MLB rumors: Giants, Dodgers not ruling out Will Smith trade before deadline

MLB rumors: Giants, Dodgers not ruling out Will Smith trade before deadline

Plenty of the same names remain, but this isn't the same old -- no pun intended -- Giants.

The product looks similar to previous seasons, however everything is different with president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi at the helm. That could become even more clear at the July 31 MLB trade deadline, when the Giants are expected to see significant roster turnover.

Zaidi even could be on the phones with his former employer, which just happens to be the Giants' biggest rival.

MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported Tuesday morning that the Giants and Dodgers haven't ruled out a trade that would send San Francisco closer Will Smith to Los Angeles.

Smith, who turns 30 in July, could be one of the top targets on the trade market. The left-hander is a perfect 20-for-20 in save opportunities this season, owns a 2.01 ERA over 32 appearances out of the bullpen, and has 47 strikeouts to seven walks in 31.1 innings pitched.

"Right now, we'll play hard for the orange and black, and whatever happens, happens," Smith said less than two weeks ago when asked about trade rumors. "We'll cross that bridge when we get there."

The closer we get to the trade deadline, the louder the rumors will become. Just last week, MLB Trade Rumors released its list of the top 50 trade candidates. The top two names both were Giants pitchers, but it was Smith, not ace Madison Bumgarner, who topped the list.

Smith is on a cheap one-year, $4.23 million contract. He's been one of the best relievers in baseball this season and could be exactly what a contender needs for a playoff run. 

As far as the Dodgers go, Zaidi is plenty familiar with the state of that franchise, since he served as general manager from 2014 through 2018. He knows the team's farm system, which ranked seventh entering the season, inside and out, and should be able to target the type of players the Giants need to bolster their minor league system.

[RELATED: Marco Luciano receives rave reviews from Farhan Zaidi]

“If we do end up in a position where we’re selling and looking to get some future talent, you actually want to be trading in the division because you want to weaken your rivals in future years, and you want them to push more chips into the present," Zaidi said on KNBR at the beginning of the month when asked about a possible trade with the Dodgers. "In a way, it actually benefits you more."

The Giants and Dodgers last traded with each other in 2007. With Zaidi running the show, though, anything is possible -- even if that means helping his rivals now for a better future in San Francisco.

Bruce Bochy getting set to manage career game No. 4,000


Bruce Bochy getting set to manage career game No. 4,000

SAN FRANCISCO -- On his first day at Oracle Park earlier this month, Scooter Gennett met with the media and talked about how cool it is for him that he'll be around for Bruce Bochy's 2,000th win. That's been a talking point for players since Bochy announced this spring that 2019 will be his final big league season, although another milestone came and went earlier this month without any fanfare.

Bochy also reached 2,000 losses as a big league manager, and if you add them up, you naturally get to a much bigger and more imposing number. This Sunday in Oakland, Bochy will manage career game No. 4,000 in the big leagues. He'll become the eighth man in MLB history to reach 4,000, and by the end of the year he should pass Sparky Anderson and finish his career seventh all-time with 4,033 games managed. 

It's a huge number, one that had Bochy shaking his head recently when he realized it was coming up. While he won't finish with a .500 record as a manager, he still can do so with the Giants. They're currently four games above .500 in his 2,072 games as manager.

Thanks to the fine folks at Baseball-Reference, we have a few more astounding numbers from Bochy's career. He has been in the dugout as his pitchers have faced 153,193 opposing hitters, has called for 1,133 intentional walks, and has relayed the sacrifice bunt sign for 512 attempts that were put down by position players. Bochy has used over 6,000 pinch hitters and this season is calling on 1.76 per game, the second-highest rate of his 25-year career. 

In a sign of how the game has changed, Bochy is using 4.4 pitchers per game this season. He used just 3.3 in 1995, his first season leading the Padres, and never got above 4.0 until he came to San Francisco. That's an adjustment he has made over time, and he's had plenty of opportunities -- 4,000 of them after tomorrow's game -- to hone his preferences. 

Michael Morse reflects on love for Giants organization, future of team


Michael Morse reflects on love for Giants organization, future of team

“I was mad. In May I was very mad at this team, mad at the organization, I was just a mad guy. Just because it goes back to all the feelings I have for this organization."

Michael Morse has plenty to say about the Giants. NBC Sports Bay Area hired him as an analyst to talk about the team he cares so much about and he's done just that after years of experience playing, and talking about the game.

An MLB journeyman in his own right, Morse spent his 13 years in the league as a member of six different teams. Two of those seasons he spent wearing the orange and black and earned a World Series ring in 2014. Needless to say, he's aware of the "Giants mentality," a term he preached when I spoke to him back in May. Morse said the team at the beginning of the season was definitely in a rebuild, as much as he hated the word, but he noticed a drastic change from when he roamed the field.

Are things different now? Well, slightly. He likes what he sees in outfielder Mike Yastrzemski.

“I think the one thing that the Giants can bring out of this year is Yaz," Morse said. "I think Yaz is a great pickup, I love his background, his grandfather you can see Yaz -- Mike, and Carl they all play the same. They’ve got just good baseball blood. You know, if that’s one thing the Giants can take out of this year, being a rebuilding year supposedly, I’m not even sure in spring training next year if some of these guys will be on the team or even invited to camp, but you can guarantee that Yaz will be in the mix next year as an outfield spot.”

Morse said of everyone on that roster, Yaz brings that "Giants' light" he's been talking about.

But is he that Max Muncy-type Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was searching for? Sure.

"Well, I mean if you pick up 100 players you’re gonna find one," Morse explained. "[Zaidi] has picked up a ton of guys and if you remember during the beginning of the season, he started picking up every other team's trash and we were all saying ‘What is he doing, why are we picking these guys up?' And you know ones going to land."

"It’s like you throw a bunch of junk on the wall somethings gonna stick," he said.

Yaz stuck. After years in the minors, Yastrzemski got the call he had been dreaming about. He then called his wife, his family, then eventually his grandfather, who, as Morse said, is a legend in the baseball world.

We know Yaz could be part of the Giants' future, but what about Madison Bumgarner? He was the big "what if," heading toward the MLB trade deadline. And maybe the right situation didn't present itself when it came to MadBum.

“Honestly I just think there wasn’t a deal out there for him," Morse said. "I don’t think the right deal was out there. I think he wanted a lot for him, we 'San Franciscans' think a lot of our MadBum and it would be a shame to see him go away for nothing. If you’re not going to get a good package for him you might as well not get rid of him and then you can spark the conversation of ‘we’re trying to go for it.'”

And with that, what about the future for the Giants? Well, Morse hasn't shut the door on the team by any means but agreed it'll be an arduous journey ahead. 

“Right now there are a lot of really good, young teams out there. The Giants still have a couple of core guys that are aging and they’re tied up with money."

There are some bright spots, however, Morse said. Including the starting pitching that is starting to show some promise. But beyond that, he remains unsure. 

"I don’t know. It’s sad because I love this team, I love this organization. I think Bruce Bochy retiring this year he kind of knows that the next couple years are going to be different. Everything’s going to start changing and I think we’re going to see it on the field. Look at the A’s across the bay, five years ago they stunk and now look at them, they’re a playoff potential team.”

[RELATED: Yaz knows it'll be 'emotional' to watch grandson at Fenway]

And how does he feel overall about the organization? Well, his tune has changed from being angry. He remains hopeful.

"It’s going to be a long road," Morse said. "But I think we’ve got the right GM to steer this boat in this storm.”