Giants

Giancarlo Stanton-to-Giants rumor is fun...until you look at his contract

Giancarlo Stanton-to-Giants rumor is fun...until you look at his contract

SAN DIEGO — This is the time of year where front office officials respond to many trade inquiries from reporters with some variation of, “Well, yeah.”

Would the Giants like to insert Giancarlo Stanton into the middle of their lineup? Well, yeah. Of course they would. He makes their ballpark look small, he’s in the prime of his career, and he would fill a gaping need in the lineup and the outfield. 

The Giants would be foolish not to check in with the Marlins, and to do so repeatedly, and according to Craig Mish, a reporter in South Florida, the Giants have checked in, along with other teams. Mish tweeted that Stanton is believed to be willing to waive his no-trade clause if the Marlins commit to a rebuild. 

This is where we bring you a big splash of cold water but also the smallest dash of hope. 

The cold water first. Stanton has barely even begun playing out a preposterous deal. Overall, it’s 13 years and $325 million, the largest ever financial guarantee for an MLB player. Stanton still has 10 guaranteed years left, at $285 million (AGAIN, $285 MILLION) with a club option for 2028 that includes a $10 million buyout. 

So, he’s owed $295 million (AGAIN, $295 MILLION), and while some in the Giants organization have heard that the Marlins would swallow a big chunk of that, it would still be a hefty, hefty price tag. If the Giants take on, say, $200 million, that probably keeps them from signing Madison Bumgarner to a super-contract of his own one day. It locks them into the luxury tax going forward, and team officials have for months talked about a desire to dip under that number sometime in the next couple of years and reset their penalties. 

There are on-field concerns, too. For all the wondrous power he has shown, Stanton has played more than 119 games just once since 2012. The Giants have watched their own expensive outfielders get old in front of their eyes, and in a few years Stanton will be a 34-year-old making $32 million a year. Nobody but Aaron Judge is in Stanton’s class power-wise, but the Giants have seen how it has gone quickly with Hunter Pence, who was once one of the more powerful players in the game. 

Alright, now the dash of hope. A small one. Given the contract -- no matter what it ends up being -- there are maybe four or five teams in the game that could even consider dealing for Stanton. The Yankees and Red Sox always can, along with the Cubs and of course the Dodgers. Maybe the Cardinals or Angels? The Giants wouldn’t have much competition, and if the new Marlins ownership wants a pure salary dump, they won’t find many partners better than the Giants. They likely wouldn’t have to give up much except a commitment to pay Stanton, and here’s where the hope comes in: The Giants are rich. They sell out every night (officially) and their value continues to increase. If they wanted to make a splash, they technically could. 

So there’s your dash of hope. The Giants have money. They technically can pay Stanton if he becomes available. Will they? No, there’s been no indication they ever will. It’s a fun rumor, but the trade itself would destroy the team’s budget now and for years going forward and basically put an entire rebuild on the shoulders of one player who has had trouble staying healthy. This is where it's worth mentioning that the Cot's Baseball description of Stanton's deal compares it to Josh Hamilton's and Ryan Howard's. How did those contracts work out?  

Fun rumor, though.

Top prospect Shaw not feeling pressure of potential call-up

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Top prospect Shaw not feeling pressure of potential call-up

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants do not like to set timetables for their top prospects, instead encouraging them to force their way into promotions. Christian Arroyo did that in April and Ryder Jones followed over the summer, and both should be in position to compete for the third base job next spring. 

One of those two could ultimately fill a gaping hole in the lineup. When it comes to left field, one of their current River Cats teammates hopes to do the same. Chris Shaw is the organization’s top prospects on some lists, and on all lists, he is their top power-hitting prospect. 

The 23-year-old has 16 homers and 23 doubles across two levels this season, good for a .503 slugging percentage that’s right in line with his mark (.502) over 269 professional games. Shaw is on the fast track, and he became more intriguing when the Giants — with Brandon Belt signed long-term at first — moved him to left full-time this season. 

