SAN FRANCISCO — While every contender is out there looking for pitching, the Giants snuck into a quiet infield market and scooped up Eduardo Nunez on Thursday night. But as he talked of the Nunez deal, general manager Bobby Evans made no secret of what the Giants continue to chase.
“We’re focused on the pitching front,” Evans said. “The ask remains significant, and the pace remains really slow. But we hope to see something come together before the deadline.”
With the August 1 deadline fast approaching, the Giants are at least seeing some progress. A week ago Evans had trouble even getting into the “deal flow,” as the Giants call it, and they never really got to the discussion stage with the Yankees on Aroldis Chapman. But in recent days the Giants have found teams more willing to discuss prospects and the parameters of potential deals. That’s expected to continue into the weekend, when some teams may decide at the last minute to become sellers and others will lower prices that have been said by members of the front office to be “ominous” and “overwhelming.”
Evans said his focus remains on the bullpen, but he added, “we’ll stay open-minded on everything.” The Giants checked in on starter Andrew Cashner several times, but they weren't completely sold on moving him to the bullpen and believed another team would offer more to plug Cashner into a rotation. The Marlins did just that on Friday morning, sending four players to San Diego in a seven-player deal, including their 2015 first-round pick.
The Giants have primarily been trying to add an arm for the ninth inning, and while Chapman is a Cub, a few intriguing names remain, including Jeanmar Gomez of the Phillies and Jeremy Jeffress of the Brewers. If it's true that the Yankees won't accept an Andrew Miller-for-Lucas Giolito swap, you can cross Miller off the list. The Giants don't have a package that gets close to Giolito, a top five prospect.
But another All-Star is out there, and the Giants have checked in on Pirates closer Mark Melancon. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported Friday that in addition to prospects, the Pirates are looking for a seventh-inning type, which could help make the Giants a fit. (It's worth noting here that Derek Law is from Pittsburgh and his family still lives there.)
Evans is hopeful that the front office can pick up a reliever by 1 p.m. on Monday, but during a dead period in the action this week, work was done around the edges. Nunez is expected to arrive just before Friday night's game and the Giants will plug him in until Matt Duffy returns.
"He's having a good year," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's going to give us depth. This doesn't mean we don't think Duffy will be back. He had a good day. (Nunez) is a nice player. He's versatile, he can play short, third and anywhere in the infield."
--- Many interpreted the addition of someone like Nunez as an indication that the Giants are open to dealing Joe Panik or Matt Duffy, but sources insist that’s not the case. This is, however, definitely about protecting those two a bit. Panik has had a rough couple of years on the injury front and while Duffy was an iron man last year, the Achilles soreness does lead to some long-term concern. Nunez is making $1.475 million this year, and even with a raise in his final year of arbitration he’ll still be a very affordable insurance option.
--- A quick thought on Mejia: Scouts from other teams have long coveted him, and he’s a good prospect. But he clearly wasn’t in the Giants’ plans, either down the stretch this year or at the start of next season. Looking down the line, Chris Heston (currently injured), Clayton Blackburn and Ty Blach are still at Triple-A as depth options, and Tyler Beede and Phil Bickford are on the way if they don’t get traded.
The Giants will root for Mejia. They haven’t been burned often when dealing away prospects, and sometimes that can be tough when you’re negotiating. So it helps them and the perception of their system that Adam Duvall has turned into an All-Star, and it will help if Mejia becomes a solid big league starter.
--- Cory Gearrin was added to Sacramento's roster today. His rehab assignment is officially underway.