MLB Trade Deadline

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."

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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."

Farhan Zaidi confident Giants did nothing wrong in Sam Dyson trade

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AP

Farhan Zaidi confident Giants did nothing wrong in Sam Dyson trade

SAN FRANCISCO -- If you had walked up to Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi half an hour before the July 31 trade deadline and asked him who his 2020 closer would be, he likely would have said Sam Dyson. That's how much faith Zaidi had in the right-hander, who ended up going to Minnesota in the final minutes before the deadline and suffered a shoulder injury that might keep him out all of next season

Zaidi said Tuesday that he has no concerns about a potential MLB investigation. The Twins had looked into whether the Giants knew Dyson had a sore shoulder when they dealt him to Minnesota for three prospects, including outfielder Jaylin Davis. 

"From a record standpoint, injury standpoint, our guys do a great job and we didn't have any concerns from that standpoint," Zaidi said. "You always want trades to work out for both sides. We traded three relievers and two of them (Mark Melancon and Drew Pomeranz) have pitched as well or I think exceeded expectations for their club and I think unfortunately with Sam it hasn't gone as well."

Dyson gave up nine runs in 11 1/3 innings for the Twins before getting shut down. He reportedly told the Twins that his shoulder was sore in July. Surgery to repair his shoulder capsule will likely make him a non-tender this offseason and could threaten the 31-year-old's career.

Zaidi said he felt for the Twins and Dyson, who had a 2.47 ERA before the trade. He said the reliable Dyson was the hardest pitcher to part with and pointed out that -- after the deadline -- Reyes Moronta suffered his own shoulder injury, Trevor Gott had forearm tightness and groin surgery, and Tony Watson suffered a season-ending wrist fracture.  

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"That's some of the uncertainty and the occupational hazard of being a Major League pitcher," Zaidi said. "I'm disappointed for Sam and for the Twins, obviously, but from a standpoint of anything untoward about the deal, there are no concerns about that at all." 

Ex-Giants reliever Sam Dyson has shoulder surgery, could sit out 2020

Ex-Giants reliever Sam Dyson has shoulder surgery, could sit out 2020

Sam Dyson's season took a turn for the worst Wednesday.

The former Giants reliever underwent capsule repair surgery on his right throwing shoulder Tuesday, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli announced to reporters. The procedure could keep Dyson out all of next season. 

Dyson was traded from the Giants to the Twins at the July 31 MLB trade deadline, but was a much different pitcher in Minnesota than in San Francisco. He went 4-1 with a 2.47 ERA in 49 games as a Giant this year, but had a 7.15 ERA in 12 games for the Twins. 

The Twins believe the Giants might have known Dyson was damaged goods at the deadline, too. The Star Tribune's La Velle E. Neal III reported Monday that the Twins have investigated whether the Giants were aware that Dyson had a sore shoulder when he was traded for three minor leaguers -- pitchers Kai-Wei Teng and Prelander Berroa, and outfielder Jaylin Davis. 

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Now that Dyson officially has had surgery, even more eyebrows will be raised. There were no red flags on Dyson's medicals from the Giants when the Twins acquired him, but according to the Tribune, Dyson told Minnesota he had been pitching with some shoulder discomfort since mid-July. 

As Dyson might not be on a mound at all next season, don't expect this story to go away anytime soon.