Krukow: Kyle Blanks 'has a legitimate chance' to make Giants


Krukow: Kyle Blanks 'has a legitimate chance' to make Giants

Back in mid-November, the Giants agreed to terms on a minor league deal with Kyle Blanks.

On Tuesday, San Francisco announced that 21 players will be in camp as non-roster invitees, and Blanks is one of them.

"I've always liked him," Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow said on KNBR 680 on Wednesday morning. "First of all, I don't like tall hitters. I just don't. They have too much strike zone to cover and normally their swings are too long. And Kyle Blanks is 6'7". He's humongous. But he, for a guy that size, has got a very quick swing. And I've liked him for the longest time."

Blanks, who was selected in the 42nd round of the 2004 draft, only appeared in 44 games over the past two seasons combined.

Over 54 games in 2009, he hit .250 with 10 home runs and 22 RBI for the Padres.

In 2013, he hit .243 with eight home runs and 35 RBI in 88 games.

"I think a couple years ago we were talking about him (Blanks), and you asked me about power that's around the major leagues, and I said Kyle Blanks is a guy that's capable of a 40 or 50 home run year," Krukow said. "Injuries have really hurt him, but he's very athletic for a big guy and he has a legitimate chance to make this club."

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.

Tyler Beede's long journey culminates with first big league win vs. Dodgers

Tyler Beede's long journey culminates with first big league win vs. Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- The Giants-Dodgers rivalry is not currently competitive in the standings, but as Bruce Bochy looked around Monday afternoon, he still saw an environment that would test his young right-handers. The Dodgers are the best team in the National League, the favorite to reach the World Series for a third straight year, and they play in a historic ballpark that drew more than 40,000 on a weeknight. 

Bochy was curious about how rookie right-handers Shaun Anderson and Tyler Beede would handle it, and before batting practice, he noted that Dodger Stadium "is a place where they should expect to pitch a lot in the future."

Anderson will face Clayton Kershaw here on Tuesday night. But Beede came first, kicking off a four-game series against veteran Kenta Maeda. 

"This is going to be a great experience for him, pitching here," Bochy said. 

For Beede, it was more than an experience. It was a night he'll never forget.

Drafted 14th overall in 2014, Beede finally got his first win in the big leagues. He limited the Dodgers to one run over six innings as the Giants held on 3-2, becoming just the fourth Giants pitcher to get his first big league win at Dodger Stadium. 

"They were busting my chops in there saying, you know, we've been waiting two months. I said I've been waiting a couple of years for this," Beede said, smiling. "What I've always wanted is to contribute to this team and be someone that they can rely on to throw out there every five days, so this more than anything just solidifies perseverance and my ability to come back after a rough year and be a guy that they can look to contribute to this team.

"It means a lot. At this point last year I was at a position where I didn't feel as confident as I do right now, as comfortable. Yeah, this moment means a lot."

It also showed a lot. Beede walked five, but he allowed just three hits and struck out seven, showing his power repertoire against a lineup that should be the toughest test he faces this season. 

"I'm proud of the kid," Bochy said. "He came in here and pitched well."

The Dodgers have the most dangerous left-handed lineup in the National League, and on Monday the right-handed Beede saw an imposing setup. Joc Pederson and Alex Verdugo led off, followed by Matt Beaty, who was a surprise choice as the No. 3 hitter, but was there perhaps because Beaty sounds like Beede. MVP frontrunner Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy made up the heart of the order. 

That's as tough as it gets if you're a right-hander in this league, but Beede mostly kept the group in check. Muncy hit a long solo homer and Pederson nearly yanked one around the pole, but in all those first five hitters went just 2-for-11, with the homer, an infield single, four walks, and two strikeouts. 

Beede averaged 94.9 mph with his fastball and topped out above 96, and the big curveball played off his heater perfectly. He threw 19 curves, getting 12 strikes, including six swings-and-misses. Five of the Dodgers' seven strikeouts against Beede came on the curveball. 

"Everything plays off of fastball location," Beede said. "When I'm locating my heater down and away and riding it up, I think that makes the curve just as good."

Beede said he focused on tunneling his three pitches, making them look the same coming out of his hand. That led to some awkward swings on the curveball, but also some bad ones on fastballs. Verdugo went down on a 95 mph heater at the letters in the fifth. Bellinger flied out on a 96 mph fastball in on his hands with a runner on. 

Beede's fastball had a touch more life, and he said he felt the adrenaline that came with a start at Dodger Stadium. But he kept his calm, only breaking from character after the game when he showed his excitement over his first career win. Per tradition, Beede was hauled into the showers, drenched with a variety of liquids that he could not identify except to call them "really cold."

[RELATED: Pablo gets hand stepped on, leaves Giants-Dodgers game]

The eyes stung when it was all over, and Beede momentarily misplaced his cell phone. But it was all worth it. It's been a long road to his first win, but Beede finally has it in the books. 

"Being where I am," he said, "It's where I always wanted to be."