Paul Goldschmidt traded out of NL West after seven years of crushing Giants

Paul Goldschmidt traded out of NL West after seven years of crushing Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Paul Goldschmidt was hitting .208 on June 8. In Phoenix, the local coverage was full of "What's wrong with Goldschmidt" pieces, and national writers anonymously quoted scouts and executives who wondered if the 31-year-old was starting a steep decline. 

And then the Diamondbacks visited AT&T Park. 

Goldschmidt had one hit the first night, and then three in the second game. In the final game of the series, he had four hits, including three doubles, raising his average to .233 and his OPS to .773, 52 points above where it had been at the start of the series. 

This was nothing new of course. It was also the end of an era. That series helped spur Goldschmidt to another fantastic season -- .290 average, 33 homers, .922 OPS -- but Giants pitchers no longer have to deal with a man who has hit them at an astounding rate over the years. 

Goldschmidt was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday for a package of prospects and young players who can jumpstart a rebuild at Chase Field. It's a sad day for Diamondbacks fans. Goldschmidt was the face of the franchise, a perennial MVP candidate who hit .297 in eight seasons, with 209 homers. A good chunk of that damage was done against the Giants. 

Goldschmidt has 22 homers against the Giants in 469 at-bats, with with 31 doubles, 79 RBI and 78 runs. As a Diamondback, he averaged more than a hit per start against the Giants, and he wasn't bothered by their cavernous park. In 68 career games at AT&T Park, he has a .990 OPS, 11 homers, 21 doubles and three triples. 

Goldschmidt has been particularly cruel to the best the Giants have had to offer. He has faced Madison Bumgarner more than any other pitcher, and has 22 hits -- including three homers -- and 11 walks in 78 place appearances. He has a .999 OPS against the Giants' current ace and was at .874 against one of their former aces, Matt Cain. Goldschmidt hit Ryan Vogelsong hard, has had some success against Johnny Cueto, and has crushed the dreams of numerous Giants relievers late in games. 

Then, of course, there is Tim Lincecum. 

In good times and bad, Lincecum could never find a way to get Goldschmidt out. After one homer in 2012, Lincecum insisted that it wasn't in his head. 

"I'm not hoping," he said at the time. "I'm going to figure it out."

He never quite did. In 28 at-bats against Lincecum, Goldschmidt had 15 hits. He homered seven times, drove in 17 runs and posted a 1,916 OPS. To his credit, Lincecum was always up to the challenge, and he walked Goldschmidt just five times as he tried to find a way to solve him. At some point, though, manager Bruce Bochy said it was about time to adjust and start taking the bat out of Goldschmidt's hands. 

"There are times where you go, 'Wait a minute, this is not working,' “ Bochy said in 2013. “That's the definition of insanity, right? When it happens over and over again."

The Giants never did quite find a way, even after Lincecum was long gone. Goldschmidt had 10 homers off them the past three seasons, but now he's no longer a concern, at least until next July 5. 

That's the day the Cardinals roll into town.

Bruce Bochy says Steven Duggar will get look as Giants' leadoff hitter


Bruce Bochy says Steven Duggar will get look as Giants' leadoff hitter

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Another day, another addition.

This time it’s Yangervis Solarte, and the former Padres and Blue Jays infielder has a good shot at making the roster. Here’s my story from this morning on Solarte, who still needs to pass his physical.

Solarte and Bruce Bochy spoke on the phone yesterday and the manager is psyched about the addition. He said Solarte will mostly play second and third, but Bochy liked what he saw of him at short in San Diego and that phone conversation included some discussion of playing left field.

Solarte even told the Giants he would be fine with center, but that ain't happening. 

“We’re excited to have him,” Bochy said. “We saw a lot of him in San Diego. A good player, can play a lot of positions, a switch-hitter. He’s a nice addition.”

Here are some more observations from Day 3: 

New Leadoff Hitter?

Steven Duggar (shoulder) and Ryder Jones (knee) took on-field batting practice for the first time since having surgery. Both looked good and shouldn’t face too many restrictions this spring.

As Bochy watched Duggar, he found himself thinking about the lineup. He said he hopes to have Duggar in one of the top two spots. 

“You look at the top of the order. That’s the first spot you think about,” Bochy said. “How it’s going and how they’re playing will dictate it but I think he’s a good leadoff hitter.”

Jersey Crunch

The Giants have retired so many numbers and have so many players in camp that they’re running out of numbers. So, Trevor Gott, who has big league experience, is currently wearing No. 91. And when the Giants signed a flood of veterans over the past week, some familiar numbers were given away.

Gerardo Parra will wear No. 8, formerly Hunter Pence’s number, and Rene Rivera will wear Matt Cain’s 18 if he’s on the roster. The clubhouse staff did agonize over all this as many fans do, but there was no other way. The only low numbers that remain are 5 and 22.

[RELATED: Giants continue discussing trade options as they wait for Bryce Harper]

Parra wore 8 with the Rockies and Rivera has mostly worn 44, which isn’t an option here obviously. 

Don’t Mess With Bumgarner

That’s the main thing we were reminded of today. Maybe he was imagining Yasiel Puig coming down the line?

Giants continue discussing trade options as they wait for Bryce Harper

Giants continue discussing trade options as they wait for Bryce Harper

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For every move the Giants have made over the past week, the response from an anxious fan base has been the same.

“Uhhh, that dude isn’t Bryce Harper.”

The biggest name on the market remains on the market, but what do the Giants do if Harper chooses the Phillies or Nationals or Padres or some mystery team? Farhan Zaidi is working on Plan B, too, and that could involve remaining free agents or trades. The Giants do still need help in their outfield. 

“We’ve had trade conversations with teams about certain players that started in 2018 that kind of are continuing now,” Zaidi said. “It’s a little bit of a function of the slow market. I think with anything that’s a hypothetical, it’s a good idea to have alternatives and not put all your eggs in any one basket.”

The Giants won’t reach into any other basket until Harper has made a decision. There’s no available player that would match that production, but this offseason started with more humble goals and there are plenty of options on the trade market. If the Giants don’t get Harper, they seem well positioned to quickly pivot. 

In the meantime, Zaidi is padding out the rest of the roster. All offseason, he said he wanted catching depth. Stephen Vogt and Rene Rivera signed in the span of four days. Zaidi wanted a versatile infield piece, too, and Yangervis Solarte is on his way. He wanted a couple of outfielders, and Gerardo Parra fills one hole. 

[RELATED: Cueto drops 20 pounds, prepares for big step in rehab]

Zaidi will always tinker. That’s his nature. But he doesn’t want to add too many more players on non-roster deals because he wants the recent additions and the younger players in-house already to have a real opportunity to compete this spring. That was promised to the players already here, so don’t expect too many more who fit the mold of a Parra or Solarte. 

“We want competition but don’t want this to be a reality show or tryout camp,” Zaidi said. “You try to draw the line between feeling good about the guys you have but also not going overboard.”