The first nine games of the season have changed the outlook for Giants fans, who now can dream a bit more realistically about an underdog run to an expanded postseason. They also changed the roster math for a front office that has to cut from 30 to 28 players by Thursday's game.
The Giants on Sunday traded center fielder Billy Hamilton to the Mets for young right-handed prospect Jordan Humphreys. Once a potential part-time starter and everyday defensive replacement in center, Hamilton missed the start of camp with an undisclosed medical condition. In the meantime, Mike Yastrzemski has turned into an everyday player in the middle of the diamond and the Giants have found that their future needs will be far more glaring elsewhere. Hamilton became somewhat expendable.
"Our roster evolved and we recognized the value in having extra bats and extra arms in the 'pen, and that just kind of made Hamilton a tougher fit," manager Gabe Kapler said. "Particularly with us going down to 28 spots later this week. He's done a really nice job in Sacramento for us and we see the value to the Mets in the situation that they have right now."
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That situation is perhaps more complicated than it was when the deal was announced early Sunday morning. About two hours later, the Mets announced that Yoenis Cespedes had not shown up to the ballpark or been in touch with the team. Cespedes is a left fielder, and Kapler said he wasn't sure if the two issues were related.
"I don't know too deeply about the Mets current situation," he said. "I just think Billy is a nice addition to most rosters out there because of the things that he can do on the field."
The Giants should be covered there, with Yastrzemski ably sliding over from the corners to center this season. Mauricio Dubon also can play center, and Steven Duggar is up as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner.
Humphreys appears to fit right in with the Farhan Zaidi model. The Giants are trying to stockpile arms and use their deep minor league staff to develop them into bigger pieces, and there certainly is a lot to like about the 24-year-old right-hander. Humphreys was ranked as the 14th-best prospect in the Mets' system by MLB Pipeline, which noted that the Mets were so impressed by his Arizona Fall League stint that they put him on their 40-man roster.
He is said to have good command of a low 90s slider, curveball and changeup, with a good feel for pitching and sequencing. The Giants have tried to accumulate as many arms like that as they can, and some are already paying off. Rico Garcia, a starter-turned-reliever, has thrown five scoreless appearances out of the bullpen and hit 98 mph on Saturday night, a big step up from his starting days.
"He had a lot of carry through the zone before Tommy John, and still has a lot of carry through the zone," Kapler said of Humphreys. "He was a strike-thrower and a real prospect for the Mets, and we're excited to have him."