© Jake Roth | 2019 Jul 27
Farhan Zaidi was a very busy man during this year’s trade deadline. He was busy trading the Giants’ surplus of pitching for exciting young talent and prospects while also acquiring some pieces to help them compete in the present. The move for immediate talent came when Farhan landed Scooter Gennett, an all-star second baseman from the Cincinnati Reds.
The team needed some more offensive firepower from second base. Joe Panik hasn’t been a great contributor to the offense for several seasons, and Donovan Solano can’t be expected to carry that entire load for the stretch run despite hitting .343 with four homers in 137 at-bats. Gennett provided an immediate upgrade to a position that desperately needed one, but that does mean a role-adjustment for Panik as the team continues to make a postseason push.
San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy stopped by the Murph & Mac show on Monday morning to discuss Panik’s new role with the team following the trade for Gennett.
“I double-switched with him yesterday, he came in the game and got a base hit there but off the bench, just trying to mix it up to where we keep everybody involved and sharp and rested,” Bochy said. “You know with Scooter here, and you’ve seen the years that he’s put up, he provides some power.”
Prior to this season, Gennett had two-consecutive seasons with a batting average of at least .295 with more than 20 homers and 90 RBIs.
Bochy continued: “He hit a big home run there in Colorado for us, so that role has changed too, it’s that time of year where sometimes you make changes and I’m sure it’s not easy for Joe but he’s been great. He’s been ready to come off the bench and help out in any way he can, and so it’s gonna be up to me to keep the mix going.”
Panik won’t be the only player with an adjusted post-deadline role though. Bochy also outlined how the team would adjust as key players like Evan Longoria return from injury.
“Now we got [Evan] Longoria back so we gotta keep Pablo involved, so that’s gonna effect [Brandon] Belt too because Pablo’s been swinging the bat well,” Bochy said. “Now I can rotate those guys, and similar to the outfield, I think [Steven] Duggar has shown that he’s getting his swing back so I can mix it up in the outfield and keep those guys rotated and get the matchups we want. Every day we look at who we’re facing and how we construct our batting order, who plays, and it’s really worked well here with some of these players that Farhan’s brought up to where it gives us flexibility and allows us to get the matchups that we want.”
Zaidi has long valued positional versatility and has strived to create rosters that are very flexible with every team he has been with in his career, and it looks like he has done just that with this year’s Giants. Now it’s all up to Bochy to get all the pieces to fit together after last week’s eventful trade deadline.
Listen to the full interview with Bochy below. To hear him discuss Joe Panik, start from 8:55.