Giants

Source: Giants signing outfielder Gerardo Parra to minor league contract

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Source: Giants signing outfielder Gerardo Parra to minor league contract

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Throughout the offseason, the Giants have planned to add two veteran outfielders. They're now halfway there. 

Gerardo Parra, who played the previous three seasons for the division rival Rockies, is signing a minor league deal with the organization, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area. The deal was first reported by Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Parra will be in big league camp. 

Parra, 31, has played all three outfield spots in the majors and adds depth to a young group. The Giants have openings in right and left, with Steven Duggar on track to start in center. 

Parra posted a .284/.342/.372 slash line with the Rockies last season, with six homers, 17 doubles and 11 stolen bases. He actually had better numbers away from Coors Field, posting a .739 OPS on the road. Parra, who broke into the big leagues with the Diamondbacks, has a .310 career average at Oracle Park. 

[RELATED: Giants show frustration with MLB's slow free agency as offseason ends]

The Giants are still chasing Bryce Harper, but they wanted to add multiple options. Parra gives them a familiar one in one of the corners. 

MLB opt-out tracker: Every player who has declined to play 2020 season

MLB opt-out tracker: Every player who has declined to play 2020 season

It's extremely common to hear about a player opting out in baseball. Stars have often had opt-out clauses for the final year of their deals, and in recent years many have given themselves the ability to opt out after just a year or two of a massive contract. At the end of every spring, non-roster invitees opt out to look for a better opportunity elsewhere. 

But this season, those two words take on a different meaning. 

Under a March agreement reached by MLB and the Players Association, high-risk players can opt out of the 2020 season because of coronavirus concerns and still get paid. Players who are not deemed to be at a high risk can also opt out while surrendering their 2020 salaries and service time.

On the first day of the week MLB was set to return, four players opted out. Here's a rundown of where the list currently stands:

Mike Leake (Diamondbacks starting pitcher)

The 32-year-old was the first to publicly make his intentions known. Leake's agent told reporters that the right-hander "took countless factors into consideration, many of which are personal to him and his family." There has been some speculation that Leake had family concerns; his father was paralyzed in an accident a few years ago and that's in part why he ended up close to home with the Diamondbacks.

Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals first baseman)

Zimmerman is exactly the type of player you would think of when it comes to guys who had a difficult decision to make in recent weeks. He's 35 and now is a part-time player, and he's set for life financially and got his ring last October. In a statement put out by his agency, he made it clear this is about concerns for his family, which includes a mother with multiple sclerosis:

Joe Ross (Nationals starting pitcher)

Ross, a 27-year-old Bay Area native who is the younger brother of Tyson, also opted out June 29. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said Zimmerman and Ross decided "not to participate in the 2020 season for the personal health and safety of themselves and their loved ones. We are 100 percent supportive of their decision to not play this year."

Ian Desmond (Rockies outfielder)

The 34-year-old announced his decision at the end of a series of Instagram posts that examined injustices in baseball and society. It was a powerful statement, and one you should read in full here:

View this post on Instagram

On my mind.

A post shared by Ian Desmond (@i_dez20) on

Tyson Ross (free agent starting pitcher)

It was a bit of a surprise when Ross was released by the Giants last week. As a veteran who could start or come out of the bullpen, he seemed like a good fit for what they were building in March, and an even better fit in a season with no true five-man rotation. But this seems to explain the decision: 

Welington Castillo (Nationals catcher)

The 33-year-old signed a minor league deal with the reigning champs in the offseason and was set to be part of their pool:

David Price (Dodgers Pitcher)

Price was headed for the No. 3 spot in a rotation built to win it all. He said his decision was in the "best interest of my health and my family's health." 


Felix Hernandez (Braves pitcher)

The 2010 AL Cy Young winner was a candidate to fill a rotation spot for a team that should be in the postseason, but his agent made the announcement: 

After spending the first 15 seasons of his career with the Mariners, Hernandez signed a minor-league contract with Atlanta this offseason. He will turn 35 next April, when the 2021 MLB season is expected to start.

