All signs point to the San Francisco Giants being active sellers this summer and some of the veteran relievers could be the first to go. What will the bullpen look like in the aftermath?
Unless things drastically improve over the next few months, the San Francisco Giants are going to be wheeling and dealing this summer.
The biggest storyline will be whether ace Madison Bumgarner is shipped off to the highest bidder ahead of his upcoming foray into free agency.
However, it’s the bullpen where the most activity figures to take place.
Closer Will Smith and setup man Tony Watson are both free agents at the end of the season and figure to be of great interest to contenders looking to add a proven left-hander.
Scrapheap finds Trevor Gott, Sam Dyson and Nick Vincent are also pitching well in middle relief roles and figure to be readily available as well if anyone comes calling. Vincent is also a free agent at the end of the season, Dyson has team control through 2020, and Gott is controlled through 2023.
Even high-priced former closer Mark Melancon is pitching well, though the remainder of his $14 million salary this season and a $14 million salary next year is a major hurdle in any trade talks.
With so much potential turnover, it’s worth wondering what the San Francisco bullpen will look like when the trade deadline dust settles on Aug. 1.
For the sake of this exercise, we’ll assume Smith, Watson, Dyson and Vincent are all dealt. Gott stays put after the Giants put a high asking price on him given his remaining years of control, and the front office is not willing to pay down Melancon’s contract enough to find a taker.
Where does that leave the bullpen?
Assuming the team continues to go with an eight-man relief corps, here’s our best guess at what the bullpen looks like post-trade deadline:
LR Travis Bergen
MR Ray Black
MR Ty Blach (L)
MR Melvin Adon
MR Williams Jerez (L)
SU Mark Melancon
SU Trevor Gott
CL Reyes Moronta
They could certainly opt to move Melancon back into the closer’s role given his significant late-inning history. Moronta seems like the best candidate to fill that job long-term, though, and he might as well gain some experience now.
Melvin Adon, Ty Blach and Ray Black are all on the 40-man roster and would likely be the first pitcher called on to fill available roster spots.
Adon has closer upside with a fastball that touches 102 mph and a good slider. He’s pitching in Double-A right now but has the power stuff to make the jump.
Blach gives the pen a second lefty after Smith and Watson are traded, though he would also be a candidate to move into the rotation if Bumgarner is dealt.
Black is currently on the injured list. He turned heads with a 2.52 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 35.2 innings between Double-A and Triple-A last season, though, and could be on the fast track once he gets back on the field.
A lot can change between now and July 31, and there’s no guarantee that all of the players we predicted to be traded here will actually be moved.
Still, don’t be surprised if the bullpen has a completely different look on Aug. 1.