MLB Trade Deadline

MLB rumors: Trade deadline will be Aug. 31 in shortened 60-game season

MLB rumors: Trade deadline will be Aug. 31 in shortened 60-game season

With the MLB Players Association's official approval of health and safety measures, players will report to camps on July 1 in advance of a 60-game season.

The Giants and A's reportedly then could make trades for the next two months.

Aug. 31 would mark the trade deadline during a 2020 season delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, The Athletic's Jayson Stark reported Tuesday, citing sources.

July 23 or July 24 would be Opening Day, meaning that players traded on the day of the deadline would be dealt little more than a month after the season began. The lead-up to the trade deadline isn't exactly a representative sample size as part of a 162-game season, let alone in one with 102 fewer games.

Teams, then, will be making valuations and trades with far less in-season information. As a result, it remains to be seen how aggressive front offices will be. The season's length means 2020 will be remembered with an asterisk, so it's fair to wonder if the Giants should expect a lesser haul if, as sellers, they trade pending free agents, and if the A's might be more likely to hang on to various prospects in pursuit of a title that always will have caveats.

[RELATED: 2020 MLB stats, champion will have asterisk no matter what]

Of course, the coronavirus-caused caveats extend far beyond the baseball diamond, with people across the country and around the world living far different lives than expected this year due to the virus. The pandemic inevitably will make the trade deadline even more logistically difficult for players, who could be with their new teams for a little more than a month. The CDC still recommends international travelers self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to the United States; what happens if the contending A's acquire a player from the Toronto Blue Jays?

Those questions presumably will be answered when the particular health and safety protocols are revealed. Nevertheless, MLB's reported trade deadline date continues to drive home how different baseball's first season of the decade will feel.

Why Farhan Zaidi doesn't regret keeping Madison Bumgarner at trade deadline

Why Farhan Zaidi doesn't regret keeping Madison Bumgarner at trade deadline

Farhan Zaidi found himself in a tough spot last season. He knew the Giants' focus should be placed on the future, but they just kept winning before the MLB trade deadline.

The Giants went a ridiculous 19-6 in July, and at 54-53 overall, they were right in the playoff race during Bruce Bochy's final season as manager. They also held one of the best trade chips in the game in franchise icon Madison Bumgarner. 

The always outspoken Chris "Mad Dog" Russo told Zaidi on Tuesday that he would have traded MadBum, but the Giants' president of baseball operations reiterated he's happy with the decision the front office made in keeping San Francisco's longtime ace.

"We got into July, and like we talked about, we were the best team in baseball," Zaidi said to Russo on MLB Network's "High Heat." "We played it out. We were four or five games out of the wild card at that point and we certainly have no regrets about that." 

Though the Giants made several moves before the deadline, including acquiring utility man Mauricio Dubon from the Milwaukee Brewers, they ultimately held on to Bumgarner. That didn't exactly turn into more wins, however.

After their red-hot July, the Giants came back down to earth. They went just 11-16 in both August and September, finishing the year with a 77-85 overall record. The final regular-season standings saw the Giants 12 games back of the wild card. 

And while Zaidi doesn't regret keeping Bumgarner a Giant for the rest of the season, he really likes his team's offseason additions to the rotation. As Bumgarner wound up signing a five-year, $85 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Giants signed two veterans who could have a bounce-back season. 

"We brought in Kevin Gausman and Drew Smyly to be a part of our rotation. Both of those guys have looked great in camp, and we have a chance to get 50 to 60 good starts out of those two guys," Zaidi said. "We feel good about the rotation, how it's come together. We've got some guys competing for that fifth starter spot. We have to think our rotation's in a good spot right now." 

[RELATED: Why Gausman, Smyly found lot to like in rebuilding Giants]

Gausman signed a one-year, $9 million contract at the Winter Meetings and has a 1.29 ERA through three starts this spring. One month later, Smyly, who is yet to allow an earned run in four innings this spring, signed a one-year, $4 million contract

Those two players certainly don't have the allure or legendary status of Bumgarner. There's reason to believe both could help the Giants in a surprise playoff push or be their next Drew Pomeranz as a pitcher who could help San Francisco add another solid prospect. 

One thing is clear: Zaidi is happy he kept Bumgarner in San Francisco during Bochy's final season. 

Giants' Farhan Zaidi reflects on difficult decision at trade deadline

Giants' Farhan Zaidi reflects on difficult decision at trade deadline

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants used 64 players at the big league level, DFA'd plenty from the Opening Day roster and said goodbye to longtime second baseman Joe Panik late in the year. This was a season of transition, and there were dozens upon dozens of decisions to analyze. 

But as president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi looks back, there's one that stands out from his first year. Asked about regrets earlier this week, Zaidi took a long pause and noted that he's constantly auditing every decision. 

"The thing that I spend a lot of time thinking about is just going back to July 31 and the way the trade deadline unfolded," he said on this week's Giants Insider Podcast. "I feel like I alternate nights losing sleep about not potentially buying at the deadline and trying to improve our chances this year, or selling more at the deadline and setting ourselves up better for 2020 and going forward."

The Giants ultimately played it somewhat down the middle. A stunning July run put them back over .500 and in a crowded wild-card pack, so Zaidi held Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith -- two of the bigger pieces on the market -- to give retiring manager Bruce Bochy a chance down the stretch. At the same time, he shockingly got the Atlanta Braves to take on Mark Melancon's salary and turned a couple of solid Drew Pomeranz performances into Mauricio Dubon. Sam Dyson was also dealt for prospects.  

Looking back on that decision-making, Zaidi noted that the Giants couldn't count on beating out all the other teams in the NL Wild Card chase at the time. But this season wasn't about getting a high draft pick and loading up on prospects at any cost. Team officials repeatedly said that they wanted to compete as long as possible. 

"I do think there are two separate goals between actually making the playoffs and being involved in the playoff chase," Zaidi said during a season-ending press conference. "If we had been basically in the wild-card race until the last weekend of the season and things hadn't gone well, I still would have felt like we achieved a lot of our goals of playing meaningful baseball as deep into the season as possible.

"I feel like we made some trades that are going to set us up better for 2020 and beyond, but we also kept a lot of the ingredients that had gotten our team to the point of being in contention in place."

[RELATED: Bart, Ramos could start 2020 season in Triple-A]

The fear within the organization was that the July bubble would burst, and that did happen. But the Giants were still at .500 on Aug. 26 and hanging around in the race after sweeping a weekend series with the A's. 

"On August 26, I was really happy we still had Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith on our team and felt like those guys gave us a chance," Zaidi said. "It didn't turn out the way we wanted and we didn't have the September we wanted, but I think we owed it to our fans and to Boch and to the players to keep those guys and give us a shot to continue what we had accomplished in July leading up to the deadline."