Giants

Drew Pomeranz's reported Padres contract shows why he joined Giants

Drew Pomeranz's reported Padres contract shows why he joined Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- For years, the Giants have tried to use Oracle Park as a selling point for free agent pitchers, and Farhan Zaidi talked about embracing that strategy when he was hired last fall. So it stood out when Zaidi signed Pomeranz a couple months later and said during an introductory conference call that Pomeranz and his agents were the ones who pushed for the deal to be just one year. 

“It was important to get a one-year deal and reposition himself in free agency,” Zaidi said in January. “We’re certainly hoping we can give him that kind of platform to have him have a really strong year and re-enter the market or stay in San Francisco, if it works for both sides.”

Pomeranz did end up cashing in as a free agent, but not quite in the way either side expected when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal in late January to join the Giants' rotation. Pomeranz agreed to a four-year deal with the San Diego Padres on Wednesday that will guarantee him $34 million, per Robert Murray of The Athletic

He got that big deal not because the Giants plopped him down in Oracle Park, but because they moved him to the bullpen. As a starter, Pomeranz was a DFA candidate with a 6.10 ERA. But the Giants moved him to the bullpen on July 22 and Pomeranz showed enough in four scoreless appearances that Zaidi was able to flip him to the Brewers for Mauricio Dubon, who should be his starting second baseman next year. 

Pomeranz struck out eight batters in 5 1/3 relief innings before the trade and then whiffed 45 in 26 1/3 innings for the Brewers. The big difference was velocity. Pomeranz was sitting 91-92 and maxing out at 94 as a starter most nights. In shorter stints, he regularly hit 96-97.

The velocity and strikeout rate set Pomeranz up as one of the better relievers on the market, and the Padres jumped on their former starter, hoping he can be part of a lockdown bullpen for a team that expects to contend and has been plenty busy this week. 

[RELATED: Why Beede viewed his rookie season as so promising]

It was a wild ride for Pomeranz, but in the end, he got that big deal that he was hoping for all along -- and the Giants got plenty out of the transaction, too. Dubon was a hell of a return for a few promising relief outings from Pomeranz, and that experience should bolster their belief that they should take a few more shots on pitching lottery tickets this offseason. 

Fantasy baseball 2020: Rankings, sleepers for Giants, A's this season

Fantasy baseball 2020: Rankings, sleepers for Giants, A's this season

Baseball is back, with MLB's Opening Day scheduled for July 23 and 24. Before we know it, bat flips will make everyone furious in a fanless ballpark. Even better, countless amounts of people are about to spend way too much money on a game they have no control over. 

We're of course talking about fantasy baseball, which will be much different this year. 

Everything about the game changes this season. Instead of a 162-game marathon, this will be a 60-game sprint. Instead of pitchers embarrassing themselves in the batter's box, the NL has adopted the DH this year. That could have a big impact on both the Giants and A's. 

So, what does this mean for Giants and A's players? First and foremost, the experts like the A's a lot more, a whole lot more. The A's have 11 players ranked ahead of the Giants' top player when it comes to fantasy baseball going into the season.

We looked at both Yahoo and ESPN's fantasy rankings for the top 250 players ahead of the upcoming season. Here's where the Bay Area's best rank, sleepers for each team and more. 

A's top-ranked players 

Matt Olson: (ESPN 51, Yahoo 89)
Matt Chapman: (ESPN 53, Yahoo 71)
Marcus Semien: (ESPN 57, Yahoo 72)
Liam Hendriks: (ESPN 89, Yahoo 91)
Ramon Laureano: (ESPN 98, Yahoo 92)
Khris Davis: (ESPN 103, Yahoo 150)
Sean Manaea: (ESPN 165, Yahoo 173)
Frankie Montas: (ESPN 198, Yahoo 111)
Stephen Piscotty: (ESPN 214, Yahoo N/A)
Mark Canha: (ESPN 226, Yahoo N/A)
Mike Fiers: (ESPN 250, Yahoo N/A)
Jesus Luzardo: (Yahoo 149, ESPN N/A)
A.J Puk: (Yahoo 165, ESPN N/A)

Giants top-ranked players

Jeff Samardzija: (Yahoo 249)

That's it ... 

