Giants unlikely to trade Bumgarner (source)
The Giants have been the most intriguing team in the Majors for the past few weeks, and if their incredible run continues this weekend in San Diego, things could get even more interesting.
According to a source with knowledge of the team’s plans, the Giants are poised to become buyers if they’re still in the thick of the National League Wild Card race come Monday, and it’s all but certain ace lefty Madison Bumgarner will not be traded, regardless of how the weekend goes.
The Giants are 7-5 against the Padres this season, though they’ve won their past five games against their division rivals, including a three-game sweep at Petco Park on July 1-3. Jeff Samardzija, Shaun Anderson and Bumgarner will start the three games in San Diego this weekend.
Less than a month ago, San Francisco had been widely considered to be a near-lock as a seller, with Bumgarner leading the pack of trade candidates. On June 29, the Giants were 35-47, sitting 8 1/2 games out of the NL Wild Card race. In fact, their record was the second worst in the NL, ahead of only the Marlins at the time.
Since then, San Francisco is 17-4, moving above .500 (52-51) to thrust them firmly into the postseason picture. Following Wednesday’s loss to the Cubs and St. Louis' win on Friday, the Giants stood 3 1/2 games behind the Cubs and Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot, though the Phillies, Brewers and D-backs were all within the same distance or closer.
Sunday, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi told reporters that the final 10 days leading up to the Trade Deadline could go in a number of directions.
"It's impossible to say what the next 10 days are going to present, both in terms of what our opportunity to contend is going to be and continue to be and what opportunities the market is going to present," Zaidi said.
Zaidi added that the Giants “have to be prepared for every scenario” as they have been all year, saying the mission continues to be “trying to put ourselves in position to contend this year.”
Bumgarner is slated to become a free agent at the end of the season, and although he once seemed like a lock to be dealt prior to Wednesday’s Deadline, the Giants’ current plan is to hang on to the popular pitcher, the source said.
San Francisco has other players who have received plenty of attention in trade rumors, including relievers Will Smith, Tony Watson and Sam Dyson. Given their recent run -- and the allure of making a postseason push in manager Bruce Bochy’s final season -- the thought process has changed, making it likely that the front office will look to add players next week rather than dishing them off for prospects.
Should the Giants decide to become buyers, the focus would be the rotation, which has been ordinary behind Bumgarner. Samardzija has been solid at times this season, posting a 4.08 ERA in 20 starts, but Anderson, Drew Pomeranz and Tyler Beede have combined for a 5.22 ERA in 45 starts.
Derek Holland was designated for assignment earlier this week, while Dereck Rodriguez was unable to follow up his superb 2018 rookie season with a similar performance, getting optioned to Triple-A in early May. Rodriguez returned in late May and pitched out of the bullpen before being sent back to the Minors earlier this month.
Rodriguez threw five innings of one-run ball in the second game of a doubleheader at Colorado on July 15, but it remains to be seen whether the Giants give him another shot to start every five days.