Giants

How Giants' flexibility set up trade for Angels' top infield prospect

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USATSI

How Giants' flexibility set up trade for Angels' top infield prospect

SAN DIEGO -- The Giants got involved in the Gerrit Cole derby, just not in the way most fans had hoped.

They acquired infielder Zack Cozart from the Angels on Tuesday, taking on the remaining $12.67 million of the 34-year-old infielder's contract. The reward for doing so was shortstop prospect Will Wilson, with the savvy deal officially announced as Cozart and Wilson in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. 

For the Angels, losing a good prospect could lead to much bigger things. They are one of the leading contenders for Cole and needed to free up some money.

For the Giants, this is simple. They are rebuilding, they have plenty of payroll flexibility, and they combined those two facts to essentially buy a first-round pick by taking on a veteran's salary. 

Wilson, 21, is the key to the deal. He was the 15th overall selection in the 2019 draft and was the Angels' No. 4 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. Wilson had a .275/.328/.439 slash line in rookie ball last year with five homers and 10 doubles in 189 at-bats. He is a right-handed hitter who is said to have above-average pop and good hands. 

The Giants have gone years without developing homegrown infielders after a strong run at the start of the decade, and that's one area president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi looked to bolster when he took over. Wilson will be one of the organization's better prospects and might be their second-best infield prospect after Marco Luciano. 

Cozart was an All-Star in 2017 but missed most of 2019 with left shoulder inflammation. He hit just .124 in 38 games and didn't homer. Cozart played 58 games in 2018, the first season of a big three-year deal, hitting .219 with five homers. 

[RELATED: Giants sign pitcher Gausman to one-year, $9M contract]

On the surface, Cozart is a tough fit for the 2020 roster. The Giants had hoped to add a left-handed hitting infielder to complement Evan Longoria, Mauricio Dubon and Donovan Solano, although it's possible Dubon will get more reps in the outfield with Cozart now potentially in the mix.

This deal wasn't about the big league roster, though. It was about buying a good prospect, something the Giants tried to do last offseason and expect to continue working on as they try to build a future contender. 

Dodgers getting Astros' titles still wouldn't match Giants' decade

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Dodgers getting Astros' titles still wouldn't match Giants' decade

The outrage continues in Tinseltown.

As the fallout from the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal continues, many have called into question the Astros’ 2017 World Series title, a thrilling seven-game series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

With the championship appearing to be tainted by Houston’s systematic tracking of pitching signals, the Los Angeles city council unanimously passed a resolution last week urging Major League Baseball to rescind the victory from the Astros and award it to the runner-up Dodgers. The resolution also included the 2018 World Series, which the Dodgers lost to the Boston Red Sox in five games. Boston remains under investigation for similar allegations.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred pushed back on the idea, pointing to the MLB’s history with not altering the past.

“Whatever the impact of the sign stealing was, it could have changed who was in the World Series,” Manfred said earlier this week on Fox Business’ “Mornings with Maria." “It’s absolutely unclear that the Dodgers would have been the World Series champion. I think there's a long tradition in baseball of not trying to change what happened. I think the answer from our perspective is to be transparent about what the investigation showed and let our fans make their own decision about what happened.”

Followers of the Giants’ archrival definitely made up their own minds, as they flocked to Dodgers FanFest on Saturday.

Pantone 294, one of the Dodgers’ fan groups, also has organized an outing to the Los Angeles Angels’ home opener against the Astros. The group’s website wants LA fans to flock to Anaheim and “support the team that's playing the game we all know and love the right way!”

Even if by Manfred pulled a complete 180 and decided to not only take away championships from both Houston and Boston, but award them to the Dodgers, they’d still have fewer rings than the Giants have won over the past 30 years.

Nothing got the fans in LA more fired up than watching the Giants bring home three World Series titles over a five-year stretch, firmly cementing them as the NL West's team of the decade.

We all know this isn’t emblematic of every Dodgers fan, as many have voiced their opinion that being awarded two championships doesn't mean anything after the fact, especially when everyone watched them get obliterated by the Red Sox in five games and only score one run in Game 7 against the Astros in 2017.

No matter how many signs might have been stolen, only scoring one run in a World Series game isn't going to get you a win in almost every situation.

Some players, including third baseman Justin Turner, made it clear they aren't interested in receiving a ring that doesn't feel earned.

Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling, however, is cheering on fans choosing to waste their time and money heckling Houston.

“I like it,” Stripling said (h/t Los Angeles Times). “The Dodger fans are fired up. If they want to do their part, and they think that is what it is, then kudos to them. Go do it.

“I know that they’re passionate, and they wanted a championship as much as we did. Obviously, they have still got some fire in their belly to go fight for us.”

[RELATED: Mailbag: Will Beede, Webb be with Giants come Opening Day?]

While the official punishments likely are over for the Astros, it appears they still will be living rent-free in many Dodger fans’ heads all season long.

Meanwhile, Giants fans can sit back and enjoy three, controversy-free World Series trophies residing inside Oracle Park.

MLB rumors: Former Giants GM Bobby Evans interviewed for Astros job

MLB rumors: Former Giants GM Bobby Evans interviewed for Astros job

A little over a year after he was fired, former Giants general manager Bobby Evans could land on his feet.

Evans interviewed for the open Houston Astros general manager position, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday, citing sources.

Evans spent four seasons as the general manager of the Giants before being reassigned within the organization at the end of the 2018 season. Including the 2019 season, Evans has spent the last 26 seasons in San Francisco.

The Astros are in need of a new GM and manager after Jeff Luhnow and AJ Hinch were fired in the fallout from the sign-stealing scandal that has rocked baseball in recent weeks.

Houston is tainted at the moment, but Evans would be inheriting a roster that still possesses the talent to compete for a World Series, with or without trash cans.

While serving as assistant general manager for the Giants, Evans helped lead to the team to World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014. But his tenure as GM wasn't as successful. A lot of the moves Evans made, including the signings of Mark Melancon, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Denard Span, didn't lead to the desired results.

[RELATED: Evans' dismissal hard on Giants players]

With Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris at the helm of the Giants, it makes sense for Evans to consider outside opportunities, even if the Astros are the black eye of baseball.

Both Evans and the Astros need second chances, so this could be the perfect marriage if the two sides can come to an agreement.