Why the Giants did what they did at Deadline

August 4th, 2022

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It was an odd Trade Deadline for the Giants, who traded away four veterans but still managed to keep themselves on the fringes of the playoff race by holding on to their biggest trade chips, most notably All-Stars Carlos Rodón and Joc Pederson.

San Francisco moved Darin Ruf to the Mets, receiving utility man J.D. Davis and three pitching prospects -- right-hander Carson Seymour and left-handers Thomas Szapucki and Nick Zwack. The Giants also sent Curt Casali and Matthew Boyd to the Mariners in exchange for right-handed pitcher Michael Stryffeler and catcher Andy Thomas. They closed out the day by dealing Trevor Rosenthal, whom they had signed 12 days prior, to the Brewers for outfielder Tristan Peters.

President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi met with the media afterward to discuss the Giants’ flurry of moves. MLB.com’s Sonja Chen provided snippets of that conversation, with responses lightly edited for length and clarity:

Why no Rodón trade?
“We talked about being open on anything and everything. It’s kind of how every organization approaches the Deadline. But the present really matters to us. For most of this season, we’ve been in a playoff spot. Obviously, we’ve had a bad couple of weeks that put us on the fringes of the race. But we know a hot two weeks can turn it around, just like a bad two weeks put us in this position. I think the prudent thing was for us to be open to anything. But we have some really good players on this team who we think can help us have a really good last two months. We weren’t going to make trades for the sake of making them. They had to make sense for us short term and long term. That was our general philosophy.”

In what ways is this roster stronger now than it was when the week started?
“Obviously, we moved a couple of guys who have done a lot for us. Darin Ruf is an A-plus human being and has had some really big moments for us. We think in that deal with the Mets we got a couple of guys who can help us down the stretch here in J.D. Davis, who is a right-handed bat we’ve liked for a while. Obviously, he’s a local guy. He’s had some really productive stretches in the big leagues. We think the change of scenery will benefit him. Thomas Szapucki, we’ll evaluate whether he’s going to come straight here, but we’ve been looking for left-handed relief. The Mets just shortened him up over the last week on their Triple-A team, and we think he has the looks of a guy who can be really effective in that role in the big leagues. So we think those guys can certainly help us.”

When you see what the Padres did -- obviously, you’re not making a deal just because they made massive amounts of deals, but did you feel like they had more to offer?
“We had conversations about Juan Soto with the Nationals like any team doing their due diligence did. Obviously, the Nationals gravitated to the package with the players they liked the best. He’s one of the best players in the big leagues, and I think every team would like to have him. We were involved, and the Nationals ultimately went with the group of players they liked the best.”

Do you feel like your system is close to where you could get involved in a deal like that?
“I think so much of [farm] systems aren’t just like the total talent or talented players but is your system healthy? Are guys having good seasons? Current year performance matters a lot. You might have pedigree as a prospect, but if you’re hurt or not playing well, that really impacts your value in the marketplace.”

Are you disappointed in those current situations in your system?
“You always have a mix. We have some guys having great seasons. We have some guys who have been hurt. We have some guys who have had down years. It’s common in every system. Certainly in the course of conversations over the last week, it was evident that some of those factors were impacting the valuation of our players in some potential buy scenarios.”

Did the position you’re in right now make it tempting to try to make a move with Rodón to potentially get pieces that could help you next year and beyond?
“We kind of explored everything. I think there were scenarios that would have maybe involved us taking a little bit of a step back this year. In the end, nothing made sense for us. We’re always kind of juggling the present and the future. Whether it’s a trade discussion, whether it’s playing time decisions. That trade-off is constantly at the forefront. I think we carefully thought through the different scenarios. It’s certainly possible that we made some of those deals that were more future oriented. Nothing lined up or made sense.

“I think this team A) has the capability of making the playoffs again. We were in playoff position for most of the season. And B) I think with the top of our rotation, we have a chance to be a dangerous playoff team if we get there.”