MLB Rumors: Giants 'in contact' with Angels on Will Smith, Tony Watson


MLB Rumors: Giants 'in contact' with Angels on Will Smith, Tony Watson

The Giants bullpen is one of the few elements that can be left alone this offseason.

But that doesn't mean it will be.

Simply put, it's a strong group of pitchers, but that means they more than likely have a trade target on their backs -- which is the case for relievers Will Smith and Tony Watson. 

Back in December, Duane Kuiper spoke to KNBR to talk about pitching -- specifically Madison Bumgarner -- who has been a constant in Giants trade talks during the winter months.

But during that segment, he mentioned that Smith and Watson could be the pitchers that will be traded. And the Athletic's Andrew Baggarly reported that the Angels have been "in constant contact" with the Giants regarding the two relievers.

Kuiper was on to something.

Last season with the Giants, Watson boasted a 2.59 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 66 innings. He matched his career-high strikeout/walk ratio and had a career-best 27.6% strikeout percentage. 

That's one way to take advantage of a pitcher's park.

Smith had himself a terrific season also. The 29-year-old lefty had a 2.55 ERA with 71 K's in 53 innings. He also had received some interest from the Cardinals.

The Angels bullpen could use the lefty help from both Watson and Smith, but really, what team couldn't? 

[RELATED: Trevor Cahill signs with the Angels]

It appears not all of the attention is on MadBum. At least not at the moment.

Chris Stratton thanks Giants, makes Angels' Opening Day roster

Chris Stratton thanks Giants, makes Angels' Opening Day roster

It's been a hectic 24 hours for Chris Stratton. 

Following their spring training game against the Oakland A's on Monday night, the San Francisco Giants traded the right-hander to the Los Angeles Angels for left-hander Williams Jerez.

Stratton, 28, thanked the Giants' organization on Twitter following the move.

While the right-hander had a rough 2018 with the Giants, going 10-10 with a 5.09 ERA, the Angels are excited about what he can bring to their team.

[RELATED: Giants face tough choice with Pablo Sandoval]

Angels manager Brad Ausmus announced Tuesday that Stratton will be in the Angels' starting rotation.

Stratton was expected to be a long reliever for the Giants, so the Angels appear to present a better opportunity for the 2012 first-round draft pick who will look to put it all together for the Halos this season.

Giants face tough decision with Pablo Sandoval as Opening Day nears

Giants face tough decision with Pablo Sandoval as Opening Day nears

SAN FRANCISCO -- For two days the clubhouse at Oracle Park has been overflowing with energy in large part because of the presence of Pablo Sandoval. But there's no guarantee Sandoval will be in the room when the Giants begin their season Thursday in San Diego. 

Seemingly a lock for the roster at the start of camp, Sandoval finds himself in a tough spot. The Giants likely will carry just four bench bats, and two spots already have been given to Yangervis Solarte and Erik Kratz. Sandoval is part of a crowd that includes Alen Hanson, Mac Williamson, Henry Ramos and newcomers Connor Joe and Michael Reed.

"He's in that mix," president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said Tuesday. "Obviously you're evaluating not just what he meant to this organization last year but over the course of his entire career, and what he could bring to this team this season -- which is a pretty valuable bat -- against the fact that our roster and our lineup is pretty left-handed right now."

Zaidi said the Giants do not have enough time to really judge Joe and Reed on the field before Opening Day, so they will rely on past track records and evaluations. That would seem to be a good sign for both players, given that Zaidi acquired them in the final week of decision-making. Joe is a Rule 5 pick and the Giants acquired him with the intention of keeping him Thursday instead of offering him back to the Dodgers. Reed can play center field and bats right-handed, filling two needs. 

Zaidi also said that the Giants are concerned about their infield coverage, particularly at shortstop.  

"We want to make sure we're not overextending Brandon (Crawford) ... we've obviously got some ways to cover that spot and that's going to be part of the consideration," Zaidi said. 

Hanson is the solution there, and the next best option defensively if Crawford needs a break. Sandoval has worked to make himself versatile, even taking fly balls in left field this spring, but there's only so far he can stretch. 

The Giants were set to meet before Tuesday's game and again after the game to continue discussing their options. They still could fit Sandoval on the roster, and perhaps they'll get creative with the injured list before Thursday morning's roster deadline, but at the moment this appears to be a nervous week for longtime Giants like Sandoval and Williamson.