Giants

Giants prospects Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos could start 2020 in Triple-A

Giants prospects Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos could start 2020 in Triple-A

SAN FRANCISCO -- Mike Yastrzemski was a hell of a find, and the Giants feel good about what they saw from Tyler Beede, Logan Webb, Tyler Rogers and others late in the year. But as they try and build a contender, the best developments in 2019 came at much lower levels.

For the first time in a decade, the Giants have a group of high-end prospects coming through the system, and a couple could arrive as early as next year. Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos finished the season in Double-A, and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said on this week's Giants Insider Podcast that both will enter spring training with "the opportunity but not with a guarantee of starting the season in Triple-A."

Being in Sacramento in April would put Bart, a 22-year-old catcher, and Ramos, a 20-year-old outfielder, in position to debut next season. 

"They're going to have to earn that (promotion to Triple-A) and then we'll see where things go from there," Zaidi said. "One thing that we really wanted to emphasize and create a culture of this year was you earn your way through the system and there's no fixed timetables. Guys will be moved on merit and be given opportunities. That's true for guys that might be perceived as org guys and it's also true for the top prospects. 

"Those guys will have the opportunity to earn their way potentially all the way up to the big leagues next year but it's going to be up to them."

Zaidi's first season showed that the Giants are willing to be aggressive. Webb made just one start in Triple-A before getting eight in the big league rotation. Beede and Shaun Anderson arrived early, and Mauricio Dubon was plugged in as an everyday starter before rosters expanded. For the first time, Rogers was given an opportunity, and he was a September standout. 

[RELATED: Giants excited about future of young talent]

Bart and Ramos started the season in San Jose and both overcame injuries while reaching Richmond. Bart hit .278 with 16 homers in 79 games and now is tearing up the Arizona Fall League. Ramos hit .306 with 16 homers in San Jose but saw his OPS dip to .742 in Richmond. Still, he was one of the youngest players in both leagues.

Zaidi said he believes the Fall League will be a great experience for both top prospects. For more of his thoughts on his first season, the struggling core Giants, Madison Bumgarner, Dubon, the Joe Panik move and the trade deadline, you can stream the Giants Insider Podcast here or download it on iTunes here.

Rays designate popular ex-Giants infielder Matt Duffy for assignment

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Rays designate popular ex-Giants infielder Matt Duffy for assignment

A Giants fan favorite needs a new home. 

The Tampa Bay Rays designated infielder Matt Duffy for assignment Wednesday, and they now have a week to trade or release him. Injuries limited Duffy, who played for San Francisco for parts of three seasons, to just 199 games with the Rays after being traded to Tampa Bay during the 2016 season.

“Wish that his health and his time with us would have gone different in that regard and we could have had him on the field more,’’ Rays general manager Erik Neander said (via the Tampa Bay Times). “He really is a special player and there’s the obvious stuff you can measure in how he impacts a game. His intangibles, his leadership, his influence on a younger impressionable clubhouse like we have is worth a lot. And that especially made this a very difficult decision and we’ll certainly miss him in that regard.’’

Duffy played in only 46 games, slashing just .252/.343/.327 and posting a career-low .670 OPS. Despite those struggles, Duffy's Rays career ended with eerily similar statistics to that of his Giants tenure. Duffy played 54 more games in orange and black than he did with Tampa Bay, but his .281/.326/.399 slash line with the Giants was not far off from his overall .284/.351/.357 line with the Rays. 

The pitcher Duffy was traded for, Matt Moore, is long gone from San Francisco. Could Duffy make his way back to Oracle Park, either through trade or free agency? It's difficult to imagine, given the construction of the Giants' infield depth chart. 

Duffy has played the vast majority of his career games at third base, and Giants third baseman Evan Longoria is under contract through 2022 and owed $53 million until then, making a trade unlikely. Behind Longoria is arbitration-eligible veteran Donovan Solano, who posted a career-best .815 OPS last season. Right-handed shortstop Mauricio Dubon, who the Giants acquired in a trade from the Milwaukee Brewers, will at least back up Brandon Crawford next season, and Dubon's status as one of San Francisco's most promising young players will give him the priority in terms of playing time. 

[RELATED: Would Cole be perfect fit for the Giants this offseason?]

Plus, Duffy's connections to the Giants are largely gone. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, general manager Scott Harris and manager Gabe Kapler were not in San Francisco when Duffy was. The Giants are no strangers to bringing back one of their own, but it remains to be seen if San Francisco's newly formed brain trust values that in the same way. 

The Giants opted not to make any changes to their 40-man roster Wednesday, and they would've had a chance to acquire Duffy via trade. Neander said the Rays were unable to find a taker, but perhaps a team circles back now that Duffy has been DFA'd. It just might not be San Francisco. 

Why Farhan Zaidi says he still has faith in Giants' aging veteran core

Why Farhan Zaidi says he still has faith in Giants' aging veteran core

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has made a multitude of personnel moves since taking over control of San Francisco’s roster. 

A handful of holdovers remain from the previous regime, many of whom were part of the organization’s three World Series trophies in five years.

Guys like Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Buster Posey and others are facing increasing competition for innings after several rough seasons in a row for the Giants.

Zaidi wants to continue the team’s rebuild but isn’t going to just jettison every guy who’s not in their prime.

“Sometimes I think the change does not mean a change in personnel,” Zaidi told The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami on “The TK Show” podcast. “But a change in outlook and perspective.

“Baseball is a game where development should never stop, whether you’re a 22-year-old rookie or a 33-year-old veteran.”

Zaidi is hoping that the infusion of fresh blood into the Giants clubhouse should give every returning player an opportunity to re-evaluate their own roles and abilities.

[RELATED: Would Cole be perfect fit for the Giants this offseason?]

“As I view it, being a change agent doesn’t mean just turning over the roster,” Zaidi said. “But it means everybody reassessing where they are in their careers, what they do well, what their roles are, and trying to progress further for the betterment of the team.”

Expect to see some familiar faces on the Giants next season. But Zaidi and his new general manager Scott Harris likely will continue making moves throughout the offseason and even in-season, as we saw frequently in 2019.