Two hours following an incredibly eventful trade deadline for the San Francisco Giants, VP of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi hopped on KNBR with Tom Tolbert and Rod Brooks to discuss everyone who’s coming, going, and staying. Here’s what he said:
On Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith remaining with the club:
“Those guys have been such a huge part of what we’ve done this season, certainly over the last couple of months. We’ve been saying all along where we are as an organization, we’ve got to listen on everything and engage when teams have interest in talking through different scenarios. But at the end of the day those guys are so valuable to us that regardless of how other teams thought about them or priced them, there was nothing that made sense on those two guys for us. Obviously we’re happy, and a lot of people are happy that they’re still in our uniform.”
How recent run of success changed deadline strategy:
“You look at some of the teams out there that are kind of totally out of the race and they are in pure sell mode, when you’re in pure sell mode, you don’t really value the present at all. Whether you win 68 games or 70 games and in fact, in some cases, you’re actually looking to move veterans to bring in younger guys and give them a look.
“Obviously what’s happened to us over the last month and a half, two months, changed us from potentially being in a situation where we are in a pure sell mode, to being more in a situation where we had to balance some different goals. So as we went through this trade deadline and engaged with teams, I think teams were aware of it, and we tried to be candid about it.
“It’s been funny following the public narrative of what our status was, ‘We’re buyers, we’re sellers.’ In the end we just wanted to have a balanced perspective and make moves that we thought made sense for us. And also respect what this group of players has done and try to keep the momentum of the 2019 roster.
“Some of the guys we picked up — and obviously we made a couple of subtractions — some of the guys we picked up are going to help us this last couple of months as well.”
On what Scooter Gennett will bring to the table:
“You look at the season he’s had in a limited sample size, obviously with all the time he missed, he’s rusty. But you’re trusting the track record, you’re trusting the fact that this guy’s got 20-plus home run power. Despite playing in that ballpark in Cincinnati he’s had good numbers on the road as well. The power is real. To get that kind of power from the second base spot I think has potential to really extend our lineup even further than the boost we’ve got from certain guys over the last couple months. He’s certainly a nice addition for us. I think sometimes when you’ve missed an extended period as he has, to just get the rust off. I also think sometimes the change of scenery and being energized by a new clubhouse and new surroundings can accelerate that process.”
On where Joe Panik stands:
“We’re going to have to kind of take it day-to-day. That’s the most honest I can be right now. We’ve got Scooter probably joining up with the team this weekend in Colorado. At this point we’ll have to make a roster move. (Donovan) Solano’s versatility, the fact that he can play all over the infield kind of eases the logjam a little bit, but even having two guys that are primarily second basemen might be tough but not impossible. We’ll see when we get to that point. Again, I think for us having those guys and knowing that it’s a little bit of a roll of the dice with Scooter because he’s played so little this year and hasn’t put up the numbers he did in the past.”
On the exits of Drew Pomeranz, Sam Dyson and Mark Melancon:
“Yeah I do think there’s going to be an elevated role for Moronta. He’s had, at times, a little bit of an up-and-down season, but you look at the overall performance, it’s been strong. Especially early on, he got a lot of really important outs for this team. We feel good about putting him in a spot of potentially higher leverage.
“The job that Sam Coonrod’s done coming up and really impressing everybody, I think gave us even more confidence in making the moves that we did and maybe moving him up the ranks a little bit in the bullpen. You know Sam Selman who’s going to be activated in the next couple of days from the left side, it was a pretty strong (unintelligible) on Pomeranz, who, even though it was just a few outings in the bullpen, looked terrific. For us to be able to parlay that into a position to bring in a guy like Mauricio Dubon, we’re excited about that.
“But again, some of our moves are a reflection of the confidence we have in the organizational depth of relievers. Guys that have come up and done a nice job, and also guys who are in Triple-A looking to get that next opportunity in the next couple months.”
On Braves taking on all of Mark Melancon’s contract (worth around $18 million):
“Mark’s done a great job this season and really over the last few weeks. I think the job that he did and the way his stuff picked up — he’s throwing 94 MPH cutters and 82 MPH curveballs just dropping off the table — that impressed a lot of people. That deal that we made was a reflection of the demand for relievers., and it wasn’t just the Braves that had interest in him.
“It’s a tougher move to make if you don’t have confidence in the ability of some of the younger guys that we have to fill in behind him and Dyson. But again, gaining financial flexibility is always a good thing. It opens up opportunities to do other things the rest of this season. It’s going to be an interesting August where guys are going to be put on waivers by teams that are out of it and maybe looking to free up some of their own payroll, so this is going to give us flexibility to do that and obviously this offseason will give us a little more room to wriggle with.”
On acquisition of Mauricio Dubon:
“He’s an exciting player. He plays the game with a lot of enthusiasm. He’s a really good athlete, you can just tell the way he moves around the baseball field he’s a good baseball athlete. He’s a really coordinated guy. He does everything, he’s got solid to above average tools across the board. He’s a guy who can play all over the place. He’s played some second, he’s played some short in the fall league, a couple of years ago they stuck him in center field.
“He gives you a good at-bat. He’s an aggressive hitter, he’s not a guy who’s going to walk a ton, but he puts the ball in play and he can hit all kinds of different pitches. So again for an organization like us…to get a guy who’s essentially major-league ready with what he’s done in triple-A this year — who’s a good athlete, who’s put up good numbers, who’s has good make-up — it’s a pretty exciting package.”
Listen to the full interview below.