EXTRA BAGGS: Dodgers willing to take on toxic assets


EXTRA BAGGS: Dodgers willing to take on toxic assets

SAN FRANCISCO The face of the National League West couldundergo another dramatic change in the next 24 hours.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who are more eager to give awaycash than the Publishers Clearing House, are reportedly in agreement to takethe injured Carl Crawford and the fried chicken-loving Josh Beckett off theBoston Red Soxs hands in order to get difference-making first baseman AdrianGonzalez. The deal could become official as soon as Saturday.

The players coming to LA are owed somewhere near 275million in guaranteed salary. It remains to be seen how much cash the Red Soxare willing to contribute in what will go down as one of the biggesttoxic-flush trades in baseball history.

Itll be a huge influx in the Dodgers clubhouse, too.Beckett was at the center of last years controversy that cost Boston managerTerry Francona his job. And Gonzalez was said to be fed up there, too.

(Do you remember back in 2010, when Gonzalez spoke openlyabout his impending free agency as the San Diego Padres were desperately tryingto hold on to first place in the NL West? That should tell you something...)

The Dodgers already picked up a noted malingerer inHanley Ramirez, although he has appeared motivated while making a steadycontribution in the middle of their lineup.

The trade, if it happens, will give the Dodgers offense atremendous boost. But it remains to be seen how the players will come together.Will their clubhouse become a powder keg? Or will they come together like happymisfits, the way a certain team did in 2010?

These current Giants have the luxury of a three-game lead, and thecomfort that they dont really need to care either way about who the Dodgers get. The way players in the Giants clubhouse see it, their house is alreadyin order. And strangely enough, Id argue that Melky Cabreras suspensionhelped them to coalesce to a certain degree. Whether it was mutual anger or some other emotion, it brought them together and theyare playing with more of a united front than at any time this season.

I think were just really were just focused on playingour game, right-hander Ryan Vogelsong said. Guys are focused on what they cando and thats translating to wins. Its when youre struggling that you try todo more than you can. I like the fact that everyone is just really focused oncontributing.

As for the Dodgers? Did they feel they needed to break thebank to compete with the Giants for the division?

I guess thats a question youd have to ask them,Vogelsong said. If they get those guys, Ill worry about them when I have toface them.

The bottom line: If the Giants keep pitching extremely well,it wont matter. They won't be caught.

Javier Lopez recorded his third save in a week, which has tobe a record for him. But if he hadnt retired all three hitters in the ninth,it wouldve been Clay Hensleys assignment to pitch to Dan Uggla.

So as the media crowded around Lopez again, Hensley watchedfrom his locker and shook his head with joking disapproval.

Nobody likes a closer-by-committee situation. But if yourein it, you might as well have fun with it.

And by the way, having that third lefty in Jose Mijares isone of the reasons that manager Bruce Bochy has been able to get his matchups inthe eighth and ninth. He used Mijares in the seventh and still had Lopezavailable for the middle of Atlantas lineup, which went left-switch-left-left.

When youre going closer-by-committee, you want to keepyour options open, and (Mijares) is allowing us to do that, Lopez said.

It sure sounds like Guillermo Mota will be joining theGiants when hes eligible to return Aug. 28 from his 100-game PED suspension.Manager Bruce Bochy said Mota is throwing well for Triple-A Fresno and continues to show hecan contribute down the stretch.

As for Brad Penny, he made a one-inning start for Single-ASan Jose and allowed an unearned run on two singles with a walk and nostrikeouts.

As for Aubrey Huff, he is back in the home clubhouse andcontinues to get treatment on his knee, but Bochy said hes in a holdingpattern.

Hard to imagine Huff joining the club before rosters expandin September, if at all. When youre in a holding pattern, you eventually makea smooth landing or you run out of fuel and crash.

Bochy, asked if Vogelsong was not happy to be lifted inthe seventh inning:

Hes never happy when he comes out, the manager said, smiling.

Familiar faces trying to find success, health with Giants' Triple-A affiliate


Familiar faces trying to find success, health with Giants' Triple-A affiliate

SACRAMENTO -- A young man named Clayton Blackburn walked into the home clubhouse at Raley Field on Tuesday decked out in Round Rock gear. 

"You're here for my start?" he said, smiling.

