One of the biggest twists leading up to MLB’s trade deadline is the sudden emergence of the San Francisco Giants as fringe Wild Card contenders as their archrival Los Angeles Dodgers run away with the National League West.
The Giants, under new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, had long been considered extremely likely to trade away several pitchers. Longtime ace Madison Bumgarner is a free agent in the winter, as is All-Star closer Will Smith.
However, San Francisco’s recent surge has reportedly caused Zaidi, the Dodgers’ general manager from 2014-18, to reconsider a fire sale.
There seems to be motivation to keep Bumgarner and Smith and aim for one last postseason run with longtime manager Bruce Bochy and the core that won World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Bochy, long considered a future Hall of Fame manager, will retire at the end of the season.
However, Zaidi is at least keeping his options open and is still having conversations about the Giants becoming sellers, per Jon Morosi of MLB.com:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 31, 2019
However, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, a lucrative deal for the Giants may be the only way Zaidi actually trades away Bumgarner, Smith or any of their relievers:
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 31, 2019
Despite the Giants’ fantastic play in July, both Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs give them less than a 10% chance to make the postseason. Additionally, the supply of available starting pitchers in trades has diminished after Marcus Stroman and Trevor Bauer were dealt to the New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds, respectively.
Thus, a team may be compelled to send out a large package for Bumgarner even if he is a rental.
The Dodgers, who desperately need left-handed bullpen help, were heavily linked to Smith earlier in the season. However, Zaidi has gone as far as outright stating that recent developments have complicated the path to a possible trade between him and former boss Andrew Friedman.
Thus, the Dodgers seem more active in discussions for other relievers, such as Felipe Vazquez of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Edwin Diaz of the New York Mets and Shane Greene of the Detroit Tigers.