off one set of lights. Nobody bothered to take down the podium or remove the temporary seating. That all might be needed again in a few hours.

The Giants introduced Scott Harris as general manager on Monday and are poised to hold another press conference for their new manager. Harris is in the process of meeting with the remaining candidates and Farhan Zaidi said he would "have significant input into the final decision."

Zaidi said the manager announcement would come this week, and the Giants were internally preparing to introduce a new manager as soon as Tuesday. There are still three known finalists, and no decision had been made as of Monday morning. There are two who have separated from the pack, though. Former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler and Astros bench coach Joe Espada both have high-level supporters in the organization, per sources, and Kapler met with Giants officials again on Monday. He is said to be the frontrunner at this point. 

The search has lasted more than a month now, in part because it ran as the same time as the search for a new GM.

[RELATED: Why GM Scott Harris didn't root for Giants]

"Having both of these balls in the air at the same time has made scheduling difficult and tricky at times," Zaidi said. "I'm just really happy that we have been able to get (Harris) in place and he does have that chance to connect with those candidates and provide input and really have a say in the final decision that I expect us to make this week."