Farhan Zaidi found himself in a tough spot last season. He knew the Giants' focus should be placed on the future, but they just kept winning before the MLB trade deadline.
The Giants went a ridiculous 19-6 in July, and at 54-53 overall, they were right in the playoff race during Bruce Bochy's final season as manager. They also held one of the best trade chips in the game in franchise icon Madison Bumgarner.
The always outspoken Chris "Mad Dog" Russo told Zaidi on Tuesday that he would have traded MadBum, but the Giants' president of baseball operations reiterated he's happy with the decision the front office made in keeping San Francisco's longtime ace.
"We got into July, and like we talked about, we were the best team in baseball," Zaidi said to Russo on MLB Network's "High Heat." "We played it out. We were four or five games out of the wild card at that point and we certainly have no regrets about that."
Though the Giants made several moves before the deadline, including acquiring utility man Mauricio Dubon from the Milwaukee Brewers, they ultimately held on to Bumgarner. That didn't exactly turn into more wins, however.
After their red-hot July, the Giants came back down to earth. They went just 11-16 in both August and September, finishing the year with a 77-85 overall record. The final regular-season standings saw the Giants 12 games back of the wild card.
And while Zaidi doesn't regret keeping Bumgarner a Giant for the rest of the season, he really likes his team's offseason additions to the rotation. As Bumgarner wound up signing a five-year, $85 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Giants signed two veterans who could have a bounce-back season.
"We brought in Kevin Gausman and Drew Smyly to be a part of our rotation. Both of those guys have looked great in camp, and we have a chance to get 50 to 60 good starts out of those two guys," Zaidi said. "We feel good about the rotation, how it's come together. We've got some guys competing for that fifth starter spot. We have to think our rotation's in a good spot right now."
Gausman signed a one-year, $9 million contract at the Winter Meetings and has a 1.29 ERA through three starts this spring. One month later, Smyly, who is yet to allow an earned run in four innings this spring, signed a one-year, $4 million contract.
Those two players certainly don't have the allure or legendary status of Bumgarner. There's reason to believe both could help the Giants in a surprise playoff push or be their next Drew Pomeranz as a pitcher who could help San Francisco add another solid prospect.
One thing is clear: Zaidi is happy he kept Bumgarner in San Francisco during Bochy's final season.