Troy Tulowitzki held an open workout on Tuesday in hopes of proving that he is fully healthy and ready to contribute in 2019, and it appears at least one team is strongly considering giving him a shot.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the San Francisco Giants had the “most impressive presence” of any MLB team at Tulowitzki’s workout, with new general manager Farhan Zaidi and manager Bruce Bochy both in attendance to get a look at the shortstop.
Tulowitzki did not play last because of heel injuries, and the 34-year-old appeared in just 66 games in 2017 due to an ankle injury. He batted .249 with a .678 OPS, so he was already showing signs of decline before the significant injuries.
That said, the Toronto Blue Jays released Tulowitzki with $38 million remaining on his contract, so he is likely looking to sign a minimum contract with his next team. That significantly limits the risk involved with adding the five-time All-Star, and there have already been reports that one contending team is keeping an eye on him. If Tuesday’s workout was any indication, San Francisco is a potential landing spot for Tulowitzki.
The MLB offseason is already underway, as proven by the New York Yankees’ major acquisition of James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners. Still, the largest dominoes have yet to fall, and it may be another week or two — if not more — before that begins happening.
Thus, teams are, in a sense, still positioning themselves for the offseason. Payrolls are being plotted and free agents are being explored, while the trade market begins to come to life as well. But some teams, for a variety of reasons, need to be more active than others given the places where their franchises are.
Here are ten teams who are facing very important offseasons for the future of their franchise.
10. San Francisco Giants
The Giants find themselves in a precarious position a year after an eventful offseason saw them go all-in to contend in 2018. They ended up losing 89 games thanks to injury and underperformance from some of their bigger names. Now, new president Farhan Zaidi is tasked with charting a path forward. How he handles this offseason could tell us a lot. The Giants can spend if they want to, but it seems unlikely that another free agent will put them over the top. Such a signing could ultimately hinder them in the long run. Alternately, they could try to dismantle some of their valuable pieces, but that would prove controversial. It’s a big decision that will have long-lasting impacts.
Madison Bumgarner has helped the San Francisco Giants win three World Series championships and is one of the most dominant postseason pitchers of his generation, but it is not out of the question that the team could move on from him during a rebuilding phase.
New Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, who served as the general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers over the past four seasons, had high praise for Bumgarner on Wednesday but would not rule out trading the left-hander.
Bumgarner is owed a team-friendly $12 million in 2019 before he will become an unrestricted free agent. The Giants won just 73 games this season and 64 in 2017, and they are currently one of the worst teams in baseball. If Zaidi feels they are a few years away from being competitive, signing Bumgarner to a massive free agent deal may not make a ton of sense.
Of course, Bumgarner is one of the most popular players in Giants history. The 2014 World Series and NLCS MVP has a record of 8-3 and a 2.11 ERA in the postseason. While his success on the big stage is undeniable, San Francisco has to get to the playoffs for any of that to matter.
Zaidi just watched his former team extend one of its most important players, but the Giants are in a much different place than their biggest rival. If Zaidi has a chance to get a major haul in return for Bumgarner, he wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t at least consider it.
The NL West rivalry between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants just got more competitive and arguably more heated.
Farhan Zaidi, who has served as the Dodgers’ GM the past four seasons, has accepted a job as president of baseball operations for the Giants.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Hank Schulman reported the news:
The Giants will be Zaidi’s third MLB team after he began his career with Oakland before moving to the Dodgers.
During Zaidi’s time in LA, the Dodgers were the dominant team in the NL West while the Giants went from being barely a playoff team to being one of the worst in baseball. San Francisco is looking to overhaul the team and get back on track and thinks Zaidi can help them get there. They’re probably right.
The MIT graduate is known for being not just an analytics guy, but a creative and brilliant thinker who comes up with newer, better and different ways to do things. He is said to blend new-school thinking with old-school scouting.
