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Giants hint they’ll make Rule 5 Draft pick if right prospect falls


SAN DIEGO — The Giants have had a busy Winter Meetings, pocketing a starting pitcher, reserve infielder and first-round pick.

It sounds as if Kevin Gausman, Zack Cozart and Will Wilson aren’t enough. They would like to strike once more — although not loudly — before leaving the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.

The Rule 5 Draft, another opportunity for a team fixated on value at any turn to find just that, comes Thursday morning, when the Giants will pick 13th and perhaps swipe a prospect left vulnerable in the depths of another team’s organization.

Granted, these picks do not work out too often — last year San Francisco nabbed Travis Bergen and Drew Ferguson, neither of whom lasted on the team — although the 26-man, expanded roster could help picks stick. A Rule 5 pick has to be offered back to his original team if he is removed from the 25-man roster next season. If the selection survives in the majors all year with his new team, he’s firmly a member of the new team.

“We’ve been talking about it,” GM Scott Harris said Wednesday from the team’s suite. “It’s a draft, so the players you want have to be there for you.”

In general, Rule 5 selections tend to be high-reward pitchers and intriguing catchers who can be stored as backups. Righties Sterling Sharp from Washington and Yohan Ramirez from Houston stick out, as does lefty-batting catcher Patrick Mazeika (Mets).

The Giants have one open space on their 40-man roster.

The Giants will be one of the seven MLB teams that expands netting for the 2020 season. The Oracle Park nets that protect fans from balls will stretch to the foul poles, Harris said.

The Giants have not landed Nicholas Castellanos — or any of his ilk — and it likely will take some time before they find that corner-outfielder slugger they desire.

Farhan Zaidi emphasized how early it still is in the offseason — though it sure feels later after the quiet Novembers and Decembers of past years — before suggesting the Giants still have to sort through options.

“There’s still a lot of really good free-agent outfielders and guys potentially available in trades,” Zaidi said. “It’s going to be something we continue to evaluate. And we’re looking to fill other needs as well. But there’s still plenty of options out there for us to evaluate.”


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