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.

MLB trade rumors: Giants might receive only 'Grade C prospects' for relievers

MLB trade rumors: Giants might receive only 'Grade C prospects' for relievers

The Giants have three relievers whom other MLB teams covet.

Will Smith, Tony Watson and Sam Dyson all have been mentioned in trade rumors this month. But a problem has come up.

The Giants broke out of the All-Star break on fire and have put themselves in the middle of the NL wild-card race. Their hot streak almost certainly will delay Farhan Zaidi's decision to buy or sell.

If Zaidi is forced to wait, the market could be flooded with options for teams, driving down the price.

As ESPN's Buster Olney writes, that could hurt the return the Giants receive for Smith, Watson and/or Dyson:

"Some executives believe that by the time we get to the last hours before the trade deadline, there will be a lot of starting pitchers and relievers available, and if that's the case, then it could depress the possible return that the Giants or any other seller would get. It's possible, one evaluator indicated, that if San Francisco decided to unload some relievers, it might get offered Grade C prospects."

Zaidi reportedly had hoped to use the trio of relievers and ace Madison Bumgarner to replenish the Giants' farm system. But now, it's not certain that the Giants will be sellers before the July 31 trade deadline. If they do indeed decide to sell, it most likely will come after their two upcoming series with the Chicago Cubs and the San Diego Padres.

[RELATED: Bumgarner could reject trade to stay]

But by then, it might be too late for Zaidi to acquire the top prospects he covets.

MLB rumors: Madison Bumgarner could reject trade to stay with Giants

MLB rumors: Madison Bumgarner could reject trade to stay with Giants

With their recent surge in the standings, Farhan Zaidi and the Giants are in a tough spot.

Do they cash in trade chips such as Madison Bumgarner and restock their farm system? Or do they hang on to the 2014 World Series MVP and make a push for an NL wild-card spot?

Zaidi isn’t ready to answer that, as he mentioned before the Giants' 3-2 12-inning win over the Mets on Sunday.

But what about another crazy option? What if Zaidi agrees to trade Bumgarner to another team before the July 31 deadline and Bumgarner envokes his power to reject the deal?

ESPN's Buster Olney, citing a source, reported Sunday that that certainly is a possibility.

"In light of the Giants' recent surge, one source says he wouldn't be shocked if Bumgarner turned down a deal just to continue to be part of something he loves for the rest of his deal," Olney writes. "He could use the no-trade clause to extract some cash out of the Giants -- a going-away present, you could call it, a final chunk of change for a player who has been worth far more to the franchise than he has been paid during his time in San Francisco."

Back in May, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported that Bumgarner has eight teams on his no-trade clause: Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals.

Following his last start, Bumgarner was asked about the trade rumors surrounding him, and he made it clear his only goal is to win games for the Giants.

"I don't give a s--t," Bumgarner said. "I'm here to win games for this team, and that's what we're doing."

[RELATED: Giants will 'ride wave of wins']

In the moment, he meant that as a short-term goal. But what if Bumgarner really meant he doesn't want to leave?

Olney's latest reporting certainly puts that thinking on the table.