New MLB rules would have prevented Giants from adding NLCS MVP Cody Ross

New MLB rules would have prevented Giants from adding NLCS MVP Cody Ross

SAN FRANCISCO — The general consensus last summer was that the Giants did pretty well before the August 31 deadline to make waiver trades. They swapped a month of Andrew McCutchen for infielder Abiatal Avelino and right-hander Juan De Paula, two top 30 prospects in a deep Yankees system. 

Farhan Zaidi won’t have the opportunity to make that kind of swap.

As part of a bigger deal between MLB and the Players Association to make rule changes, the sides have agreed to have just one trade deadline — July 31 —reports Jeff Passan of ESPN. Passan wrote that the union agreed to that particular change with the hope that eliminating waiver trades “will cause teams to be more aggressive in the offseason knowing that the fallback for August deals is no longer an option.”

Essentially, fringe teams will need to more quickly decide if they’re selling — the Giants did not make that determination until after July 31 last year — and contenders won’t be able to count on August claims to build depth. While the Giants figure to be in sell mode now, their most notable waiver deal in recent years was actually an acquisition.

On Aug. 22, 2010, the Giants, who had a somewhat crowded outfield at the time, were awarded Cody Ross on a waiver claim. They took on the remaining $1 million in his deal in part to keep the Marlins veteran from bolstering the Padres outfield, and that might have won them a title.

Ross was batting .265 with 11 homers at the time (ironically, the move cleared the way for the Marlins to call up prospect Cameron Maybin, now a Giant). After coming to San Francisco, Ross upped his OPS by about 100 points in 33 regular season games and then took off in the postseason. 

Ross had seven hits in 20 at-bats in the NLCS against the Phillies, including three homers, earning the MVP award. He hit two off ace Roy Halladay in Game 1 of that series and took Roy Oswalt deep in Game 2. Ross also had a game-tying homer in Game 4 of the NLDS and went deep in Game 3 of the World Series.

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Overall, Ross batted .294 with five homers that October, winning a ring in his only postseason appearance.

The Giants might not be in that type of position this August. But if they are, they won’t be able to make a similar type of deal.

Flannery finds inspiration after tragedies, releases new album


Flannery finds inspiration after tragedies, releases new album

SAN FRANCISCO — Tim Flannery has released 14 albums, pulling inspiration from all kinds of sources. Sometimes he would write about the music scene in a certain city, or a character he met during his decades on the road playing and coaching baseball.

But the album Flannery will release Saturday has special meaning. Flannery wrote it after dealing with two different kinds of emotions. 

“This album really started probably out of tragedy,” he said this week.

Last January, Rob Picciolo, a longtime big league coach, and Kevin Towers, the former general manager of the Padres, passed away in the span of a few weeks. Flannery, the former Giants third base coach and current NBC Sports Bay Area analyst, found himself attending the funeral of a close friend on back-to-back weekends. He wrote a song about it called “The Light.”

Later in the year, Flannery’s son, Danny, called him and told him he would be going to rehab in Oregon. That experience was turned into “Ghost Town,” the second track on the album, also called “The Light.”

“That whole episode of dealing with it and even when he got out, some of the things he was thinking and saying about not wanting to go back to his ghost town again, that’s easy for me to relate to,” Flannery said. “I’m sure everybody has their ghost town. The next thing I know I’m writing another song out of it, and something else and something else, and a year and a half later, you’re playing these songs at shows.”

Flannery said he didn’t expect to make another album after his previous one, but he never stops playing, and he found new stories to tell. He said his son was happy that the story was being told through music. 

“He said, ‘I think we can help other people deal with things.’ He’s all-in,” Flannery said. “He’s a changed man and asked me to tell the story.”

Tim Flannery & The Lunatic Fringe will debut the album on Saturday at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City. All proceeds will go to the non-profit Love Harder Project for anti-bullying and anti-violence programs across the country.

“This record is for me like a burning light in a world that has gone dark at times,” Flannery said. “It’s gone dark for different people, for different reasons, but this record is a record of hope, a record of love and light.”

Cameron Maybin, on Giants this spring, to visit Oracle Park with Yankees

Cameron Maybin, on Giants this spring, to visit Oracle Park with Yankees

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants will face two Yankees lefties this weekend at Oracle Park, and for most of this spring, their plan would have called for Cameron Maybin to start those games. If Maybin is in the lineup this weekend, it'll be for the visitors. 

Maybin, a non-roster invitee in Giants camp this spring, was traded to the desperate Yankees on Thursday morning and added to their big league roster. The Yankees sent cash considerations to the Indians, who stashed Maybin at Triple-A after he was let go by the Giants. 

The Yankees turned to Maybin because of unbelievable injury issues in their outfield. Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks are on the DL, and Clint Frazier -- who hit six homers in fill-in duty -- joined them after spraining his left ankle earlier this season. Frazier became the 15th Yankee to hit the injured list (by comparison, the Giants have just one, the rehabbing Johnny Cueto).

The Giants at one point thought Maybin could form a platoon with Steven Duggar or provide depth in their corner outfield spots. But he had a poor spring on and off the field, and ultimately the front office started the year by taking a look at Michael Reed in that spot. It is now Kevin Pillar who provides the right-handed balance and plays center field.

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The Giants, it's fair to say, are happy with how this all turned out. 

Maybin played 14 games in Triple-A for the Indians, hitting .216 with three doubles and 13 walks.