Ross Stripling

Stripling, Zaidi share unique MLB trade deadline perspectives

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The MLB trade deadline can bring a whirlwind of emotions for players, coaches and even front-office personnel.

It can either be exciting or stressful depending on where your team stands midway through the season. Perhaps nobody knows that better than Giants starting pitcher Ross Stripling, who has experienced both the highs and lows of midseason trades.

Stripling, more often than not, has been on teams that have made splashes before the trade deadline. In 2017, Stripling's Los Angeles Dodgers traded for starting pitcher Yu Darvish and then acquired superstar Manny Machado in a blockbuster trade with the Baltimore Orioles before the 2018 deadline. Even in 2021 with the Toronto Blue Jays, the team acquired starter José Berríos in a trade with the Twins.

However, this summer, the Giants were relatively quiet at the deadline which Stripling and the team are taking as a vote of confidence from the front office.

"I think when it's a quiet one for your team, you've got to choose that mentality that the front office believes this team has what it takes to make a run and our record shows that against above .500 teams," Stripling told NBC Sports Bay Area on Tuesday.

"We're multiple games above .500 against playoff-caliber teams. We have a really tough August coming up, but I know locker rooms want to see, 'OK the front office is going for it, they just traded for a guy, they think this team can make a run and they added help for us.' For sure that helps and gives the team a boost, but I think we've gotta take the mentality of, 'Well, they think these 26 guys can go compete with anybody out there and see what we can do through October.' "

In the weeks leading up to the deadline, the Giants reportedly received interest in their starting pitching, potentially back-end starters like Stripling, Anthony DeSclafani, Sean Manaea and Alex Wood.

Despite the short-lived possibility he or one of his rotation-mates could be moved, Stripling felt confident he wouldn't be traded in the days leading up to the deadline after Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi essentially poured cold water on the rumor after the team placed DeSclafani on the injured list.

"For sure it's on your radar. I didn't necessarily think of it much for myself, I was thinking of it more for some of the guys around me," Stripling said. "And then we had some injuries right at the same time as far as the depth with [Kyle] Harrison and Keaton [Winn] and then DeSclafani, and then you saw Farhan basically was saying he doesn't think he was going to trade from the depth anymore, so we all saw that."

However, if Stripling did feel there was a chance he could be moved, the veteran righty would be comfortable approaching Zaidi and asking him to be transparent about what's going on.

"I think it depends on your relationship with GMs and guys are closer than others," Stripling explained. "I feel like he's maybe more approachable than others as you develop that relationship. I had Farhan in LA, I obviously went through free agency with him and now here with him. I would think so if I thought there was a chance if I was batting mentally with these couple days. I feel like me and him have the relationship where I can go to him and ask him for a straight shot, but I wasn't feeling that way so I didn't ask for it. But he's certainly approachable and I think would give me a straight answer if I asked for it."

And the feeling is mutual. In speaking with reporters Tuesday after the deadline, Zaidi said he welcomes any and all conversations with players about their or the team's future. However, some players are more interested in what's going on than others.

"We have a few players who are particularly interested in who we're talking about, so they might ask, 'Hey have we checked in on this player, that player?'' Zaidi said. "You want to be transparent and I appreciate when a player has that level of investment that they really want to know what's going on. So you try and share what you can.

"It's funny, even talking with some of our guys, you're going to have a range in every clubhouse, but just the fact that we've had guys come up and really energize our clubhouse, our veteran players have an attachment to these guys too. So I got just as many 'Hey we're not thinking about trading this young player are we?' (questions) and that's cool to hear and see because it shows even the veterans have in trying to build."

In today's age of social media, players see and hear plenty of rumors online that are almost impossible to avoid leading up to the deadline. Zaidi said he "occasionally" has to have conversations with players concerned about what they're hearing online, but that most understand the nature of the rumor mill.

"These guys are pros and they understand there's a craving for this kind of content leading up to the trade deadline and not to believe everything they see and hear and read," Zaidi shared.

What oftentimes is lost on fans and those who have not experienced the trade deadline from a player's perspective, is the impact rumors and actual trades have on the families of players involved. The human element has shaped Zaidi's approach to trades over the years.

"It's a tough position for these players and their families, they've got their kids sending them tweets on, 'Hey you might get traded to this (team).' When you take some time to think what it's like for them it's tough," Zaidi said. "The one thing I've sort of learned through the years and being around a lot of trades is -- some guys are always happy to get traded than others if they're going from a team that's not in it to a contender -- but there's some jarring element to it always, which is I was on this team, it was sort of my family and now I'm being told to leave.

"So that part of it, appreciating the difficulty of that for a lot of players is something that I've gained more of an appreciation for over the years. You think about your job if someone said 'Hey you're going to move to this other office across the country' out of nowhere, it would be pretty jarring. These players and their families, this can be a tough time."

Fortunately for Zaidi and the Giants, there were no hard conversations to be had this time around. Everyone is staying put and can rest assured knowing they have a place to call home for the remainder of the season.

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