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Bumgarner stays put, Zaidi pushes in chips toward playoff run

Franchise player Madison Bumgarner turns 30 just 11 hours after Wednesday’s trade deadline, and after months of speculation about if, where and when he would be traded, the team made a strong enough statement with a summertime surge to offer him a pretty epic birthday present.

Bumgarner will celebrate at least one final push to the postseason in the uniform he first put on 12 years ago as a first-round draft pick.

This story has been updated to reflect games played through Wednesday, July 31.

After a dreadful start to 2019, the Giants are 21-9 in their last 30 contests and stand 2 games of out the second wildcard spot. It was enough to persuade President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi to shove in all of his chips at his first trade deadline at the organization’s helm, after many assumed the team would be selling.

Zaidi said he believes Bumgarner brings a lot to the team’s run toward its fifth post-season appearance of the decade:

“When he’s on your side you always feel like you have a chance if you’re an underdog, if you’re a wildcard, if you’re eight games back in the standings or two games back in the standings. When you have a guy who’s done what he’s done and led the way he’s led, he makes you feel like you always have a chance.”

The big lefty has been worth 35.8 wins above replacement to the team since debuting in September of 2009. He’s been pivotal to four post-season berths and played a leading role in bringing three World Championships to San Francisco. Zaidi is gambling he can do it again.

Bumgarner has pitched 102-1/3 innings of October ball, posting a 2.12 postseason ERA including two outings in relief. He was awarded most valuable player in both the 2014 National League Championship Series and the 2014 World Series. Zaidi said:

“Obviously he’s a huge tone-setter for our clubhouse, he’s a tone-setter for the organization … I know the guys are excited that he’s still got that uniform on his back.”

Zaidi sought to shed his clinical image as a numbers guy who doesn’t consider the human side of the game. When asked if he calculated into his decision the impact a Bumgarner trade might have had on the Giants clubhouse and morale, he pushed back:

“Up here in the front office, we want to win games, too. So I don’t think it’s fair to portray it as, ‘How will these people feel versus the front office?’ We’re all in this together.”

Bullpenners shipped out, All-Star arrives

Many speculated that Zaidi would deal both Bumgarner and lights-out closer Will Smith in a bid to begin a full rebuild, but instead Zaidi made a whirlwind of last-minute trades involving other relievers and acquired second baseman Scooter Gennett for cash from the Reds.

Zaidi said Gennett will join the club Friday in Colorado, at which point the the organization may need to make a difficult decision about either Joe Panik or Donovan Solano.

In 97 games, Panik is hitting just .231 and has a 67 wRC+, while Solano has posted a 116 wRC+ and is hitting .333 in 46 games. Zaidi said some sort of roster gymnastics might be able to make it work, but it remains to be seen.

In the first of Wednesday’s bullpen swaps, the Giants sent Mark Melancon to the Braves for right-handed reliever Dan Winkler and high-A-ball RHP Tristan Beck.

Melancon has a 3.50 ERA with the Giants in 2019, but in the month of July, he’s got a 2.31 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 11-1/3 innings.

Zaidi said the Braves will take on the entirety of Melancon’s hefty contract, which is a decent-sized salary dump. The right-hander is signed through 2020 and is owed $14 million both this season and next.

Winkler was on the Opening Day roster for the Braves and pitched with the big league club through June 12 before Atlanta sent him down to Triple-A. In his time on the big league club he posted a 4.98 ERA with a 5.86 FIP in 21-2/3 innings with 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings and 2.1 homers per nine.

Beck played ball for Stanford before the Braves drafted him in the fourth round of the 2018 draft. He is currently in high-A ball and has a 5.32 ERA in rookie ball and low-A ball this season.

The Giants also traded right-handed reliever Sam Dyson, who has been dominant this season with a 2.47 ERA in 51 innings with a 0.902 WHIP. Dyson went to the Twins in return for a trio of prospects: RHP Prelander Berroa, right fielder Jaylin Davis and RHP Kai-Wei Teng.

Teng holds a 1.60 ERA in 50-2/3 innings in high-A this season.

Of Berroa and Teng, Zaidi said:

“They’re guys that may not rank highly on the industry prospect list, but they’re guys that our pro-scouting department, led by Zack Menasian, and the individual [scouts] that saw them had a lot of conviction that both guys have starter upside. Teng is a durable guy, mid-90s and Berroa is as an athletic kid with a quick arm.”

Davis has 25 bombs in double-A and triple-A in 2019 and was ranked as No. 23 on Minnesota’s top 30 prospect list.

Drew Pomeranz, who recently transitioned to the bullpen and had been very effective in the new role, and flamethrower Ray Black were traded to the Brewers for triple-A shortstop Mauricio Dubon, who was ranked as Milwaukee’s No. 3 prospect.

Dubon is hitting .297 with 16 dingers in triple-A this season and Zaidi said he could see the 25-year old with ties to Sacramento joining the big league club down the stretch this season:

 “Quite a few of the guys we got at this deadline have a chance to make an impact here in the last couple months of the season. So as we looked to acquired younger talent, I do think we had an eye towards getting guys who were upper-level contributors who we could see up at the major league level, in fairly short order…anytime you are producing at the triple-A level the way [Davis] has, I think you’re on the radar.”

Lastly, San Francisco traded LHP prospect Jacob Lopez to the Rays for first baseman/outfielder Joe McCarthy.

Lopez is 2-3 with a 3.02 ERA in 41-2/3 innings with Salem-Keizer in 2019. McCarthy is hitting .192 in high-A and triple-A this season with 58 strikeouts in 190 plate appearances.

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