Brandon Belt (299) ranks in ESPN's top 300, and Tony Watson (257) and Mike Yastrzemski (261) both made Yahoo's top 300.

A's sleeper

All the hype on the A's pitching staff is around Luzardo and Puk, and understandably so. They are two of the best left-handed pitching prospects in baseball, and should be AL Rookie of the Year candidates. 

If Luzardo and Puk can stay healthy, they quickly can become Oakland's aces. But Luzardo still hasn't joined the A's after testing positive for the coronavirus. That brings us to perhaps the A's current ace. 

Montas at 111 and 198 feels low. The 27-year-old went 9-2 with a 2.63 ERA over 16 starts last season. He was suspended 80 games, but when on the field, he was dominant. The big right-hander struck out 9.7 batters per nine innings, and has been praised for the shape he showed up to Summer Camp in. 

There's a real chance Montas establishes himself as a star this season, and can finish the year ranked much higher than he currently is. 

Giants sleeper

Evan Longoria couldn't have started off last season much worse. He hit just .212 in March/April and .215 in May. That number rose to .241 in June, but between July and August, he was back to his All-Star self. 

Longoria hit .400 with six homers and 12 RBI in just nine games in July. Then in August, he hit .345 with four homers, 20 RBI and a .901 OPS. Over 31 games combined in July and August, the Giants' third baseman hit .359 with 10 home runs, 32 RBI and a 1.065 OPS. 

With Buster Posey out, Longoria will be relied upon as a veteran leader. Gabe Kapler will platoon his lineup nearly every game, and Longoria should be one of the only everyday players. If he's the player he was last summer, the Giants have a star.

Division foes

This is your reminder the Los Angeles Dodgers really did trade for Mookie Betts. Along with Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers might have two of the top five fantasy players in the game.

Nolan Arrenado and Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies might be in the top 15 as well, and San Diego Padres infielders Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado could find themselves in the top 25 or 30. That doesn't even bring us to Madison Bumgarner. 

The former Giants ace, now in his first season with the Arizona Diamondbacks. ESPN ranks MadBum as their 110th-best fantasy player, and Yahoo has him lower at 136. 

Oakland will face plenty of star power in the AL West, too. Mike Trout always will be near the top of rankings, fellow two-way Angels star Shohei Ohtani is a fantasy anomaly. The Angels also added Anthony Rendon, who could be in the top five. 

Love them or hate them, the Houston Astros are full of stars, with a long list of highly ranked fantasy players. Joey Gallo will hit dingers for the Texas Rangers, and maybe a healthy Kyle Lewis will live up to his potential for the Seattle Mariners. 

No matter what, though, it's hard to find a team with as many fantasy stars as the A's.

MLB rumors: Yasiel Puig signing with Braves, not Giants, as free agent

MLB rumors: Yasiel Puig signing with Braves, not Giants, as free agent

Yasiel Puig reportedly will not be wearing orange and black next season and will be joining the Atlanta Braves.

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand was first with the news on Tuesday.

The Giants, in the beginning, reportedly were one of the teams in the running for the free-agent outfielder, and despite his knowledge of the NL West having spent six seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers -- he will be going elsewhere.

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said on the Tim Kawakami Show that they weren’t “really having any active conversations with anyone outside the organization,” when asked about possibly acquiring Puig.

Puig to the Braves makes perfect sense as outfielder Nick Markakis has opted out of the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic. He felt uneasy about playing without fans and was swayed a bit with Braves’ All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman testing positive for the coronavirus.

[RELATED: Buster Posey's leadership will be missed, but not forgotten]

This will put Puig in the outfield with Ender Inciarte, Marcell Ozuna and Ronald Acuña Jr. which shapes to be a rather strong outfield. 

For now, Puig still needs to pass a physical and a COVID-19 test before the deal becomes official. 

Puig enters his eighth season in 2020 and earned one All-Star selection in 2014. Across seven seasons and three teams, Puig accumulated a .277/.348/.475 average with 132 home runs and 415 RBI which is good for a career .823 OPS.