Why Shawn Estes isn't shocked Giants held off on Madison Bumgarner trade

Why Shawn Estes isn't shocked Giants held off on Madison Bumgarner trade

When Wednesday began, no one following the Giants knew what to expect.

Farhan Zaidi and Co. had the most interesting collection of trade chips heading into the MLB trade deadline, but they weren't sure if they would sell Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith and several other relievers, or hold on to them and make a run at the playoffs.

When the dust settled shortly after 1 p.m. PT, Bumgarner, Smith and left-handed reliever Tony Watson still were members of the Giants. Zaidi did manage to trade Mark Melancon, Drew Pomeranz, Sam Dyson and Ray Black. But he didn't deal his best pieces.

Zaidi resisted the urge to restock the Giants’ farm system. His decision not to flip Bumgarner, Smith and Watson surprised many.

But not former Giants pitcher and current NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Shawn Estes.

"I wouldn't say I'm surprised," Estes told NBC Sports Bay Area on Wednesday afternoon. "I felt with all three of those guys, the demand was going to be pretty high out there, yet I didn't feel with those three guys, Smith and Bum in particular, if Farhan did not get exactly who he wanted, if the package didn't blow his mind, I didn't feel he was going to make that move."

Now, in Bruce Bochy's last season as manager of the Giants, the trio of lefty pitchers get to help make a push for one of the two NL wild-card spots.

"I'm glad it didn't happen," Estes said. "I'm glad they are still Giants because I still feel this team can make a run, and they're going to need Bumgarner and they're going to need Will Smith and they're going to need Tony Watson to make that run."

Some fans believe this was the Giants' best chance to add young talent to the organization and prepare for future years when the team might be able to contend for a World Series.

But was it a mistake not to trade Bumgarner and Smith for whatever prospect package Zaidi could acquire in return?

"No, because if they didn't get the players they wanted, then it's not a mistake," Estes said.

While Watson holds a $2.5 million player option for the 2020 season, Bumgarner and Smith are scheduled to be free agents after this season. The Giants most likely will make qualifying offers to both players when free agency opens. The value of that one-year contract was $17.9 million last winter, and that number almost certainly will go up this winter.

If the players reject the qualifying offer, the Giants would receive a compensatory draft pick if they sign with different teams. But considering Smith is making $4.22 million this season, a contract worth north of $18 million for one season would be a huge raise. As for Bumgarner, a qualifying offer could supress his market, like Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel this year.

Estes wouldn't mind seeing Bumgarner and Smith return to the Giants beyond this season.

"My hope is that they still try and re-sign Bumgarner and Will Smith and they are Giants for the forseeable future," Estes said. "I'd love to see both of those guys in a Giants uniform, and Tony Watson for that matter. He's a true pro."

[RELATED: Why Zaidi kept Bumgarner, Smith]

In his first year as the Giants’ president of baseball operations, Zaidi could have come in and cleaned house. He could have traded a Giants icon like Bumgarner. But he didn't. In this case, Estes believes Zaidi is doing what's best for the franchise.

"He wasn't brought in here to be sentimental," Estes said. "He was brought in here to be the GM of this club, make drastic changes to improve the club, not just for now, but for the future so they can have sustainable success, and that's the goal."

MLB trade deadline: Pitching combos that can make A's World Series contenders

MLB trade deadline: Pitching combos that can make A's World Series contenders

The MLB Trade Deadline is now just a day away and A's executives Billy Beane and David Forst are still hard at work seeking deals to improve the team.

Oakland has already added starting pitcher Homer Bailey and reliever Jake Diekman, both from the Kansas City Royals, but both the starting rotation and bullpen could use additional upgrades.

While there's probably no one single player who could turn the A's into a World Series favorite, here are three starter-reliever combinations that could transform Oakland into a top contender.

Noah Syndergaard, Edwin Díaz

No one seems to have any idea what the Mets' strategy is at this point. But rumors suggest that both Syndergaard and Diaz are on the trading block.

Syndergaard is hands-down the best starting pitcher on the market, and he's only 26 years old. The hard-throwing right-hander has a career ERA of 3.21 in five major league seasons, with 699 strikeouts in 645 innings.

Díaz might be the best relief pitcher available, despite his 4.95 ERA this season. Last year with Seattle, the 25-year-old right-hander notched a league-high 57 saves with a 1.96 ERA, striking out 124 batters in 73 1/3 innings.

If the A's were to find a way to acquire both Syndergaard and Díaz from the Mets, it would shore up the rotation and bullpen in one fell swoop. Syndergaard would give Oakland a legitimate ace, followed by Mike Fiers, Sean Manaea, and potentially Jesús Luzardo in the rotation.