Nick Markakis (Braves outfielder)

The veteran outfielder's decision came after Freddie Freeman, Will Smith and other Braves tested positive for COVID-19, which was reportedly a big factor in his decision. Markakis, 36, hit .285 with nine homers last season for Atlanta.


Hector Noesi (Pirates pitcher)

Noesi, 33, went 0-3 and posted an 8.46 ERA across 12 appearances with the Miami Marlins last season. Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton announced the news recently:

Buster Posey (Giants catcher)

The Giants catcher became the biggest name to opt out of the MLB season to date, announcing Friday he won't play in 2020. Posey and his wife just adopted twin girls who were born prematurely last week, and he cited their health as his primary concern.

"After weighing it for a long time, talking to doctors, I just feel like in the current state that we are right now and these babies being as fragile as they are for the next four months, at minimum, this ultimately wasn't that difficult a decision for me," Posey said. "From a baseball standpoint, it was a tough decision, from a family standpoint and feeling like I'm making a decision to protect our children, I feel like it was relatively easy."

Jordan Hicks (Cardinals Pitcher)

The hardest-throwing man in the game is recovering from Tommy John surgery that he underwent in June of 2019. But he's also a Type 1 Diabetic which as Belleville News-Democrat reporter Jeff Jones says, could lead to complications from coronavirus. Hicks is the first on this list who is known to be high-risk, and thus he will get to keep his 2020 salary and accrue service time as he sits out. 

Michael Kopech (White Sox pitcher)

The former top prospect missed the entire 2019 recovering from Tommy John surgery. He did not disclose the reasoning behind his decision to opt out.


Collin McHugh (Red Sox pitcher)

Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke announced that the former Astros starter will not be playing in the 2020 season, but did not specify a reason.


Isan Diaz (Marlins infielder)

After the Marlins experienced an outbreak with 18 players in the clubhouse testing positive for coronavirus, Diaz decided to opt out of the remainder of the season on Saturday.


Lorenzo Cain (Brewers outfielder)

Milwaukee has had several games postponed as a result of positive coronavirus tests in the St. Louis Cardinals clubhouse, and a team press release confirmed Saturday that he'll be opting out of the remainder of the season.


Shelby Miller (Brewers pitcher)

The Brewers announced Monday that pitcher Shelby Miller has opted out of the remainder of the season.


Marcus Stroman (Mets pitcher)

Stroman announced that he has opted out of the rest of the 2020 MLB season due to "too many unknowns" around COVID-19

Farhan Zaidi, Giants front office reach milestone with latest trade

Farhan Zaidi, Giants front office reach milestone with latest trade

The Sunday morning trade with the Chicago White Sox for Luis Basabe might end up getting the Giants a nice piece for a future outfield. Or it might not. 

The front office is adding another lottery ticket, but no matter how it works out, the trade did represent a bit of a landmark moment in the Farhan Zaidi regime. With the addition of Basabe and Jordan Humphreys, acquired from the New York Mets the previous Sunday, to MLB Pipeline's top 30, the Giants now have a list that is for the first time half-filled with players acquired since Zaidi took over in November 2018. 

Zaidi's biggest task when he was hired was kickstarting the player development machine, mimicking what has made the Dodgers so successful in the NL West, and he went straight to work on filling holes. 

There's only so much you can do when it comes to getting high-end talent. Zaidi and new scouting director Michael Holmes have had just two drafts to work with and this year's international signing period was pushed back by the coronavirus. While many fans wanted Zaidi to trade Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith last July, neither would have brought back a Hunter Bishop or Heliot Ramos type.

But the Giants now have a top 10 farm system because they've greatly improved their depth. Basabe, for example, was 11th in Chicago's rankings but came in at No. 18 when moved over to the Giants' list. Humphreys was 14th with the Mets but is 26th with the Giants. 

