MLB rumors: Giants interested in former Rockies infielder DJ LeMahieu


MLB rumors: Giants interested in former Rockies infielder DJ LeMahieu

SAN FRANCISCO -- The slow second base market appears to finally be heating up, and the Giants could be right in the middle of it. 

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Thursday morning that the Giants are talking to teams about their second baseman, Joe Panik, and a source confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area that former Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu would be the target if the Giants are to open playing time alongside Brandon Crawford. 

The Giants have had interest in LeMahieu all winter, but did not have an opening after they re-signed Panik to a one-year deal in November. Passan and The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal also reported that the Giants are one of the teams in on LeMahieu. 

The 30-year-old is a three-time Gold Glove winner and former batting champ who stands as the best option in a second base market that was slow to develop. LeMahieu hit .276 last season with 15 homers and 32 doubles. His OPS dropped nearly 100 points away from Coors Field, but the Giants could use some right-handed balance to their lineup.

Panik, 28, is coming off the worst season of his career but is hopeful that some offseason adjustments can get him back to his old form. The Giants were happy to bring him back through the arbitration process, but also realized that second base was one of the few spots where they could make substantial changes. 

Through this point, it has been a quiet offseason for the Giants. They have committed just $585,000 to free agents after the addition of switch-pitcher Pat Venditte.

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. 

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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."

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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."