Díaz could either serve as the A's closer or one of the best setup men in all of baseball. Combine that with Oakland's lineup and defensive ability and you've got a legitimate World Series contender.

Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith

This combination could be a bit harder to pry away, for a couple of reasons. First of all, with the Giants' recent success, Farhan Zaidi seems unlikely to move Bumgarner. Second, Zaidi would probably struggle to trade his top starter and closer to his cross-bridge rival.

However, if Beane and Forst could convince their old friend to send Bumgarner and Smith to the East Bay, Oakland would instantly have an ace and a dominant late-inning option. In 11 career seasons, Bumgarner is 116-90 with a 3.09 ERA. This year, the left-hander is 6-7 with a 3.74 ERA, averaging nine strikeouts per nine innings.

Smith has been even better out of the San Francisco bullpen, recording 26 saves with a 2.72 ERA. The 30-year-old southpaw has notched 66 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings.

Bumgarner, Fiers, Manaea, and Luzardo would create a formidable starting rotation for any playoff series, while Smith, Liam Hendriks, Jake Diekman, Blake Treinen, Joakim Soria, and Lou Trivino could make for an excellent bullpen.

Mike Minor, Shane Greene

This combination would come from two separate teams, but it would vault the A's nonetheless. Minor, 31, is having a career-year for the Rangers, going 8-6 with a 3.00 ERA. The left-hander's 5.9 WAR leads all major league pitchers.

Meanwhile, Greene has been lights out as the Tigers' closer this season. The 30-year-old right-hander has 22 saves with a 1.22 ERA and 0.87 WHIP.

While this starter-reliever combination is not quite as accomplished as the aforementioned pairs, it would still elevate the A's into serious World Series contention. Minor, Fiers, Manaea, and Luzardo would make a terrific starting rotation, while Greene would slot in perfectly as a setup man for Hendriks.

[RELATED: Dallas Braden on A's starting rotation]

Of course, all three of these potential Trade Deadline deals would cost the A's some top-notch prospects. Beane and Forst will have to decide whether the price in future talent is worth the gamble for this year.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports, where you can watch the MLB Trade Deadline Show at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. PT on Wednesday. Also check out our comprehensive coverage of the Giants, A’s, 49ers, Raiders, Warriors, Kings and Sharks! 

Blue Jays trade Marcus Stroman to Mets for two pitching prospects


Blue Jays trade Marcus Stroman to Mets for two pitching prospects

The MLB trade market is starting to bussle, but the latest move has left all observers scratching their heads and the Giants in a different position.

The New York Mets announced Sunday that they have acquired All-Star starter Marcus Stroman from the Toronto Blue Jays for two top pitching prospects.

Fox Sports' Jon Morosi first reported that the teams had reached an agreement on a trade.

Shortly after reports of the trade surfaced, Stroman tweeted a farewell message to Toronto.

The Mets, as of Sunday, are five games under .500 (50-55) and six games out of an NL wild-card spot. They aren't exactly contenders, but they just made a move as if they are fighting for a playoff spot.

Stroman had been linked to several contenders over the last few days, but the Mets swooped in and snagged him.

Stroman going to the Mets could be a good thing for the Giants if they decide to trade ace Madison Bumgarner between now and the MLB trade deadline Wednesday.

With Stroman off the board, teams such as the Yankees, Twins, Braves and Astros have one less option to go after, so they could turn their attention to Bumgarner. If those contenders get desperate enough, they might be forced to increase their offer to Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi.

As for what the Blue Jays got in return for Stroman, the Mets are sending pitching prospects Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson to Toronto. Those were the Mets' No. 4 and No. 6 prospects, respectively, according to MLB Pipeline.

That's likely the type of package Zaidi is hoping to get for Bumgarner, if not more. But Stroman is almost two years younger than Bumgarner and under team control for the 2020 season. Bumgarner is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of this season, lowering his value because he's seen as a "rental" player.

While the Stroman deal could be good for the Giants, the next move by the Mets could be bad news for San Francisco.

[RELATED: Giants in 'listening mode' on Bumgarner]

The New York Times' Bob Klapish reported Sunday the Mets now will look to trade Noah Syndergaard, although the team that has been linked to "Thor" the most is the San Diego Padres.

Complicating matters is that the Giants won again Sunday, defeating the Padres 7-6 in San Diego. With the victory, the Giants now are 54-52 and 2 1/2 games out of a NL wild-card spot.