San Francisco Giants: Zaidi gets a pass trading Melancon, could have dealt others

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 13: Manager Bruce Bochy #15 of the San Francisco Giants takes the ball from pitcher Madison Bumgarner #40 taking Bumgarner out of the game against the Colorado Rockies in the top of the eighth inning at Oracle Park on April 13, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 13: Manager Bruce Bochy #15 of the San Francisco Giants takes the ball from pitcher Madison Bumgarner #40 taking Bumgarner out of the game against the Colorado Rockies in the top of the eighth inning at Oracle Park on April 13, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

In his first MLB trade deadline as president of baseball operations, Farhan Zaidi made some strong moves to help the San Francisco Giants. However, the players remaining on the roster could have made a more significant impact on returns for the future.

The San Francisco Giants finally chose to play meaningful baseball after realizing Bruce Bochy will be riding off into the sunset after the season. After not much excitement around the team to begin the year, the Giants are now making a push for a wild card spot for October baseball.

Perhaps no team is playing better baseball right now than the Giants, winning all of their series against opponents in July. As a result, Farhan Zaidi found himself in a pickle with moving the club forward in the present and the future.

After a few trades leading up to the deadline, perhaps the biggest surprise came after the team sent reliever Mark Melancon to the Atlanta Braves. Amongst the deals made, this trade is by far the best move Zaidi accomplished.

He was able to move a contract that previous front office executives should never have handed out.

With the hope of solidifying the closer role, the Melancon deal was a poor decision from the start. The Giants’ bullpen faltered in 2016 against the Cubs during the postseason, prompting management to rebuild a once-dominant strength which had produced three championships.

From experience, Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans should have known the last time splashing money on a closer failed (Armando Benitez).

Melancon did have a strong year with the Washington Nationals before exploring the free-agent market. Management made an impulse buy, already aware of the previous injury Melancon suffered.

A signing which backfired as Melancon did not fully heal from his shoulder injury, stumbling mightily to lose the closing duties. Not only did Zaidi clean up a mess from the past, but he got the Atlanta Braves to take on Melancon’s full salary through 2020 and got a decent return.

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By taking advantage of the relievers, Zaidi improved the Giants in an attempt to continue the push for October and stockpile the farm system with talent. Promise got shown by the president of baseball operations in keeping the team competitive currently and building for the future.

But Zaidi could have made a stronger case to seriously strip down the current roster to net a significant abundance of younger players.

Speculation began in regards to Madison Bumgarner shortly after Zaidi was introduced by the Giants. With the lefty in a contract year, getting value for the ace appeared likely after falling short of landing Bryce Harper in the offseason.

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Now 30-years-old, the Giants got Bumgarner in his prime, delivering three World Series titles highlighted by his brilliance on the mound in 2014. For the Giants, serious consideration in keeping Bumgarner next year would have seen a contract extension to avoid the drama.

For now, San Francisco is getting vintage Bumgarner, turning in quality starts to give his team a chance to win contests. He does not appear to be lingering from his previous injuries suffered in past seasons.

As for Zaidi, he missed the opportunity in not trading Bumgarner, citing the recent events and contending now with the current squad. The Houston Astros had discussions with the Giants for Bumgarner but ended up with Zack Greinke from Arizona to bolster their rotation.

Sure, fans would not have complained if Bumgarner was traded before the Giants decided to wake up and play. Now, an uproar from fans would result if Bumgarner got dealt, claiming management already threw in the towel and started from scratch.

An extension is unlikely to happen for Bumgarner to remain in the Bay Area. He will undoubtedly command the terms from other teams given his postseason performances, an area Giants’ brass will not explore.

Along with choosing to swing and miss with Bumgarner, two additional players could have been sent away. Pablo Sandoval is a prime case in not deserving to be on the team or even in the big leagues.

Renaissance campaign or not, Sandoval still remains a controversial figure in San Francisco. He is ultimately fortunate to be wearing a Giants uniform again after burning bridges with his remarks upon signing with the Boston Red Sox.

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A low-grade prospect for his services may have served Zaidi better to facilitate future trades.

Zach Green is showing better promise for the stretch run despite only appearing in a few games since his callup. He deserves more playing time behind Evan Longoria at third base. Sandoval is only useful for his bat and should only be utilized as a pinch hitter.

Lastly, one player who has struggled during the team’s recent success has been Brandon Belt.

His name gets thrown into trade rumblings and is one player who could benefit from a change of scenery. A defensively-sound first baseman, Belt’s offensive numbers could be better at different ballparks.

A tandem at first between Buster Posey, Tyler Austin, and Stephen Vogt would make up the difference if Belt got sent to another club. Between the three, Vogt is proving to be a difference-maker.

Overall, the trades made by Zaidi before the deadline are a small indication of contending and building a future to remain in a winning mode. Instead of blowing the entire roster up, Zaidi chose to relent with the hope the Giants will continue to win for Bochy and enter the postseason.

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In only a small sample size, the Giants came out as winners from the trade deadline. Unfortunately, these moves will not be enough to sustain the current run, and the Giants will ultimately fall short of playing in October.