Sorry, Clayton, I was on Panda Watch for two days. But it was fun watching Blackburn, DFA’d in a weird move earlier this year, face former teammates. Blackburn hasn't had a great season with Texas, but he is still just 24 and he has gotten into terrific shape. Given what happened during his call-up last year, you should root for him to get a second chance. 

Blackburn gave up three runs over six innings against his former team. The River Cats won on Jarrett Parker’s walk-off homer to dead center with two outs in the ninth. Parker was one of many familiar faces in the lineup Tuesday. Here are some thoughts on guys you know, and guys you will: 

--- Trevor Brown is the backup catcher in Sacramento, which is certainly a fall from his run as Buster Posey's backup. Brown is batting .168 in what has been a very frustrating season for him. The groin injury that slowed him early lingered, he had a concussion, and he hasn't been able to find any BABIP luck. This year seems a lost one for a guy who was a big part of 2016. I’m still intrigued by his versatility.

--- Chris Shaw is the latest podcast guest. You can stream it here. We talked about his power, his move to left, thinking he was a Ray, and more. I didn't see many at-bats, but I saw enough in left field to be confident he'll be fine out there. 

--- Parker started in center field and made a nice running catch at the wall. He wouldn't hold up as a big league center fielder, but perhaps the Giants should throw him out there a few times down the stretch to see if he can be a backup option next season. Parker said he finally found his swing over the past few games. His rehab assignment ends in about a week, and he’s expected back in San Francisco. 

--- Reyes Moronta, who spent a day in the majors in May, was promoted to Triple-A. In his first inning, Drew Stubbs took him deep. I found that quirky. It's been a long season with far too many transactions. 

--- If Steven Duggar would stay healthy, he would probably make it up to SF in September. Unfortunately, his hamstring was tight again this week, keeping him out of San Jose’s lineup for a few days. Speaking of health: Tyler Beede’s groin injury will keep him out longer than just the standard DL time … Melvin Upton Jr. is still in Sacramento rehabbing a shoulder injury, but he’s not throwing yet so it’s hard to picture him making any noise before September call-up time …Christian Arroyo is in Arizona rehabbing from hand surgery. 

--- Derek Law was smiling because Derek Law is always smiling. He has a 4.32 ERA but said he feels much better than those results. “My slider is back,” Law said. He should be, too, when the Giants expand their roster. There are some other interesting relievers in Sacramento. A first baseman told me opposing hitters grumble about facing D.J. Snelten (1.84 ERA) and Tyler Rogers has a 1.94 ERA as a dirt-scraping right-hander. 

--- A teammate predicted Carlos Moncrief would hit .270 in the big leagues if called up, and he ended up getting that call Wednesday morning. Moncrief is a fun clubhouse addition. He gave Sandoval some good-natured heckling for talking to reporters after going 1 for 4. 

--- The Giants have had a lot of veterans visit San Jose this season. They all bought the postgame spread, but word around the block is that Madison Bumgarner provided the best meal. He had steak and lobster delivered to San Jose Muni. 

Eduardo Nunez 'forever grateful' for his time spent with the Giants

Eduardo Nunez 'forever grateful' for his time spent with the Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Eduardo Nuñez left San Francisco in a strange way. The third baseman was traded in the middle of Tuesday night’s game and mostly said his goodbyes in a stairwell behind the home dugout at AT&T Park. Before joining the Red Sox, Nuñez took to his social media pages to send a message to the Giants and their fans. 

On Twitter, Nuñez thanked the organization for “the great opportunity and experiences learned” and wished the team the best of luck. His Instagram message was a bit longer. 

“I will be forever grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this amazing team,” Nuñez wrote. “I value the experiences learned during my time here and I will miss my teammates, the fans, and the beautiful city of San Francisco very much. Best wishes to the Giants organization during the rest of this season. God Bless.”

Nuñez is expected to join the Red Sox on Friday. Boston’s manager, John Farrell, told reporters that his new infielder will get “a high number of at-bats” despite the presence of top prospect Rafael Devers. 

"This is someone who's swinging the bat very well right now,” Farrell said, according to "A high energy player that can run the bases well. He’s got really good line drive power so his .300-plus batting average to mix into this lineup is a good addition."