MLB Trade Deadline

Zaidi spells out Giants' approach to upcoming trade deadline

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SAN FRANCISCO -- While the perception this summer has been that the Giants need to go out and add a starting pitcher, up until very recently, the odds actually were better that they would trade a starting pitcher away before Tuesday's MLB trade deadline.

That all changed over the last week.

Right-hander Keaton Winn and left-handed prospect Carson Whisenhunt joined top prospect Kyle Harrison on the minor league IL, and veteran Anthony DeSclafani suffered a grade 1 strain of his flexor, which may end his season. The Giants have received calls on Jakob Junis, Alex Wood and others, but as Farhan Zaidi summed up the state of his team heading into deadline day, he noted that the pitching depth has been tested -- even though the Giants expect Winn and Harrison back this season. 

"It's kind of a wake-up call on how easily that pitching depth can evaporate," Zaidi said of the string of injuries to DeSclafani and the young pitchers. "We're kind of in a different position than we were even a week ago and I think it's less likely we explore something there. It kinda feels like we have just enough pitching to be comfortable and to have some options, but we'll see what happens over the next day."

The Giants likely won't be selling any pitching, but they might not be buying, either. Asked about his staff, Zaidi pointed out that the Giants are 14-4 when using an opener, and they're coming off one of their best pitching weekends of the season, one in which they used openers in both games and got nine sharp relief innings from Sean Manaea and Ross Stripling. Anything can change in the hours ahead of the deadline, but at the moment, the Giants don't seem to see additions who would make the rotation significantly better. 

"We've had a lot of success in those (bullpen) games and a lot of that comes from the ability to feature the bullpen, which has been a strength of the team," Zaidi pointed out. 

The focus a night before the deadline seems to be on lengthening the lineup, which is one reason the Giants went out and acquired A.J. Pollock to pair with Blake Sabol and Joc Pederson in left field while they wait for Mike Yastrzemski and Mitch Haniger to return. 

"That's where getting a guy like A.J., who is going to give you quality at-bats every time, and not having to lean too much on our younger players in the last couple of months is important," Zaidi said. "We'll just kind of look to supplement there and see if there's another guy."

Zaidi said there are still "complementary pieces" on the market who could help the Giants get more production from the bottom third every night, but there's not as much urgency on the infield as there was a couple weeks ago. The Giants have had an awful July at the plate, but Thairo Estrada will start a rehab assignment on Tuesday and should be back in the big league lineup later this week. The Giants got Brandon Crawford back over the weekend, too. 

Of course, the injuries to Estrada and Crawford were a reminder of how important depth is down the stretch. The Giants will get guys back in August, but they're also sure to lose another veteran or two. Zaidi sounded focused on adding depth, and the Giants were pleased to pick up utility infielder Mark Mathias in the Pollock deal. He'll head to Triple-A as an added layer of defense. 

"We'll be looking for ways to deepen our roster and give ourselves as many good options putting together a one-through-nine lineup every day that can grind and create a little bit more consistency," Zaidi said. 

The Giants have until 3 p.m. PT on Tuesday to continue to add, and already around the game, it has been a frantic stretch. Zaidi said he received a couple of calls from rival general managers at the end of June, which felt remarkably early, and in recent days there have been some big moves, most notably the trade of Max Scherzer from New York to Bruce Bochy's Texas Rangers. 

Zaidi said he's curious to see what Tuesday morning and afternoon look like.

"When you look back, a lot of the activity happens at the very end," he said. "And we've already had a good amount this year."

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