SAN FRANCISCO -- Farhan Zaidi didn't give much away when he met with the media before the Giants' final game of the first half, but you could read between the lines. At one point, Zaidi spoke positively of Triple-A Sacramento's roster.
"Looking at our Triple-A team, there's a lot of guys that are playing well and are deserving of opportunities," he said. "And that may make it easier to make a baseball move off the major league roster knowing we have someone right behind who can fill in and keep us competitive in 2019."
So yes, the Giants will continue to try to walk the tightrope, even if this latest surge -- they're just 4 1/2 out in the Wild Card standings -- continues. They'll trade some big names and get some much-needed help for future rosters, then hope that reinforcements from the minors can continue to keep this team competitive.
That's actually been the plan much of this season. Alex Dickerson, Mike Yastrzemski and Donovan Solano are among those called up from Triple-A. Shaun Anderson and Tyler Beede have stuck in the rotation. Who could be next? Here are some names to know over the final two months:
Familiar prospects: Melvin Adon, Andrew Suarez, Aramis Garcia, Abiatal Avelino, Chris Shaw, Mike Gerber
Some of these guys aren't necessarily prospects anymore, having gotten plenty of time in the big leagues. But they're all relatively young and on the 40-man roster, which always puts you on the radar late in the year.
Adon sits around 100 mph, has a hard slider and opened eyes in spring training. He's posted a 2.83 ERA in Double-A with 56 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings. The 25 walks during that span are a red flag, but Adon has the stuff to get big league hitters out and should get a shot if the Giants clear out their bullpen before the deadline.
Suarez, Garcia, Avelino and Shaw were in the big leagues last year, and all could provide depth down the stretch. Shaw is the most interesting of the bunch, having been sent to Double-A to start the year. He has a .860 OPS since returning to Triple-A with nine homers in 126 at-bats entering Friday's game. Shaw is still striking out a lot, but team officials were pleased with the way he handled the move at the start of his year and have seen improved plate discipline.
Gerber got a long weekend in the big leagues before giving way to Mac Williamson and has continued to tear up the PCL. The outfielder has a .970 OPS and 17 homers.
The new guys: Sam Selman, Conner Menez, Zach Green
This is the most fascinating group.
In a very tough league for pitchers, Selman has been a star reliever. The 28-year-old lefty was in the Royals' system for years but has put it all together with the Giants. Selman has a 1.64 ERA and 0.67 WHIP in 25 appearances, with an absurd 54 strikeouts in 33 innings. If the Giants trade Will Smith or Tony Watson, Selman will get his shot.
"He's something special, man," teammate Ray Black said last week. "That slider he's got is devastating. If it's a strike, guys are buckling, and if it's a ball, guys are swinging at it. It's a guaranteed strike for the kid."
Menez, 24, is next in line to follow Shaun Anderson, one of his close friends, and Tyler Beede. The lefty has 116 strikeouts in 89 1/3 innings and has held hitters to a .202 average.
Green, 25, grew up in the Sacramento area and has provided plenty of power for the River Cats. He entered Friday's action with 22 homers in 198 at-bats, and certainly is on the big league staff's radar. "You know what, he's doing what he needs to do," Bruce Bochy said recently.
Green's problem is that, as a first baseman/third baseman, it'll be much harder to squeeze him onto the big league roster. The Giants have Brandon Belt, Evan Longoria and Pablo Sandoval holding it down, although Green might hit his way into an audition of some sort.
Big league veterans: Fernando Abad, Cristhian Adames, Pat Venditte
Abad, 33, has more than 300 big league appearances and soon should be in line for more, whether in San Francisco or elsewhere. He was signed late in the offseason and has a 2.30 ERA in Triple-A. Giants people have talked him up throughout the first half.
Adames joined the River Cats on Friday and, along with Avelino, serves as middle infield depth in the high minors. The Giants generally have taken a look at the veterans they have added in Triple-A, so he could get his shot, too.
Venditte was the first free agent signed by Zaidi, but was DFA'd in May. He could get a second chance if the big league bullpen gets torn up.