Farhan Zaidi discusses Giants' mindset at trade deadline approaches


Farhan Zaidi discusses Giants' mindset at trade deadline approaches

The MLB trade deadline is less than two weeks away, and the Giants all of a sudden find themselves in a bit of a pickle.

Entering Sunday's game against the New York Mets, the Giants had won 14 of their last 17 games and sit just 2 1/2 games back of the second wild-card spot.

With October baseball looking like a possibility, reports have trickled out that the Giants were re-evaluating their plans as the July 31 trade deadline approaches. Where it once was assumed the Giants would look to trade starter Madison Bumgarner and closer Will Smith, among others, that reportedly no longer was the case.

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi attempted to set the record straight on the Giants' mindset as the deadline approaches.

"I keep reading how the mindset is changing, but for us, it's been the same mission all along, which is trying to put ourselves in position to contend this year," Zaidi told reporters on Sunday.

"We've been fielding calls all year, even going back to the offseason. I haven't changed my phone number or taken my phone off the ringer. You still take those calls. It's helpful to know what other teams are thinking and who other teams are interested in, whether it winds up being something you act on or not. We have to be prepared for every scenario, which has been our intention all year long."

Zaidi also dispelled the idea that the Giants have pulled back in their attempt to deal Bumgarner and that they tried to trade him a month ago.

"Among many things I've read that have got a little bit of an eye roll from me was the notion that we were pulling back Bumgarner talks," Zaidi said. "I mean, first of all, what's been reported that we made a push to trade him months ago was completely false. We've gotten calls about Madison going back to the offseason and into this year. It's my job to listen to those conversations and process them, but I don't know what we'd be pulling back from because we have not been the aggressors in any of those conversations. We're just having conversations on background like everybody. every team."  

[RELATED: Report: Giants wavering on whether to buy or sell]

The Giants have three games against the Chicago Cubs and three against the San Diego Padres before heading to Philadelphia to face the Phillies during the trade deadline. The time for Zaidi and the Giants to choose a course of action is here.

MLB rumors: Mark Kotsay entered Giants manager interviews as favorite

MLB rumors: Mark Kotsay entered Giants manager interviews as favorite

As the Giants watch the World Series from home, their search for a new manager continues. Replacing a legend like Bruce Bochy won't be easy, but president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi can't wait forever. 

Interviews have begun, and the favorite coming into the process might be someone who would just have to switch sides in the Bay Area. The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly reported Monday that "word around the industry is that [Mark] Kotsay entered this process as a favored candidate." One source also told Baggarly that he would be surprised if the Giants didn't hire Kotsay.

NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic first reported on Oct. 9 that the Giants would interview Kotsay, who currently serves as the A's quality control coach.

Kotsay, 43, had a 17-year MLB career where he spent four seasons -- 2004 through '07 -- as an outfielder for the A's. Zaidi was a baseball operations analyst in Oakland when Kotsay played for the A's. 

Kotsay retired after the 2013 season and became a special assistant in the San Diego Padres' front office the next season. He then served as the Padres' hitting coach for the 2015 season and was the A's bench coach in 2016. 

[RELATED: Could MadBum's ugly road stats hurt him in free agency?]

The Giants already interviewed in-house candidates Hensley Meulens and Ron Wotus. The San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman and John Shea reported Monday that San Francisco also interviewed Cubs first base coach Wil Venable on Friday.

Other reported candidates include Astros bench coach Joe Espada, Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler

Could Madison Bumgarner's bad road stats hurt him in MLB free agency?

Could Madison Bumgarner's bad road stats hurt him in MLB free agency?

Madison Bumgarner is entering free agency at a curious time in his career. The longtime Giants ace has built a legendary reputation, but plenty of question marks also surround the 30-year-old.

Bumgarner proved he's still a workhorse after missing time the previous two seasons with freak injuries. His 34 starts were tied for the MLB lead, and his 207 2/3 innings pitched ranked second in the NL.

But while looking at Bumgarner's stats from this past season, one thing stands out that could hurt him in free agency and actually help the Giants if they want to bring back the left-hander.

MadBum's home-road splits were staggering in 2019. He was a completely different pitcher in front of the home crowd at Oracle Park, compared to pitching away from San Francisco.

Here are Bumgarner's home stats this past season, compared to when he pitched on the road.

Home: 19 GS, 6-2, 2.93 ERA, 122 2/3 IP, 40 ER, 15 HR, 120 SO, 21 BB, 0.93 WHIP, 5.71 SO/W
Away: 15 GS, 3-7, 5.29 ERA, 85 IP, 50 ER, 15 HR, 83 SO, 22 BB, 1.41 WHIP, 3.77 SO/W

Oracle Park is known as a pitcher's dream. In fact, the Giants' home park was the least favorable for offenses this season by Park Factors, per ESPN. The 11-year veteran used that his advantage, but that luxury didn't follow him on the road.

Bumgarner allowed the same amount of homers in four fewer road games as he did at home. He also walked one more batter and allowed five more hits -- 98 on the road, compared to 93 at home. For someone with a lot of mileage on his arm and his fastball declining in velocity, that's certainly alarming.

[RELATED: Astros call possible Giants target Cole 'West Coast guy']

As a pitcher who's never tested the open market and has spent his entire career in a pitcher's paradise, these numbers will be looked at closely by front offices around the league this offseason.

Bumgarner figures to join Gerrit Cole, among others, as the most coveted starting pitchers in free agency. So, while his road numbers could help the Giants in keeping him in San Francisco, they also could prevent the veteran from signing the hefty contract he likely desires.