Giants

Why Farhan Zaidi says there's 'strategic advantage' to Giants-Dodgers trade

Why Farhan Zaidi says there's 'strategic advantage' to Giants-Dodgers trade

The Giants are 17 games back of the NL West-leading Dodgers, and the calendar just hit June.

They're not catching their longtime division rivals. That's been obvious for months, perhaps even before the season began.

But might they trade with them?

Woah. Wait a second. That's not cool. The hate is too strong, right?

Since 1958, the Giants and Dodgers have teamed up on just three trades. But in a radio interview Thursday, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi explained why fans shouldn't rule out the possibility of a fourth deal.

"There is an interesting point here,” Zaidi said on KNBR's "Tolbert & Lund" show Thursday. “If we do end up in a position where we’re selling and looking to get some future talent, you actually want to be trading in the division because you want to weaken your rivals in future years, and you want them to push more chips into the present. In a way, it actually benefits you more."

If anyone knows what the Dodgers have in store for the future, it's Zaidi, who spent the previous four seasons as Los Angeles' general manager. Now on the San Francisco side of the rivalry, Zaidi understands why fans might not be wild about the idea of trading with the Dodgers.

"I understand there’s all kinds of emotional baggage going with that,” Zaidi conceded. “Maybe the Dodgers are a special case, and I think most fans would say it’s not maybe, they just are a special case. But in general, I actually think trading in the division has a strategic advantage."

Aside from the strategic advantage, the Giants might have more reason to consider trading with their division rivals after two major free agents signed with teams Thursday. The Cubs landed closer Craig Kimbrel, and the Braves reportedly agreed to terms with starter Dallas Keuchel. For the teams that missed out on those two veterans, Zaidi expects to be hearing from them soon.

"[Those two being off the market] does show the teams that were in on those guys — it kind of identifies who the buyers are going to be in the starting-pitcher market and the relief market,” Zaidi said. “Certainly for the teams that did not land those players, they’re going to be looking elsewhere to try to fill those needs. So I expect there’ll be a lot more phone calls between GMs these next couple weeks."

[RELATED: Anderson shows resilience but not enough in Giants' loss]

Zaidi also issued a reminder that, because of a recent rule change, teams have more reason to start trade talks sooner rather than later.

"Again, without trade waivers this coming August, it’s going to put more pressure on teams to get their business done before July 31,” he said.

The Giants most certainly will be sellers. They clearly can't compete with the Dodgers in the present. But if a trade with Los Angeles can help them do so down the line, it's something worth considering.

Ex-Giants manager Dusty Baker reveals his challenge when MLB returns

Ex-Giants manager Dusty Baker reveals his challenge when MLB returns

Dusty Baker has been a part of professional baseball since 1967, and if and when the sport returns in 2020, he will have to kick a few habits he's probably been doing since he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves.

All players, managers and coaches will have to stop spitting, among other things.

In the name of health and safety during the age of the coronavirus pandemic, MLB sent a 67-page document to teams outlining what the players can no longer do.

For Baker, the former Giants manager and current Houston Astros skipper, he isn't sure how he's going to stop spitting.

“Now the biggest challenge is gonna be what my mom has been chastising me about my whole life — spitting,” Baker told The Athletic's Jayson Stark and Doug Glanville. “I am not kidding you. That’s the first thing my wife asked me. She goes, ‘How you gonna stop spitting?’ I don’t know.

“And my mom, I swear — she has been getting on me since I was 10 years old about spitting. Know what I mean? And I used to practice spitting. I’m the most accurate spitter in the world.”

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

If you've seen Baker anywhere near a baseball diamond, he always has a toothpick sticking out of his mouth. Those little pieces of wood have become synonymous with the 70-year-old.

Baker told Stark and Glanville that there was a time in his career where he called a toothpick company trying to get an endorsement. Yes, a toothpick endorsement.

“So they wrote me back,” Baker said. “Nice letter. And they said, ‘Thank you, Dusty. It’s a great idea. But we don’t need you to sell toothpicks.' ”

Only Dusty could try to get a toothpick endorsement.

[RELATED: Zac Efron's epic Dusty autograph story]

Whenever baseball returns, Baker will manage an Astros team coming off a turbulent offseason in which they were severely punished for a sign-stealing scandal. Former manager AJ Hinch was fired for his role, opening the door for Baker get the chance to lead his fifth MLB team to the playoffs.

If Baker gets back to the playoffs, he'll have to do it without his trusty toothpicks.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Why Giants' Hunter Pence feels such 'deep connection' to organization

Why Giants' Hunter Pence feels such 'deep connection' to organization

Hunter Pence was part of two World Series-winning teams with the Giants in 2012 and 2014. He rejoined San Francisco's roster in February after an impressive comeback season in 2019 that included All-Star honors with the Texas Rangers.

The 37-year-old outfielder joined 95.7 The Game on Friday and explained why he decided to return to San Francisco.

“Obviously I feel a deep connection with the Giants organization,” Pence said. “The city, and these years, you never know which one is gonna be your last. I think everyone thought two years ago was my last year, and I’ve been fortunate that I made some adjustments.

“I want to be a part of passing on a lot of the things that I’ve learned to the young people, and I wanna come and transition back into the winning ways.”

[RELATED: Five Giants hitters who've had much more success when visiting Rockies]

Pence also noted that he’s appreciated getting a chance to work with the organization’s new leadership.

“It’s been really exciting to learn from Farhan, and the new metrics and I learned a lot of that with the Rangers. So I’m excited to share. I wanna pass all that on, I feel right at home, I’m in love with the city and the organization, and in love with everything with the Giants. It feels like home, it feels like family and it means a lot to be a Giant.”

Pence hopefully will be able to once again take the field in a Giants uniform soon.

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]