Giants

MLB rumors: Bryce Harper ‘could be rounding third’ on Phillies contract

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AP

MLB rumors: Bryce Harper ‘could be rounding third’ on Phillies contract

Bryce Harper is going to be a Giant. No, no, he’s signing with the Phillies. OK, we all know the Yankees will swoop in for him.

On second thought, he’ll pick the Padres. Can’t be, though, since there’s a mystery team (or was that really the Padres?)

While the baseball world waits and waits and waits on Harper’s free-agency decision, fans and pundits alike are growing antsy with every breathless report that the slugger is finalizing a decision.

Enter Jim Bowden, now an MLB analyst for The Athletic, who provided this update Saturday ...

Harper seems headed to Philadelphia.

Bowden was general manager for the Reds (1992-2003) and the Nationals (2004-09), so he’s certainly connected to the MLB rumor mill. But he couched his thoughts on Harper with words like “I think” and “could,” so it comes off as informed speculation, not a certainty.

Giants fans worried that the recent deals with Gerardo Parra and Cameron Maybin signal the team is out on Harper actually shouldn’t be concerned. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic pointed out Saturday that the team always planned to add two outfielders before checking back on Harper.

Bowden was general manager for the Reds (1992-2003) and the Nationals (2004-09), so he’s certainly connected to the MLB rumor mill. But he couched his thoughts on Harper with words like “I think” and “could,” so it comes off as informed speculation, not a certainty.

[RELATED: Could we see Pablo Sandoval pitch again?]

Giants fans worried that the recent deals with Gerardo Parra and Cameron Maybin signal the team is out on Harper actually shouldn’t be concerned. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic pointed out Saturday that the team always planned to add two outfielders before checking back on Harper.

Whether or not Harper plans to launch balls into McCovey Cove this coming season remains to be seen. After all, just one day before Bowden gave his take, a Washington D.C. radio host said Harper had made his decision, and he believed it was to join the Giants.

C’mon, Bryce. Make a decision already. We’re not sure we can take more talk-show speculation. (Oh, and San Francisco is lovely this and any time of year.)

Andrew Suarez returns to big leagues for another shot with Giants

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USATSI

Andrew Suarez returns to big leagues for another shot with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- For several days, the Giants listed Monday's starter as "TBA," leading to speculation that they would try an opener for a second straight week. Instead, it will be a familiar starter.

Left-hander Andrew Suarez will be recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to make his first big league start of the season. Suarez made 29 starts for the Giants last season, posting a 4.49 ERA in a rookie season that was a bit better than the final numbers indicated. 

Suarez did not make the rotation out of camp and has a 6.33 ERA in six minor league starts. He missed more than two weeks with a hamstring strain and has given up seven earned runs in 8 2/3 innings since returning to Triple-A Sacramento. 

"I'm sure he's chipping a little rust off," manager Bruce Bochy said. "A day like this, especially for a guy that made as many starts as he did, can be pretty uplifting and fire a guy up. We need a starter tomorrow and with his experience and what he did last year, this makes sense for us."

With Suarez and Shaun Anderson set to go the first two games against the Braves, the Giants will have taken a look at all four young pitchers who could be part of a future rotation. Dereck Rodriguez and Tyler Beede already have gotten a look and been optioned. Both are in Triple-A, currently. 

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Given the state of the roster, it's possible either Suarez or Anderson is sent back to Triple-A after his start. Bochy said the young pitchers know the deal. 

"I think they see it around baseball and they understand it," he said. 

Giants trade struggling catcher Erik Kratz to Rays days after DFA

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AP

Giants trade struggling catcher Erik Kratz to Rays days after DFA

Erik Kratz is no longer in the Giants organization. 

Three days after San Francisco designated the veteran catcher for assignment, the Giants traded the 38-year-old to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin first reported the news Thursday, and the Giants announced the news shortly thereafter. 

On Monday morning, the player to be named was announced as minor league pitcher Matt Seelinger. He'll report to Class A Augusta.

The Giants traded for Kratz in late March, wanting a veteran backup for Buster Posey while Stephen Vogt recovered from shoulder surgery. 26-year-old catcher Aramis Garcia still had minor-league options, so the front office looked for a more-polished stopgap.

But Kratz struggled in his short time wearing orange and black, slashing .125/.222/.281 in 36 plate appearances. He also made more errors (four) in 11 games behind the dish than he did in 61 with the Brewers (three) in 2018, and caught two out of nine runners stealing. 

[RELATED: Where Giants stand on competing, rebuilding after quarter of 2019 season]

The Kratz trade was not the only move the Giants made at the position Thursday. They also optioned Garcia to Triple-A Sacramento in anticipation that Posey will return to the lineup Friday after a stint on the seven-day concussion list.