Eighty-eight games isn’t enough to have a definitive trade-deadline answer, according to Farhan Zaidi.
Before the 40-48 Giants played their final game before the All-Star break, the Giants president of baseball operations held court at Oracle Park, mostly deflecting questions about the team’s fate on July 31.
The season has felt like a grind toward that deadline — a hard deadline this season for deals — though the Giants have played better the last five weeks, 18-14 since June as an awakened offense has shown glimmers of hope.
Still, a team with expiring pacts of Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith seems destined to part with those pacts, even if it’s not smart business for Zaidi to admit as much.
“People talk about some of these decisions like they’re very black and white, and that we’re up against the wall,” Zaidi said Sunday before the Giants hosted the Cardinals. “And we don’t feel that way at all. It’s always a good thing when you have players that other teams want, but that usually means that you want them yourself.”
For Bumgarner in particular, Zaidi spoke about how important he is to the club, and how important a reliable starting pitcher is to any club. The posturing was on full blast three and half weeks before decision day, with conversations among teams “pretty typical” for this time of year.
“We don’t feel we have to do something, but obviously the next couple weeks will tell the tale,” Zaidi said.
He spoke about the importance of remaining flexible, referencing the early-April trade for Kevin Pillar as evidence that the Giants could buck the “narratives that are out there about what we might do at the trade deadline.”
While he hemmed and hawed, not wanting to be pinned down on anything, he did say that “absolutely” the Giants will want to give standout Triple-A performers chances in the second half. Already Austin Slater has made a difference, and pitchers such as Conner Menez and Sam Selman are firmly on the radar.
And the fact these prospects look ready could help foster trades — even if it’s not Zaidi planting a sign that business is open at the deadline.
The Triple-A Sacramento standouts “may make it easier to make a baseball move off the major league roster and keep us competitive in 2019,” Zaidi said.
It all adds up to trades that are coming — even if Zaidi would prefer to keep you guessing about what they will entail.
“There’s probably a lot of teams in our position that might not necessarily view themselves as pure buyers or sellers,” he said. “But you know, there may be some baseball deals out there that make sense.”
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