Shaw is doing what was asked of him. Earlier this week, I asked him if that has him thinking about a promotion. 

“It’s my motivation obviously to get to the big leagues, that’s why you work so hard in the offseason is to put yourself in that position to be knocking on the door,” he said. “But now, in season, you kind of put all your work in up to this point and everything else is a result of all your hard work up to this point. I don’t necessarily put any extra pressure on myself because right now I just go out and play and whatever happens, happens.

“I can’t dictate what falls and what doesn’t fall and what my batting average is going to look like a month from now, and ultimately what the front office wants to do. I’m fully aware they don’t have to add me this year. I trust in the front office in promoting me when they feel I’m ready developmentally.”

The big problem for Shaw at the moment is that the Giants do not need to add him to the 40-man roster until after the 2018 season. They are big on inventory, and not keen on DFA’ing another player this year and taking up a winter roster spot over the offseason for a prospect who currently is not in the opening day plans for 2018. That’s the paperwork side of this. On the field, Shaw is blocked by Gorkys Hernandez (who is now playing everyday), Jarrett Parker (who will finish his rehab assignment soon), Mac Williamson, and others. It remains a bit of a long shot that Shaw gets a September cameo, and when I checked in with team officials a week ago, the word was that it’s not currently in the plans. 

Having said that, the last-place Giants could certainly use some excitement and a glimpse of power. Shaw has some time left to change the front office's September plans. In the meantime, he’s the latest guest on our Giants Insider podcast. The quote above is from the podcast, which you can stream here or download on iTunes here. We talked promotions, his move to left, his power, his post-deadline tweet last year, and more. 

Former college football star shows athleticism on pivotal play in Giants win

Former college football star shows athleticism on pivotal play in Giants win

SAN FRANCISCO — Wednesday was a throwback for the Giants, the type of 2-1 win they’ve become so accustomed to at AT&T Park in past years. Solid starting pitching, a good bullpen, an opportunistic lineup, and sparkling defense. That’s the recipe, only on Wednesday there was a twist. 

The highlights usually come from the Brandons or Gold Glovers Joe Panik and Buster Posey. Wednesday’s defensive star was the pitcher. Jeff Samardzija’s barehanded grab-and-throw in the second inning killed a Pirates rally and kept Samardzija in line for a deep start. He was rewarded with his fifth win. 

The big play came with the bases loaded and one out in the second. Opposing pitcher Trevor Williams bounced one toward third and Samardzija sprung off the mound, cutting in front of Conor Gillaspie. He caught the ball with his bare hand as it came down from the first hop and made a perfect off-balance strike to Buster Posey for the force at the plate. 

“Your back is up against the wall there,” Samardzija said. “That’s a lack of other options and I had to make a play. It was the only option I had. I didn’t think I had a chance at first.”

Even with the pitcher running, Samardzija probably didn’t. After getting the tough out at the plate, he induced an inning-ending pop-up. Samardzija would get through the seventh and a mistake in left opened the door for the Giants' game-winning run. Afterward, Bruce Bochy pointed to that second-inning play as a unique turning point. 

“It looked like he was receiving a football, didn’t it?” Bochy said, smiling. “He’s so quick off the mound. He’s a good athlete. For a pitcher, that’s one of the better plays I’ve seen. You have to be a good athlete to jump off the mound that quick and have the instincts to know where to go with the ball.”

Samardzija, a former college football star, said that athleticism has hurt him at times. He explained that it can lead to some mechanical laziness on the mound, as better athletes tend to rely on that to get the ball to the plate. He did some work in a recent bullpen session to try and hone in those mechanics, and it showed against a charging Pirates club. 

If there were any scouts waiting for one last glimpse of Good Samardzija, this was it. But the right-hander said he doesn’t expect to be traded by Monday’s deadline.

“I haven’t heard anything,” he said. “I don’t read the news.”

He hears enough, though, to know that his name has been thrown around. Samardzija said he thinks that’s just other teams looking for leverage in trade discussions. He made his preference clear.

“I love being here,” he said.