Report: Beckham returns to Giants on minor league deal

Report: Beckham returns to Giants on minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gordon Beckham spent only a week with the Giants last season, but he made a big enough impact that he's getting a shot at an Opening Day roster spot.

Beckham got a minor league deal with the Giants on Wednesday, per Yahoo Sports. The 30-year-old joins a crowded group of veterans who will try to win a backup job in the infield. He will compete with the likes of fellow non-roster invitees Jimmy Rollins and Jae-Gyun Hwang, 40-man addition Orlando Calixte, and incumbent Kelby Tomlinson.

Beckham spent most of last season in Atlanta, hitting just .217 before a Sept. 27 trade to the Giants. He was hitless in five at-bats after being acquired as late-season infield depth, but teammates and coaches raved about the impact he had on a clubhouse that often felt lifeless during a second-half collapse.

Several team employees compared Beckham, a longtime friend of Buster Posey, to past Giants like Ryan Theriot and Jeremy Affeldt, who helped keep the room loose in down times. One member of the clubhosue even made a point of approaching general manager Bobby Evans after the season to relay the impact that had been made in such a short time. 

Evans said at the winter meetings that he hoped to bring Beckham back, but he'll need a hot spring with the bat to actually win a roster spot. If he does make it, Beckham will make $1.25 million in the big leagues, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Giants CEO Larry Baer updates contract talks with Madison Bumgarner


Giants CEO Larry Baer updates contract talks with Madison Bumgarner

The Giants have promised change this upcoming offseason. 

Trades, free-agent signings and everything in between could be on the way after two straight disappointing seasons. The biggest change, though, would be the loss of lefty team legend Madison Bumgarner. 

Make no mistake, however, the Giants and Bumgarner, whose contract ends after the 2019 season, are already having open discussions. 

"We'll talk during the offseason. I had a nice conversation with him, and I'm not going to be the one that's making the deal or making the baseball evaluation," Giants CEO Larry Baer said Thursday night on KNBR. "But we had a good chat last week in the clubhouse."

Bumgarner has spent his entire MLB career with the Giants after making his debut at 19 years old in 2009. He also recently told the San Francisco Chronicle he hopes to spend his entire career in San Francisco. Baer is on the same page as Bumgarner, but he's also trying to be realistic with how the Giants are trending. 

"Somebody of his impact in this organziation deserves every consideration," Baer said. "Having said that, we have to see how this team comes together and where we are. This decision is not just a 2019 decision, but a decision that goes way beyond 2019 potentially."

Despite entering the last season of his seven-year contract, Bumgarner, who turns 30 next August, would certainly bring back the greatest return in a trade. The veteran lefty is still a premium arm, plus the Giants badly need to upgrade their farm system. 

"Maybe we sign him before Opening Day next season, maybe we don't. If we don't, the hope is a trade is the last thing on your mind becasuse you're competing for a title," Baer said. 

Either the Giants will rock the boat and the whole Bay Area by shipping off Bumgarner, or Baer sees some odd-year magic in the future. 

Why shaking it up won't be as easy as it sounds for Giants

Why shaking it up won't be as easy as it sounds for Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — At several points in August, while explaining why he still had hope, manager Bruce Bochy compared his team to St. Louis. The Cardinals disappointed throughout the first half, but put it together for a few weeks and got themselves back in the race. Bochy hoped this weekend’s series would be meaningful for two franchises that ruled the National League for much of the past decade. 

It will be meaningful for the Cardinals, who are currently in the second wild card spot, but for the Giants, it’s simply the final road series on the way to “shaking it up.”

That feeling has been percolating on Giants Twitter for two years. There are many fans who have been ready to blow this all up for a while now, and recently, team president and CEO Larry Baer gave that group some hope. 

“We’re gonna shake it up,” he said during an appearance on KNBR. “I can’t tell you how it gets shaken up from a players’ point of view. I think Brian (Sabean) has said it — we’re just gonna shake it up.”

With the end of the season fast approaching, it’s worth asking what exactly that might mean. How many Giants are on their final trip in orange and black? How many big names might be shipped out?

Well, for the Giants, “shaking it up” will be much harder than it appears because of three other words: no-trade clause. 

Buster Posey has a full no-trade clause. Brandon Crawford does, too. Ditto for Mark Melancon. Those are three of seven Giants owed at least $14 million next year (Pablo Sandoval is an eighth, but the Red Sox are paying nearly every penny), and they’re going nowhere. 

Add Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to that list, too, for a different reason. Both are hurt, and you can’t trade an injured pitcher who lives in the $20 million per year neighborhood. You just can’t. 

Out of the big contracts, that leaves Brandon Belt ($16 million) and Evan Longoria ($14.5 million, although the Rays are contributing). Longoria turns 33 in three weeks and, while he’s been much better of late, it was still a down year offensively and his contract runs through 2022. It’s hard to see any scenario where moving him is realistic or brings back a return that makes the Giants better, and when you talk to team officials, Longoria is never a name brought up as a trade option. 

Belt is the player mentioned most often in hypothetical discussions, but that ignores the details. A Belt trade would be complicated by the three years and $48 million remaining on his deal and the fact that he’s about to have knee surgery for a second time. And again, we bring you back to those contract details. Belt can provide a list every offseason of 10 teams he cannot be traded to. He has never shown any inclination that he wants to leave San Francisco, and his list is said to reflect that desire. It would not be hard, given how many teams are in tank mode these days, for Belt and his representatives to form a list that makes it nearly impossible for the Giants to find a trade partner. 

There are other ways the Giants could shake it up, of course. Joe Panik and Hunter Strickland are notable Giants who are starting to get pricy in arbitration, there could be changes in the front office or to the coaching staff, and more firings are expected with support staff. There’s the nuclear option, too. Madison Bumgarner has one year remaining on his deal and at some point the Giants could put him on the market. 

Bumgarner doesn’t want to go anywhere, though, and like the others, he would have some say in the matter. Yep, you guessed it. His contract includes the right to block a trade to eight teams. Once again, “shaking it up” will be harder than it sounds.