A week and a half away from MLB’s Aug. 1 trade deadline, transaction wires and Twitter notifications alike have been relatively silent.
While the amateur draft is now in teams’ rearview mirrors, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi explained the primary factor holding up the market.
“We’ve been having conversations for the last week or 10 days and I just think so many of those conversations are just we’ll see where we’re at a week or 10 days from now,” Zaidi said Thursday on KNBR. “I do think there are teams that even 10 days out aren’t really sure of their direction. It feels weird, it happens every year, where the last week or 10 days before the deadline matters so much … probably too much.”
The Giants, with a wild card spot in hand and a real shot at the division, are ready to buy to improve their club. With Brandon Crawford recently joining Thairo Estrada on the injured list, Zaidi reiterated that infield depth was a top priority. But few teams are ready to waive the white flag just yet.
With six playoff spots up for grabs in each league, only 12 teams entered Friday more than six games out, and that included the big-spending Padres (46-51, 6½ games back of the wild card) and Mets (45-51, 7 games back). While San Diego starter Blake Snell might be a prime target, when asked Thursday about the Padres’ direction at the deadline, he said, “I think we’re buying.”
When clocks hit 3 p.m. PT on Aug. 1, however, every team will have made up its mind. And for those clubs with players other teams covet who do wind up selling, the Giants want to be on the list of teams who receive a call. The key is being persistent without being presumptive, Zaidi said.
“Even teams that are in a holding pattern right now, it’s a good idea to just get your name on the board,” Zaidi said. “When teams get to the point where they turn on the switch to sell, they want as many teams in as possible; they want the competitive bidding. So once you check in and say you’re interested, a deal’s not gonna happen without them checking back with you.
“That’s really the stage we’re at right now, some of those check-ins and when teams are ready to push the go button and accelerate the process, you know you’ll have a seat at the table.”
In addition to countless text messages, Zaidi said he is making at least two to three phone calls per day.
“I just think you get a lot more information,” Zaidi said. “When you talk to other teams live, you get more of a sense of where they are. You might pick up on things they’re looking for, or maybe there’s a three-team match that comes up in the course of that conversation. … When we talk about lines of communication, it’s really live conversations that are the most impactful.”
While Zaidi said the Giants continue to seek a middle infielder, a possible acquisition “might be kind of a temporary thing.”
Providing an updated timeline for Estrada’s return, Zaidi said the Giants expect their starting second baseman back in early August: “At least a couple weeks away,” he said. As for Crawford, 36, Zaidi said they expect him back “soon,” which aligns with the veteran shortstop’s comments to reporters in Cincinnati that his knee was already feeling better. However, Crawford’s workload will be something to monitor down the stretch.
“Hopefully it’s a guy who can mix in with those two guys and be part of a rotation going forward,” Zaidi said of the Giants’ would-be target. “We think we’re a playoff team right now and we’re certainly going to try to improve that.”
The only problem?
“There’s a lot of wait-and-see out there,” Zaidi said.