The Giants have given themselves life and Farhan Zaidi options.
A team billed for months as a trade-deadline seller is in complicated waters 10 days before decision day, entering Sunday’s game against the Mets 2 1/2 games back of the second NL wild card. Winning 14-of-17 games will do that.
“If we continue to play well, obviously that’ll color things in a certain way,” Zaidi said in a media scrum in the Giants’ Oracle Park dugout.
Zaidi spoke at length about the state of the Giants before the state of the Giants can change rapidly. He fought with the narrative that his mind may be swayed by the play, suggesting his mindset has never changed: He wants to win, and 2019 has not been a throwaway season.
“For us, it’s been the same mission all along, which is to try to put us into position to contend this year,” Zaidi said. “… Like every team out there, this month and particularly these last 10 days, you get faced with various trade-offs and various questions about the direction of your club. And we’re no different in that sense.”
A recent ESPN report stated definitively the Giants would mortgage this year’s team at the deadline, which Zaidi said “did not come from us.” The Giants have made his decision harder, but they also have given him a decision.
A team that has to deal Madison Bumgarner will see a worse haul for him than a team that could hold onto him for one more stretch run.
“I’m excited we’re playing well because it gives us options. It doesn’t paint us into a corner where maybe we feel that pressure of, ‘Hey, we really have to reload for the next five years because we have a real investment in what’s going on here right now,'” Zaid said. “So it’s our job to see what’s out there in the market, evaluate those scenarios to try to balance the present and the future.”
The present state of the Giants’ bullpen is deadly. Their relievers have a 3.97 ERA, eighth best in the majors, and back-end pieces such as Will Smith, Sam Dyson, Tony Watson and Reyes Moronta have been terrific.
San Francisco is 21-10 in one-run games, a direct reflection of their importance. Without them, a strength becomes weaker, and that’s what Zaidi is wrestling with.
“We know how important they’ve been to us,” said Zaidi, who pointed to their record in close games. “So we know for us to continue on this path that that group of players is critical. … There’s interest in a lot of our relievers. And we have interest in our relievers.”
If Zaidi has proven anything with the Giants, it’s that he’s willing to shake it up in a stab at obtaining talent. His phone has been busy and is about to go into overdrive.
“I’m having conversations with GMs every day,” he said. “That’s not an indication of what we’ll do or even if we’ll do anything. But that’s our job this time of year is to understand the landscape, see what options are out there.”