The Sunday morning trade with the Chicago White Sox for Luis Basabe might end up getting the Giants a nice piece for a future outfield. Or it might not.
The front office is adding another lottery ticket, but no matter how it works out, the trade did represent a bit of a landmark moment in the Farhan Zaidi regime. With the addition of Basabe and Jordan Humphreys, acquired from the New York Mets the previous Sunday, to MLB Pipeline's top 30, the Giants now have a list that is for the first time half-filled with players acquired since Zaidi took over in November 2018.
Zaidi's biggest task when he was hired was kickstarting the player development machine, mimicking what has made the Dodgers so successful in the NL West, and he went straight to work on filling holes.
There's only so much you can do when it comes to getting high-end talent. Zaidi and new scouting director Michael Holmes have had just two drafts to work with and this year's international signing period was pushed back by the coronavirus. While many fans wanted Zaidi to trade Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith last July, neither would have brought back a Hunter Bishop or Heliot Ramos type.
But the Giants now have a top 10 farm system because they've greatly improved their depth. Basabe, for example, was 11th in Chicago's rankings but came in at No. 18 when moved over to the Giants' list. Humphreys was 14th with the Mets but is 26th with the Giants.
The 15 additions have come from traditional ways, but also creative ones, which is what ownership was counting on when a new front office was brought in. Here's a breakdown:
Hunter Bishop (4th), Patrick Bailey (6), Kyle Harrison (12), Nick Swiney (15), Logan Wyatt (20), Casey Schmitt (23), Grant McCray (29), Jimmy Glowenke (30).
The accounting there: Three players from the 2019 draft and five from 2020. Bishop, taken 10th overall in 2019, is the highest-ranking player added under Zaidi.
Jaylin Davis (13), Tristan Beck (19), Kai-Wei Teng (22)
This list doesn't even include Mauricio Dubon, who came over in the Drew Pomeranz deal and has played enough since then that he's not eligible for prospect rankings anymore.
The jury still is out on Davis, so let's focus here on the other two. It would have been enough just to get out from under the final year of Mark Melancon's deal last July, but the Braves threw in two pitchers, including Beck, a tall right-hander who had a 2.27 ERA after the trade and pitched well in the Fall League. The former Stanford star could be in the mix for a rotation spot at some point next season.
In exchange for Sam Dyson, who pitched horribly for the Twins and then had shoulder surgery, the Giants got Davis, right-hander Prelander Berroa and Teng, who has really interesting minor league numbers. He has allowed just one homer in 122 1/3 pro innings and has 135 strikeouts and a low walk rate. The 21-year-old was in Low-A last year, but scouts think he can be a rotation option in the future.
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Aeverson Arteaga (21)
Bobby Evans and the previous regime deserve a ton of credit for getting Marco Luciano, Alexander Canario, Luis Toribio and Luis Matos into the system. If someone like Luciano has come through two or three years earlier, perhaps no jobs would have been lost.
Zaidi's regime has had just one international signing period because this year's was moved back to next January. But last year the Giants spent $1 million on Arteaga, a Venezuelan shortstop who turns 18 next March. MLB Pipeline says he has the quickness and instincts to stay at shortstop and "an easy right-handed swing."
Using Their Cash
Will Wilson (11)
When the Dodgers hired Andrew Friedman and Zaidi from the Rays and A's, respectively, the goal was to combine small-market ingenuity with deep pockets. The Giants are trying to do the same thing.
The Wilson trade is the most creative move yet by Zaidi and new GM Scott Harris. With the Los Angeles Angels looking to make a splash in free agency, the Giants took on Zack Cozart's $12.67 million with Wilson, a 2019 first-rounder, attached as the sweetener. Wilson looked good during the Summer Camp and manager Gabe Kapler recently noted he's been a standout in Sacramento.
"Really strong reports on Will Wilson and his ability to play all three infield positions: second base, shortstop and third base," Kapler said. "He's driving the ball to all parts of the field."
The only downside to this deal was that the Giants cut Cozart so early that he was due his full salary even in a prorated season, weirdly making him the highest-paid Giant this year.
Basabe (18), Humphreys (26)
Humphreys, 24, came over for Billy Hamilton, who was added as a non-roster invitee a few days before spring training started. Hamilton never played for the Giants and was never even on the 40-man, but stashing that inventory paid off.
Basabe cost the Giants just some cash and a roster spot, which they opened up by putting Humphreys on the restricted list because of a family issue. Trevor Gott also was acquired for cash considerations at one point, and a year and a half later, he's the team's closer.
Kapler said the report he got on the 23-year-old Basabe is that he's "tooled up," has good arm strength and speed, and has a solid ceiling.
"I think this is what makes Farhan and Scott so good at what they do," Kapler said. "To be able to bring in a guy who slots immediately into our top prospects list without giving up too much in return."