Giants

MLB rumors: Giants to be sellers, not buyers, as trade deadline nears

MLB rumors: Giants to be sellers, not buyers, as trade deadline nears

The Giants find themselves facing a question nobody ever expected: Should they be buyers or sellers at the July 31 MLB trade deadline? 

For months, the answer was obvious. The Giants found themselves at the bottom of the standings as one of the worst teams in baseball. Having two of the best trade assets in the game in pitchers Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith, San Francisco was built to sell and keep building for the future. 

Oh how quickly the narrative changes. 

As the Giants enter Wednesday only three games back for the second NL wild-card spot, fans are clamoring for president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi to be a buyer and hold onto the two left-handers. That won't be the case, however, ESPN's Jeff Passan reports. 

"San Francisco's recent success isn't throwing a wrench in the team's trade-Bumgarner-and-all-the-relievers plan," Passan wrote Wednesday morning. "Even with their best run of the year, the Giants are three games below .500 and have the third-worst run differential in the NL. They are selling. One more time, a bit slower. They. Are. Selling." 

And they should. Despite being on a four-game win streak and going 8-2 in their last 10 games, the math just doesn't add up, as Passan points out. Plus, it makes no sense for an aging roster that likely isn't a title contender to hold onto Bumgarner and Smith, both of whom will be free agents this upcoming offseason. 

The Giants have been dangling Bumgarner to interested teams for a while now. According to Passan, they tried to get a deal done last month but nothing substantive came from the trade talks. As the deadline approaches, teams reportedly believe he won't be moved until the final days of the month. 

Bumgarner and Smith both will be on the move. Who gets the greater return for the Giants is the biggest question now.

[RELATED: How Zaidi's reacting to Giants' hot streak ahead of deadline]

Everyone knows who Bumgarner is. While he isn't the same dominant pitcher he once was, his pedigree in the playoffs speaks for itself. A team on the verge of being World Series favorites knows adding someone like Bumgarner with his October experience could make all the difference. 

But October is a month driven by bullpens and Smith has been one of the best relievers in baseball this season. Plenty of relief help will be on the way at the deadline, and the Giants' closer could be the cream of the crop. 

How Giants manager Gabe Kapler plans to handle veteran core of lineup

How Giants manager Gabe Kapler plans to handle veteran core of lineup

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gabe Kapler spent the last month talking to Giants employees about why he would be the right fit for the job, and on Wednesday he spent nearly an hour on a podium discussing his past and future. But now Kapler plans to listen.

The new Giants manager is three months from the start of spring training and soon after that he'll have to start putting together lineups. On the Giants Insider Podcast, Kapler said he plans to talk to core players before revealing any preferences. 

"An executive in Los Angeles once said to me: 'Know where they've been, know where they are, know where they're going," Kapler said. "In order to know those three things, I need to be able to ask those questions and hear what's going on in their brains."

The arrival of Kapler -- and general manager Scott Harris -- should lead to big changes even if the Giants aren't able to trade any veterans. Bruce Bochy had too much respect for Buster Posey's past accomplishments to move him out of the heart of the order, but Kapler enters without that history.

Brandon Crawford is coming off a down year and could lose time to Mauricio Dubon or a newcomer. Brandon Belt didn't hit for much power last year, but Bochy hit him leadoff at times because of his ability to have good plate appearances, and Kapler complimented Belt during his press conference Wednesday. 

"I've thought a lot about Brandon Belt (and) how impressive it is to watch him take an at-bat, independent of the outcome of the at-bat," Kapler said. "He tends to look over pitches and make really good swing-or-don't-swing decisions."

It'll now be up to Kapler to figure out the best configuration. He said he already has started digging into his new options, and he's excited about meeting the longtime Giants. 

"In preparing for an interview like this, you start to learn the players: The areas where they've taken off since you might have seen them last, the areas where they might have regressed a little bit," he said. "Before any real lineup decisions are made or any strategic decisions are made, tactical decisions, you have conversations with the players. I think that's a really important part of the process that sometimes gets blown past.

"I don't think it makes any sense for me to come in here and say Brandon Belt is going to lead off for us and Evan Longoria will hit in this spot and Buster Posey is going to play 'X' amount of games. All of those things we have an idea and a feel for, but much more importantly, before I make any decision like that or suggest any decision like that, I'll have a conversation with Buster, have a conversation with Evan, find out where they've been."

The perception in some circles is that Kapler was brought in partly because he can have those conversations before taking lineup suggestions from Zaidi, a close friend. But Kapler said he had autonomy in Philadelphia and doesn't expect a change, although he's happy to have input from the front office.

[RELATED: Zaidi lands his guy in Kapler, who must prove he fits Giants]

"I see it as a plus and a positive that Farhan will be invested in what happens on the field," he said. "That's the way it should be. But it's also important to note that I have a fairly strong personality. I've always shared my opinions. I always will share my opinions. We'll just come to the best decisions that help the San Francisco Giants win baseball games."

For more of Kapler's thoughts on strategy, bullpen usage, developing top prospects, his reunion with Zaidi, and those ice cream urban legends, you can stream the Giants Insider Podcast here or download it on iTunes here.

Click here to watch the full Kapler interview

MLB rumors: Yankees interested in free agent pitcher Madison Bumgarner

MLB rumors: Yankees interested in free agent pitcher Madison Bumgarner

This isn’t exactly breaking news, but Madison Bumgarner will be a hot commodity in MLB free agency.

The Atlanta Braves reportedly are the favorites to land the three-time World Series champion, but now another title contender is hoping in adding Bumgarner's services in 2020, after his 11-year run with the Giants.

“I will definitely talk to Bumgarner’s agency,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman reportedly told The San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea at the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz. “I haven’t. But I will.”

The Yankees' interest is far from a surprise. Not only does the franchise have one of baseball’s most expansive payrolls, but it could use a pitcher who sports a series of dominant playoff performances, considering the Yankees haven’t participated in the Fall Classic since 2009, despite seven postseason appearances in that span.

[RELATED: How Kapler explained 'problem solving' in 2015 blog post]

It remains to be seen how aggressive the Giants will be in trying to re-sign Bumgarner, but it’s clear they won’t be the only ones after the left-hander this winter.