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.

Three teams chasing Giants in tight race for first overall pick

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USATI

Three teams chasing Giants in tight race for first overall pick

LOS ANGELES — The Giants have a pretty strong track record when picking in the top five of the MLB Draft. In 1985, they took Will Clark with the second overall selection, and Clark remains the highest-drafted player in franchise history. A year later, Matt Williams was taken third overall. Jason Grilli at No. 4 in 1997 is rather forgettable, but taking Buster Posey with the fifth pick in 2008 led to three titles. 

With a week of baseball remaining, the Giants are a lock to pick in the top four of next year’s draft. A few days ago, they looked like a pretty strong bet to pick first overall, but the standings — the bottom of them, at least — have tightened in recent days. Here’s a look at the contenders, so to speak … 

White Sox (63-92): No team went into tank mode this year quite like Chicago, with trades of just about every big piece on the roster. But a funny thing has happened … they’ve actually played decent baseball down the stretch. The White Sox are 11-12 in September after a blowout of the Royals on Sunday. They finish up with four against the Angels and three against the Indians, so they should get pretty close to 100 losses. 

Phillies (62-94): They have looked all along like the team to beat, but they hurt their top-pick chances by taking three of four from the Dodgers last week. They host the Nationals and Mets this week. 

Tigers (62-94): All of a sudden, they’re the biggest road block for the Giants. The Tigers have lost seven straight and they’re 4-20 in September. They finish up with three against the Royals and three against the Twins, and all six games are on the road. 

Giants (61-95): Can we stop for a moment and appreciate this. We’ve been talking about it for five months, but still, it’s pretty amazing that a $200 million team is headed into the final week with a very good shot at having the worst record in Major League Baseball. What an awful season this has been. Having said that, the Giants have not shown any signs of actually tanking, and manager Bruce Bochy said this weekend that he won’t shut any players down. So, it’s on to Phoenix, where the Giants have lost six of seven this season but the Diamondbacks might chill out a bit after clinching a postseason spot. They’ll face Zack Godley, Robbie Ray and Zack Greinke. The season ends with three at home against the Padres. The Giants have struggled against the Padres for the last year and a half, but they’ll have Matt Cain going in an emotional start and Madison Bumgarner will also get a game. 

Given another look at fastball, Williamson gets revenge against Kershaw

Given another look at fastball, Williamson gets revenge against Kershaw

LOS ANGELES — Mac Williamson was sent up to pinch-hit when the Giants faced Clayton Kershaw earlier this month, and on a two-strike count, he watched as Kershaw shook off five different signs as he stood on the mound. Kershaw then froze Williamson with a fastball. It was a good lesson for Williamson, a player still trying to find his footing at the big league level.

“He’s a guy you can’t really guess with,” Williamson said. 

The outfielder admits he tends to overthink things. “I’m a perfectionist,” he said Sunday. But given a start against Kershaw, Williamson let his talent — and a little luck — take over. Williamson’s first hit off Kershaw was a bleeder that resulted in an infield hit. His second bounced through the middle of the infield for a single. The third one was the highlight of the day for the Giants. 

Kershaw had a shutout going when he tried to sneak a first-pitch fastball past Williamson in the eighth. He blasted it to dead center. It was the only run for the Giants in a 3-1 loss to the Dodgers. 

“It’s good to see him get those swings off,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “That homer was to the big part of the park. It shows how strong he is.”

The Giants have always known Williamson has the strength and raw talent. He hasn’t stuck for a number of reasons, including injuries and that aforementioned tendency sometimes to overthink at the plate. It probably hasn’t helped, either, that the Giants tend to sit him for days at a time and then play him against the Kershaws and Zack Greinkes and Rich Hills of the world. 

Williamson took advantage of the tough assignment on Sunday, joining a small group of Giants who have three hits in a game off Kershaw. 

“Hunter was ahead of me,” he said, smiling. “He beat me to it.”

Pence also had three hits, giving the Giants six from the corners against the best pitcher in the game. It wasn’t enough, but for Williamson, it was something to build off as the offseason approaches. He said it’s a winter he doesn’t plan to take lightly. Williamson’s agents are working to line up a Winter Ball job in the Dominican Republic.