Giants fans are in a weird place right now. They believe in even-year magic with every win, especially since MLB expanded its playoffs for the 2020 season. With every loss, though, they search draft prospects while banging their tables begging them to call up Joey Bart.
After three straight losing seasons, some fans are losing their patience. Fandom is a balancing act. Of course they want to win, but fans also know the Giants have one of the best farm systems in baseball and the future is the main focus right now. That's what Farhan Zaidi was brought in for.
When the Giants hired Zaidi as their president of baseball operations prior to last season, the goal was to have him help compete in the present and build a contender in the future. Zaidi found his hidden gem in Mike Yastrzemski last year, and early on in this weird season, he already has shown how creative he can get to swindle other teams. He did exactly that at the Winter Meetings by adding infield prospect, and former first-round draft pick, Will Wilson. In a week's span to start off August, Zaidi traded virtually nothing to add two top-30 prospects to San Francisco's system.
Sunday's acquisition of 23-year-old outfielder Luis Basabe from the Chicago White Sox for just cash considerations is the latest example of Zaidi's creativity.
The White Sox originally acquired Basabe from the Boston Red Sox in their Chris Sale blockbuster trade. All it took for the Giants was an undisclosed amount of cash. Basabe has dealt with a long list of injuries and disappointed last season, hitting just .246 with three homers and a .660 OPS in Double-A. His potential, however, is undeniable.
“I think this is what makes Farhan and Scott so good at what they do,” manager Gabe Kapler said to reporters Sunday morning. “To be able to bring in a guy who slots immediately into our top prospects list without giving up too much in return. Basabe is tooled up. This is a guy with arm strength and speed.”
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Basabe showed off those tools in the 2018 All-Star Futures Game when he turned on a 102-mph fastball from Cincinnati Reds prospect Hunter Greene and crushed a two-run blast.
The Giants traded for Luis Basabe. Two years ago, he crushed a two-run homer off a 102-mph fastball in the Futures Games pic.twitter.com/JwMIIaj0kI— Dalton Johnson (@DaltonJ_Johnson) August 9, 2020
“A real ceiling, so he’s an exciting add to our system,” Kapler also said on Basabe, a powerful switch-hitter.
The Basabe trade came exactly one week after the Giants sent outfielder Billy Hamilton to the New York Mets for pitching prospect Jordan Humphreys. Zaidi and Co. turned a veteran who likely wasn't due playing time any time soon into what Kapler calls "a real prospect."
Humphreys, 24, has a 2.60 career ERA in the minors and is coming off Tommy John surgery. He went 10-1 with a 1.79 ERA in 2017, made two starts last season and pitched in the Arizona Fall League. It seems unlikely he helps this year, though he certainly could in 2021.
When the Giants acquired Humphreys, he was the Mets' No. 14 prospect. He now comes in at No. 26 for the Giants, according to MLB Pipeline. Basabe was the White Sox's 11th-best prospect and is No. 18 for the Giants. That shows just how highly regarded their prospects are, and how much the system has improved recently in San Francisco.
Everyone wants a Joey Bart, a Marco Luciano or a Heliot Ramos. Top prospects are every team's prized possession -- one that becomes a homegrown star with World Series aspirations or the key to acquiring a superstar. The more depth, though, the better.
In a week's span, Zaidi added two prospects who can make an impact in the near future for a veteran who didn't fit the roster and a handful of cash. The Giants still are waiting for their superstar. Zaidi's creativity sure helps in the meantime