Giants

Giants sign former Padre Denorfia to minor league deal

denorfia-chris-yankees.jpg

Giants sign former Padre Denorfia to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants made another move to bolster their organizational depth Thursday, signing longtime Padre Chris Denorfia to a minor league deal. 

Denorfia, 35, was in camp with the New York Yankees this spring but opted out of that deal. He has played 10 big league seasons, five with the Padres, but hasn't appeared at any level since spring training. Denorfia had a .269/.319/.373 slash line in 103 games with the Cubs last season. He is a .285 career hitter against left-handers. 

The addition adds a veteran in Triple-A on the day Hunter Pence underwent hamstring surgery that will keep him out two months. Angel Pagan is expected back within a week, but the Giants were eager to add additional depth down in the upper levels of the minors. Denorfia could eventually be a bench option, although the Giants would certainly like to see Mac Williamson or Jarrett Parker run with that role.

Earlier Thursday, the Sacramento River Cats announced that Travis Ishikawa had been added to the roster a day after the Giants confirmed his return to the organization. To clear a roster spot in Triple-A, the River Cats sent another familiar name -- Darren Ford -- to Double-A Richmond.

What can Giants get in Madison Bumgarner trade? Tim Kurkjian answers

What can Giants get in Madison Bumgarner trade? Tim Kurkjian answers

Every Madison Bumgarner start can be his last as a Giant. 

The July 31 MLB trade deadline is over a month away, but Bumgarner could be gone before we know it. Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi is sure to be taking and making calls regarding his team's ace. Those calls should start with the New York Yankees, ESPN's Tim Kurkjian says. 

"The Yankees have to be at the top of that list," Kurkjian said Tuesday on KNBR. "Their lineup is ridiculously productive when it comes to hitting the ball out of the ballpark. But I still think they're one really good starting pitcher short of going into October as the team to beat. ... The question is, how much are they willing to give up?"

One Yankee the Giants should covet could be more available than ever. Clint Frazier, 24, was demoted to Triple-A on Sunday to make room for veteran slugger Edwin Encarnacion despite proving he clearly belongs in a major league lineup. Through 53 games this year, Frazier is batting .283 with 11 home runs and a .513 slugging percentage. 

Frazier is the exact kind of player the Giants should be pursuing. He has faults with poor defense and has responded tough to criticisms this year, but he's a young, right-handed power bat that can actually hit the ball over the wall at Oracle Park. Frazier would also be under team control through 2024.

It won't be that easy to acquire him, however.

"I had an executive tell me the other day, 'There's no way the Yankees would trade Frazier even straight up for Bumgarner.' I think the Giants would need Frazier and at least another top prospect before they're gonna move Bumgarner, even in a rental situation," Kurkjian said. 

The Yankees still value Frazier even though there might not be room for him on a star-studded roster. On the other hand, the Giants want to make sure they get the best return possible for a team legend despite the fact he'll be a free agent at the end of the year. 

"How many teams are going to be willing to give up a tremendous amount for a two-month rental who's not the best he's ever been?" Kurkjian said. 

Bumgarner is 3-6 with a 3.87 ERA this season. That doesn't tell the whole story, though. His ERA has lowered every month so far. In March/April he posted a 4.30 ERA in six starts; in May he had a 3.72 ERA in six more starts and he has a 3.32 ERA through three starts in June.

The big left-hander has seen his fastball velocity rise as well. Bumgarner's average fastball velocity of 92.2 mph also is his highest since 2015, according to Brooks Baseball.

Oh, and there's that whole playoffs thing, too. 

[RELATED: History shows teams shouldn't wait to trade for MadBum]

The Yankees need Bumgarner to win another ring. The Giants need Frazier for the ball to go over the wall.

Let's make a deal.

Madison Bumgarner trade should be MLB teams' priority now, history shows

Madison Bumgarner trade should be MLB teams' priority now, history shows

With smarter, more analytical front offices, baseball is changing before our eyes. Even in the sport's evolution, however, history can teach us a lot. 

When it comes to this year's MLB trade deadline, teams should be taking a page out of baseball's history book and pounce at the chance to acquire Giants ace Madison Bumgarner, writes The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.

Sure, Bumgarner is one of the most accomplished postseason pitchers of all time. But in this case, Rosenthal is going back even further than his heroics in 2014, and it all starts with a different left-handed pitcher. 

On July 7, 2008, the Brewers acquired CC Sabathia from the Indians for Rob Bryson, Zach Jackson, Matt LaPorta and a player to be named later. The PTBNL turned out to be three-time All-Star Michael Brantley. More importantly, Sabathia went on one of the greatest stretches by a pitcher we've seen, propelling the Brewers into the playoffs for the first time in 26 years.

Sabathia was unhittable once he joined Milwaukee, going 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA over 17 starts -- seven of which were complete games. What made the trade different than others, however, was its timing. By adding Sabathia in early July, the Brewers had the big lefty for five extra starts compared to him joining the team after the July 31 trade deadline. 

Times have changed, and fewer teams pull off a trade like that weeks before the deadline. Front offices understand that if teams like the Mets and Diamondbacks continue to struggle, pitchers like Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Zack Greinke, and Robbie Ray could become available.

Sabathia joined the Brewers two weeks before his 28th birthday. Bumgarner turns 30 on August 1. Sabathia had a 3.83 ERA when the Indians traded him. Bumgarner currently owns a 3.87 ERA over 15 starts. But as the season progresses, Bumgarner only has performed better. 

[RELATED: Giants might have two best pieces before trade deadline]

Bumgarner's ERA has lowered every month so far. In March/April he posted a 4.30 ERA in six starts; in May he had a 3.72 ERA in six more starts and he has a 3.32 ERA through three starts in June. Bumgarner's average fastball velocity of 92.2 mph also is his highest since 2015, according to Brooks Baseball.

For teams that believe they can make a playoff push -- even for the Wild Card Game -- their front offices should be calling the Giants, and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi should be answering before the market gets flooded.