Giants

Potential trade partner set to get up-close look at Madison Bumgarner

Potential trade partner set to get up-close look at Madison Bumgarner

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are still more than two months from what will be one of the most important trade deadlines in franchise history, but team officials aren't waiting around for July 31 to get closer. 

The prep work started long ago, with the front office identifying potential fits for their most tradable players. The biggest fish is Madison Bumgarner, and as some in the organization started to scout potential destinations, they found themselves laughing over a similarity. 

The Giants have a pretty good idea of the teams, fewer than a dozen, that could realistically make a deal work, and when Bumgarner and his representatives presented their updated no-trade list, they had hit just about every option. The list, first reported by The Athletic, is a slick one.

Forget about location or the DH or any of that. Bumgarner picked eight teams that should be contending and could be in need of a starter: the Braves, Red Sox, Cubs, Astros, Brewers, Yankees, Phillies and Cardinals. 

A few of those teams have scouted him already, but the Braves on Thursday will become just the second, joining the Yankees, to face him this year, and the Braves long have been rumored as a top choice. Atlanta is as close as it gets to Bumgarner's North Carolina home, and the young team certainly could use a seasoned starter to lead a potential postseason rotation.

The Braves have key members of their front office, including GM Alex Anthopoulos -- who worked with Farhan Zaidi in Los Angeles and spent plenty of time with him this week -- in San Francisco, but if they truly are after Bumgarner, they could find themselves in the middle of a staring contest. 

Bumgarner put together a list that would allow him to keep some leverage and control, but the Giants do not seem all that worried. Ultimately, a trade is best for Bumgarner's financial future because it would keep the Giants from hitting him with the qualifying offer that shrunk the markets of Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel and others. 

Some rival officials surveyed in recent weeks on Bumgarner's next deal are split. There are certainly plenty of admirers still out there in front offices, but most say Bumgarner will definitely be hurt if he's attached to a draft pick. 

The Giants do not seem to be anticipating having to pay any sort of assignment bonus to Bumgarner in order for him to accept a trade, although it's possible a new team could do so in order to make a deal come together more quickly and get an extra start or two out of the left-hander. Bumgarner also could ask for a window to negotiate an extension with a new team, although again, his best shot at a huge payday is true free agency.

It's common for veterans to have some sort of no-trade protection -- just about every high-salaried Giant has a clause in his contract -- but it's relatively rare for a player to actually block a trade at the deadline. Adam Jones was a notable exception last year, rejecting a proposed trade from the Orioles to the Phillies. 

"I earned this, and it's my decision," he said at the time. 

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Part of this will be Bumgarner's decision, too, and he has said repeatedly that he would like to stay in San Francisco long-term. But he now plays for an organization that has accepted the high likelihood of a Bumgarner trade this summer, and people close to the pitcher say the constant losing has weighed heavily on him. More than anything, Bumgarner wants another shot at October, and ultimately the teams on his no-trade list are the ones who can give him that opportunity. 

The odds are good he'll end up in one of those eight spots. The Braves are one of them, and they'll get their best look at a potential target this afternoon. 

Giants present spunky new lineup vs. Rockies, but it's not enough in loss

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Giants present spunky new lineup vs. Rockies, but it's not enough in loss

SAN FRANCISCO -- It was a different look on Wednesday afternoon, and for three innings it was a pretty spunky one.

Bruce Bochy went with lefties -- mostly not the familiar ones -- atop the lineup and the Giants had some success against tough right-handed pitcher German Marquez, who nearly no-hit them earlier this year. It wasn't enough to overcome a grand slam given up by Jeff Samardzija, but as Bochy desperately searches for solutions at Oracle Park, perhaps he has stumbled onto something. 

Brandon Belt hit leadoff and the plan is for that to continue for a few more games, at least. Mike Yastrzemski hit second and scored in the first before doubling while leading off the fifth. Pablo Sandoval had an RBI double and solo homer while hitting third. Alex Dickerson had an RBI double in the two-run first and later drew a walk. Stephen Vogt, batting fifth, had hits in his first two at-bats. 

This is not at all what the Giants planned. Belt hit leadoff one time in his career before Tuesday. Yastrzemski and Vogt started the season in Triple-A and Dickerson was with the Padres. Sandoval, who has turned into Bochy's most dangerous hitter, ended a nervous spring thinking he would get mostly pinch-hit at-bats. 

But for about an hour there Wednesday, the lineup looked somewhat dangerous and worked Marquez hard. Bochy said he could take a look at that lefty-hitting group again depending on the matchups. 

"We had some great at-bats," he said. "We hit a lot of balls hard. I thought it was one of our better days offensively even though we only scored three runs."

The Giants will wait and see what they have in Yastrzemski and Dickerson, and while Vogt has seen more time of late, he won't be supplanting Buster Posey. Belt is the one with easily the tightest hold on a starting job, but Sandoval may not be far behind now given his play. He has started 13 games in June and isn't slowing down. The homer tied him with Kevin Pillar for the team lead at 10, and the double left the bat at 114.7 mph, a season-high for the Giants. The OPS is back above .900. 

[RELATED: Ramos ends slump in a huge way]

"He's got his rhythm and timing right now," Bochy said. "He's seeing the ball well and it's jumping off the bat."

Sandoval will continue to see time near the top of the order. Given where the team is, the rest of the guys who made up the upper half Wednesday probably should, too. 

Giants vs. Rockies lineups: Alex Dickerson hits cleanup in series finale

Giants vs. Rockies lineups: Alex Dickerson hits cleanup in series finale

Jeff Samardzija already shut down the Rockies at Oracle Park once this season, and he'll look to duplicate that Wednesday afternoon.

The Giants will hand the ball to the right-hander in the series finale against the Rockies, Colorado will counter with German Marquez.

After dropping the first game of the series, the Giants bounced back with a 4-2 win Tuesday night behind Madison Bumgarner's 11-strikeout performance. 

Bruce Bochy's lineup will feature Brandon Belt back at the top, with the red-hot Alex Dickerson batting cleanup behind Pablo Sandoval.

Here are the full lineups for Wednesday's Giants-Rockies game at Oracle Park.

First pitch for Rockies-Giants is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. PT, with pregame coverage beginning at 11:30 a.m. You can follow all the action on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming online and on the MyTeams app.

San Francisco (34-44)
Brandon Belt, 1B
Mike Yastrzemski, RF
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Alex Dickerson, LF
Stephen Vogt, C
Kevin Pillar, CF
Brandon Crawford, SS
Joe Panik, 2B
Jeff Samardzija, RHP (4-6, 4.23 ERA)

[RELATED: Report: Giants' Smith, not MadBum, on Twins' radar]

Colorado Rockies (41-38)
Charlie Blackmon, RF
David Dahl, CF
Nolan Arenado, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Raimel Tapia, LF
Ryan McMahon, 2B
Tony Wolters, C
Garrett Hampson, SS
German Marquez, RHP (7-3, 4.32 ERA)