Giants

MLB rumors: Giants willing to talk about trading veteran relievers now

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AP

MLB rumors: Giants willing to talk about trading veteran relievers now

PITTSBURGH -- After a busy start to the season, Farhan Zaidi has gone nearly two weeks without making a move. The Giants are not currently considering adding any of their Triple-A bats to a struggling lineup, but there still is stuff percolating behind the scenes. 

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported Saturday that the Giants are willing to talk about some of their veteran relievers right now, which would be a continuation of a spring where the Giants tried to deal some of their bullpen depth but ultimately held everyone through Opening Day. 

Before that first game, Zaidi explained why a reliever-for-hitter trade never materialized. 

"When we talked about this over the course of the offseason it was a really deep reliever market in free agency this offseason, and we like our relievers, so they weren't just kind of fodder for us to trade them and acquire other pieces," Zaidi said. "A deal like that certainly made sense on paper, but we didn't line up on anything that we thought made sense for us."

It would continue to make sense for the Giants to seek those kinds of deals. They were right about their bullpen depth and talent, and through 21 games the group has a 2.33 ERA, more than a run lower than any other bullpen in the National League. The .605 OPS allowed is 57 points lower than the next best bullpen. 

It would be hard to get much for some of the newcomers, but if Zaidi could find the right deal for a Sam Dyson, for example, Trevor Gott and Nick Vincent could fill some of those innings, along with a resurgent Mark Melancon, who hasn't allowed a run. The Giants could then bring up a Ray Black or Tyler Beede to fill out the bullpen.

[RELATED: Reynolds' call-up a reminder Giants took too long to change]

The left side is where the Giants really have intriguing pieces to offer, and they got calls on both Will Smith and Tony Watson in the offseason. Either one could help any contender, and there is some left-handed depth with Travis Bergen at the big league level and Andrew Suarez, Pat Venditte and Ty Blach in Triple-A. 

There are plenty of teams out there -- hello, Nationals and Braves! -- who could use the bullpen help right now, and Zaidi has shown he's not afraid to pull the trigger on an early deal, trading for two outfielders in the season's first two weeks. If someone out there is willing to give up a nice package for a Giants reliever, you can bet Zaidi will take that call seriously.
 

Giants might have two best pieces available before trade deadline

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USATSI

Giants might have two best pieces available before trade deadline

SAN FRANCISCO -- We tend to look at everything from a local standpoint around here, which means this upcoming trade deadline is mostly about two Giants: Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith. Both have been asked about trade rumors in recent weeks, and every start Bumgarner makes comes with the tag "could be facing Team X for the final time as a Giant" or "might be pitching at Stadium X for the final time in orange and black."

MLB Trade Rumors is among the outlets that takes a national view, and on Monday they ranked the top 50 players available before the July 31 deadline. Their list, however, had a very, very local flavor. And it probably had Farhan Zaidi smiling. 

The website listed Smith as the No. 1 available piece before the deadline, with Bumgarner ranking right behind him. Left-hander Tony Watson (No. 6), right-hander Sam Dyson (No. 11) and third baseman Pablo Sandoval (No. 15) also cracked the top 15. 

Now, this is just one list of potential options for buyers, and things change quickly this time of year. A team on the bubble -- the Padres or Diamondbacks, for instance -- could go on a losing streak and decide to clean house, adding players like Kirby Yates and Zack Greinke to the pitching market. But for now, the Giants -- who fully intend to kickstart a rebuild with a flurry of trades -- appear to be holding a lot of the best cards. 

While Bumgarner is the bigger name, Smith actually could bring back the better prospect before the deadline. As a cheap left-handed closer with a perfect 18-for-18 record in the ninth this year, he would fit in any contender's bullpen. Smith could close or slide into the seventh or eighth, depending on a buyer's needs. 

Bumgarner has been connected to the Yankees and Twins recently. He's throwing as well as he has in years, and will have another chance to show his stuff on Thursday against the NL-leading Dodgers. Watson and Dyson could bolster a contending team's bullpen, and Sandoval -- who is owed just the MLB minimum by the Giants -- would be a nice addition for a team needing power off the bench. He has been the league's most dangerous pinch-hitter this season. 

Smith, Bumgarner and Sandoval are trade chips in part because they are free agents at the end of the season, but if the Giants really want to get creative they could dig deeper. Reyes Moronta and Trevor Gott are cost-controlled right-handers with big arms and solid numbers this season, and both could be intriguing to winning teams looking for more than just an expensive rental.

MLB power rankings 2019: Twins challenge Dodgers, Astros in standings

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USATSI

MLB power rankings 2019: Twins challenge Dodgers, Astros in standings

Those Minnesota Twins just aren't going to slow down, are they? A sneaky contender early on, the Twins have spent the last month neck-and-neck with the Dodgers and Astros. It's too early to consider them quite as dominant as those other two, but they're going to run away with the AL Central and have plenty of time to make a move or two to bolster a playoff run. 

It's going to be tough regardless because the American League is LOADED. Four of the five best teams in the Majors by run differential are in the AL, and they show up in our top five, too. 

Here's the latest rundown of all 30 teams, with an emphasis on some familiar names ... 

MLB POWER RANKINGS GALLERY HERE