Atlanta Braves

MLB trade deadline: Giants trade Mark Melancon to Braves for two pitchers

MLB trade deadline: Giants trade Mark Melancon to Braves for two pitchers

PHILADELPHIA -- For months, it has been clear that Farhan Zaidi would deal relievers. But this is not what was expected. 

The Giants have agreed to trade right-hander Mark Melancon to the Atlanta Braves, ESPN's Jeff Passan and Buster Olney first reported Wednesday. The Athletic's Robert Murray reported that the Giants will receive pitching prospect Tristan Beck and major-league reliever Dan Winkler from Atlanta.

The Giants later confirmed the transaction

Melancon has a full no-trade clause and is still owed nearly $20 million, but Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi told reporters that the Braves are picking up all of Melancon's contract.

Melancon signed a four-year, $62 million contract after the 2016 season that was at the time the largest ever given to a relief pitcher. It didn't work out from the start, as a pronator injury limited Melancon in his first two seasons and he fell short of previous numbers. 

Melancon has recovered this season to give the Giants some value while primarily pitching as one of the first right-handers out of the bullpen. He entered deadline day with a 3.50 ERA in 43 appearances.

MLB rumors: Braves focused on 'pursuing' Madison Bumgarner trade

MLB rumors: Braves focused on 'pursuing' Madison Bumgarner trade

It's still unclear what the Giants plan to do as the MLB trade deadline approaches.

A month ago, they were clear-cut sellers, with big pieces such as Madison Bumgarner and All-Star closer Will Smith expected to be shipped off for a hefty return. But after a 15-3 stretch put them back in the thick of the NL wild-card discussion, the Giants no longer might be sellers. No, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi hasn't stopped fielding calls, but it feels like the Giants have taken a step back when it comes to trade discussions.

With the July 31 deadline a little over a week away, how the Giants fare in their next two series against the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres can go a long way to determining whether they buy or sell.

While teams might not be certain of the Giants' deadline plans, one team remains in hot pursuit of a potential trade for Bumgarner.

The Atlanta Braves, who currently sit atop the NL East at 60-41, would like to acquire a top of the rotation arm as October approaches, and they remain focused on Bumgarner, The Athletic's Jim Bowden reported Monday. 

The Braves have a deep farm system and could overwhelm the Giants in a Bumgarner trade, but Atlanta -- like the rest of baseball -- isn't sure that San Francisco will be a seller at the deadline.

[RELATED: MLB trade deadline: Predicting landing spot for top players]

Bumgarner also has an eight-team no-trade list, and the Braves are one to which he has the power to void a trade. The ace left-hander could use the no-trade list as a leverage play to steer where he wants to be traded to, or he could shut talks down and elect to finish out the season with the Giants, hoping to give manager Bruce Bochy one last October run. 

There are nine days until the trade deadline, and the Hot Stove is just starting to get cooking. Stay tuned.

MLB rumors: Phillies, Yankees scouted Giants' Madison Bumgarner recently

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MLB rumors: Phillies, Yankees scouted Giants' Madison Bumgarner recently

Some interested teams reportedly got a good look at Madison Bumgarner recently.

The Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees were among "several clubs" that scouted the Giants ace in his second-to-last start last Saturday, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported Wednesday. Bumgarner pitched 6 1/3 innings that day, striking out six and allowing four earned runs in a win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Phillies and Yankees both reportedly believe they could use a top-line starter, although both teams entered Friday in the top 10 in earned run average. Still, both teams are on Bumgarner's no-trade list.

What might be a bigger deal to the Giants, however, is the quality of both team's prospects.

Neither New York nor Philadelphia cracked MLB Pipeline's top 10 farm systems at the start of the season. Still, both teams boast two prospects in the top 100: The Phillies have third baseman Alec Bohm (No. 54) and right-handed pitcher Adonis Medina (No. 70), while the Yankees possess outfielder Estevan Florial (No. 52) and right-handed pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga (No. 59).

Nightengale reported that the Giants have "hopes of seizing at least one top five prospect from a team, or perhaps two others of their top 15 prospects in return." Their best match, then, might be another team that already got an up-close look at Bumgarner this week in the Atlanta Braves.

[RELATED: What Giants can learn from Braves' young, rebuilt roster]

As NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic noted Thursday, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has history with the Braves’ front office. Plus, the Braves sat third on MLB Pipeline's farm-system rankings at the beginning of the season.

No matter which hypothetical Bumgarner destination you prefer, though, it seems increasingly certain he’ll no longer be wearing orange and black when the July 31 MLB trade deadline passes.