In San Francisco, Zaidi will have his greatest responsibility and task yet. He worked beneath Billy Beane and David Forst in Oakland and beneath Andrew Friedman with the Dodgers. This is a promotion for Zaidi and a challenge he decided was worth of accepting.
The San Francisco Giants’ GM search has gone slowly so far, and now we may know why that has been the case: The team has had its eye on someone who’s been busy lately.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Giants have interest in Los Angeles Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi for a potential president of baseball operations role.
Zaidi was hired by the Dodgers ahead of the 2015 season and just completed his fourth season with the team. LA has won the division all four years and reached the World Series in consecutive years despite coming up short. One of the franchise’s big moves under his watch was replacing Don Mattingly with Dave Roberts as manager.
The soon-to-be 42-year-old was a member of the Oakland A’s front office prior to being hired by the Dodgers. In LA, he works with Dodgers president Andrew Friedman to help build the team. It’s unclear whether he would consider a move to the rival Giants, for whom he could take on potentially a greater role.
A San Francisco Giants media outlet trolled the Dodgers so hard after Los Angeles lost their second straight World Series.
NBC Sports’ Giants Twitter account was ready and loaded to tweet an image they had made once the Dodgers lost. The image featured Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig holding up World Series participation trophies, while Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey were in the back lounging with their three World Series trophies.
NBC Sports Bay Area, which televises Giants games, was just waiting to drop this tweet.
The Dodgers have been the dominant team in the NL West, winning the division the past six years. But the Giants have won the ultimate prize — three World Series since 2010 — while the Dodgers keep falling short in the postseason. That’s something for fans of the fourth-place team to celebrate.
Bryce Harper will be one of the biggest free agents in MLB history this offseason, and he has the potential to change the fate of the lucky franchise that lands him. The San Francisco Giants are expected to be in the mix for him, and they think they may have an advantage.
According to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic, the Giants believe that Harper likes San Francisco, which should give them a shot at him.
What makes them think that? There seems to be plenty of evidence on Harper’s social media accounts. Take a look at how many times he’s posted about San Francisco over the years and how much he likes the city.
The San Francisco Giants are in the market for a new general manager, and they dropped a hint about what kind of candidate they are looking for.
The Giants announced on Monday that Senior Vice President and General Manager Bobby Evans will not return next season. With the club beginning the search for a replacement, team President and CEO Laurence Baer said the Giants will look for a “next-gen” general manager to take over.
That likely means Ned Colletti, who previously served as Giants general manager, will not be returning to San Francisco.
The Giants are currently 72-85 and will miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season. That’s unacceptable for a team with their kind of payroll, fan attendance, and recent success. The early bet is for the next person tasked with building the team to be younger and familiar with new technology, stats, and analytics.
The New York Yankees have officially added a former MVP to their roster for the stretch run.
On Friday, the previously reported deal that is sending McCutchen from the San Francisco Giants to the Yankees was finalized. New York is giving up two prospects, while the Giants have agreed to pay half of the remaining salary on McCutchen’s contract.
McCutchen, who won the National League MVP Award in 2013, cleared waivers earlier this month. That gave the Giants the ability to shop him to any team, and the Yankees ended up making a move with Aaron Judge taking longer than expected to recover from a wrist injury.
McCutchen is hitting .255 with a .772 OPS. He could be a nice rental for the Yankees if he can get something going offensively.
A brawl broke out between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night after an exchange between Yasiel Puig and Nick Hundley got physical.
Puig was batting in the bottom of the 7th inning with his Dodgers trailing 1-0. Puig took a big swing and fouled off a pitch, after which he tossed his bat to himself. Hundley appeared to start talking to Puig, who then got in Hundley’s face.
Puig then swiped at Hundley twice, leading to benches from both teams clearing.
Replay showed that Puig reached out to slap Hundley during the brawl.
Both Puig and Hundley were ejected from the game.
Puig getting into a fight with the Giants is nothing new. The only surprise is he didn’t get into it with Madison Bumgarner.