The 15 additions have come from traditional ways, but also creative ones, which is what ownership was counting on when a new front office was brought in. Here's a breakdown:

Draft

Hunter Bishop (4th), Patrick Bailey (6), Kyle Harrison (12), Nick Swiney (15), Logan Wyatt (20), Casey Schmitt (23), Grant McCray (29), Jimmy Glowenke (30).

The accounting there: Three players from the 2019 draft and five from 2020. Bishop, taken 10th overall in 2019, is the highest-ranking player added under Zaidi. 

Trade deadline

Jaylin Davis (13), Tristan Beck (19), Kai-Wei Teng (22)

This list doesn't even include Mauricio Dubon, who came over in the Drew Pomeranz deal and has played enough since then that he's not eligible for prospect rankings anymore. 

The jury still is out on Davis, so let's focus here on the other two. It would have been enough just to get out from under the final year of Mark Melancon's deal last July, but the Braves threw in two pitchers, including Beck, a tall right-hander who had a 2.27 ERA after the trade and pitched well in the Fall League. The former Stanford star could be in the mix for a rotation spot at some point next season. 

In exchange for Sam Dyson, who pitched horribly for the Twins and then had shoulder surgery, the Giants got Davis, right-hander Prelander Berroa and Teng, who has really interesting minor league numbers. He has allowed just one homer in 122 1/3 pro innings and has 135 strikeouts and a low walk rate. The 21-year-old was in Low-A last year, but scouts think he can be a rotation option in the future. 

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

International signing

Aeverson Arteaga (21)

Bobby Evans and the previous regime deserve a ton of credit for getting Marco Luciano, Alexander Canario, Luis Toribio and Luis Matos into the system. If someone like Luciano has come through two or three years earlier, perhaps no jobs would have been lost. 

Zaidi's regime has had just one international signing period because this year's was moved back to next January. But last year the Giants spent $1 million on Arteaga, a Venezuelan shortstop who turns 18 next March. MLB Pipeline says he has the quickness and instincts to stay at shortstop and "an easy right-handed swing."

Using Their Cash

Will Wilson (11)

When the Dodgers hired Andrew Friedman and Zaidi from the Rays and A's, respectively, the goal was to combine small-market ingenuity with deep pockets. The Giants are trying to do the same thing. 

The Wilson trade is the most creative move yet by Zaidi and new GM Scott Harris. With the Los Angeles Angels looking to make a splash in free agency, the Giants took on Zack Cozart's $12.67 million with Wilson, a 2019 first-rounder, attached as the sweetener. Wilson looked good during the Summer Camp and manager Gabe Kapler recently noted he's been a standout in Sacramento. 

"Really strong reports on Will Wilson and his ability to play all three infield positions: second base, shortstop and third base," Kapler said. "He's driving the ball to all parts of the field."

The only downside to this deal was that the Giants cut Cozart so early that he was due his full salary even in a prorated season, weirdly making him the highest-paid Giant this year.

[RELATED: Zaidi flexes creative muscle in two Giants trades in a week]

Minor trades

Basabe (18), Humphreys (26)

Humphreys, 24, came over for Billy Hamilton, who was added as a non-roster invitee a few days before spring training started. Hamilton never played for the Giants and was never even on the 40-man, but stashing that inventory paid off. 

Basabe cost the Giants just some cash and a roster spot, which they opened up by putting Humphreys on the restricted list because of a family issue. Trevor Gott also was acquired for cash considerations at one point, and a year and a half later, he's the team's closer. 

Kapler said the report he got on the 23-year-old Basabe is that he's "tooled up," has good arm strength and speed, and has a solid ceiling. 

"I think this is what makes Farhan and Scott so good at what they do," Kapler said. "To be able to bring in a guy who slots immediately into our top prospects list without giving up too much in return."