Zaidi defends Giants approach to trade deadline mixed messages originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO — As expected, Tuesday was an emotional day at Oracle Park. But it wasn’t at all for the reasons most predicted.
The Giants ended up shipping four veterans before the Major League Baseball trade deadline, but kept Carlos Rodón, their teammate and best available pitcher, as the 3 p.m. PT on Tuesday, and they also kept Joc Pederson and Wilmer Flores. They traded for backup catcher Curt Casali, lefty Maher Darin Ruf and pitchers Matt Boyd and Trevor Rosenthal, who are both in the IL and unlikely to pitch until September.
It was a strange deadline approach, based on neither buying nor selling. It also seemed to be sending mixed messages to the club.
By retaining Rodón, the Giants have signaled that they intend to push for the National League’s final Wild Card spot. But to get rid of Ruf, Casali and Boyd, they traded away three very popular veterans, players who have been good teammates in an era when it would have been easy to whine about all the losses or splits. With the Rosenthal deal, signed just 12 days ago, the Giants sent away perhaps their best hope of getting a reliable guy for Camilo Doval.
The final approach came as a surprise to rival evaluators, but Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said it didn’t send mixed messages. The Giants listened to all their players. They made calls, including an attempt to acquire 23-year-old superstar Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals.
After all, they felt this team still had a chance to make the postseason, and there weren’t any attractive deals on Tuesday other than the ones that were made.
“We talked about being open to anything and everything,” Zaidi said. “I think that’s how every organization approaches the deadline, but the present really matters to us. We’ve been in a playoff position for most of the season and obviously had a bad couple of weeks that put us on the sidelines, but we know ( that) a hot two weeks can turn it around just like a bad two weeks got us to this position.
“I think the wise thing was to be open to anything, but we have some very good players who we think can help us have a really good time in the last two months and we weren’t going to make trades just to make They have to make sense for us, short and long term”.
The long term is where this potentially gets cloudy for the Giants. Keeping Rodón certainly makes them much better over the last couple of months, but the Giants had the opportunity to deal him for younger players and start building more for 2023 and 2024. Rodón is likely to opt out of his deal in the winter and sign elsewhere. and the Giants don’t have a lot of ready-made talent in the upper minors.
Zaidi didn’t want to go into details about the talks he’s had with other teams, though some around the game felt Rodón’s opt-out clause likely complicated things for the Giants. If a team traded for him and then saw him get hurt, he could opt back in next year and leave his new team on the hook for more than $20 million. This likely made it more difficult for the Giants to get what they would perceive as fair value.
“In the end, nothing made sense to us,” Zaidi said.
The Giants received calls on Pederson, a player some teammates believed would likely be traded to a prospect. They also showed a lot of interest in Flores, Zaidi said. But Flores has been their offensive MVP this season. The Giants knew they likely couldn’t chase a playoff spot without Flores.
“With the impact it had on our team, it wasn’t something we could seriously consider,” Zaidi said.
The Giants entered deadline day having lost nine of 12 since the All-Star break, and Zaidi acknowledged they “have a little way to go.” They are 4 1/2 games out of the final NL playoff spot and the two teams directly ahead of them have gotten better.
The St. Cardinals Louis added much-needed rotation depth in lefties Jose Quintana and Jordan Montgomery while the Philadelphia Phillies added David Robertson and Noah Syndergaard.
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The Giants traded away four players, but hope JD Davis, acquired in the Ruf deal, will add more flexibility to the roster. Brandon Crawford could return Thursday, and Joc Pederson and Thairo Estrada are expected to return when they are eligible next week. They hope to get Evan Longoria back soon as well.
Ultimately, the Giants rely on internal improvements. And they’re comfortable in the fact that they didn’t take away much.
“We’re always juggling the present and the future, whether it’s a trade discussion, or whether it’s playing-time decisions, that trade-off is kind of constantly in the forefront,” Zaidi said. “I think we thought about it carefully with different scenarios. It’s certainly possible that we could have done some of these deals that were more forward-looking, there just wasn’t anything that made sense.”