SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants will fly to San Diego on Sunday evening, and for the next three days they’ll get a close look at one of the most imposing trios in recent MLB history. The newest member of that group is a player the Giants sought in recent days.
Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said he did talk to the Washington Nationals about acquiring superstar outfielder Juan Soto, but the Giants package was not enough. Soto went to the Padres on Tuesday morning for a package headlined by four top prospects, including lefty MacKenzie Gore and shortstop C.J. Abrams, widely considered to be two of the top prospects in the game.
"We had conversations about Juan Soto with the Nationals, again, like any team doing their due diligence was," Zaidi said. "Obviously the Nationals gravitated towards the package with the players they liked the best. He's one of the best players in the big leagues and I think every team would love to have him. We were involved and the Nationals, I think, ultimately went with the group of players they liked the best."
Zaidi acknowledged that the Giants were hurt by several of their top prospects having injury-plagued or inconsistent seasons. A notable exception is 20-year-old lefty Kyle Harrison, who has dominated at both High-A and Double-A and is considered by many evaluators to be the top left-handed pitching prospect in the minors.
Zaidi said the Giants predictably received a lot of calls on Harrison, and while they have no intention of trading their best pitching prospects, they have remained open-minded. He said he didn't make anyone in the organization "untouchable" in trade talks over recent weeks.
"We were willing to talk about anybody," Zaidi said.
Ultimately, the Giants ended up mildly selling. They sent Darin Ruf to the New York Mets, Trevor Rosenthal to the Milwaukee Brewers, and Curt Casali and Matt Boyd to the Seattle Mariners. The return was mostly prospects, although J.D. Davis, acquired from the Mets for Ruf, will join the big league lineup on Wednesday.
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Zaidi and manager Gabe Kapler preached optimism after the deadline, saying the Giants intend to push for the third National League Wild Card spot. Their bid certainly will not be helped by the fact that they have three series left against a Padres team that soon will have Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado atop the lineup.
"The Padres have been really aggressive over the last couple of years in both trades and the players that they have signed," Kapler said. "This is very similar to what we say about the Dodgers when they make a move: They're a good baseball team, and they're working hard to become a better baseball team.
"But it's not going to change the way we prepare and it's not going to change the way we practice and we believe in ourselves in that room."