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SF Giants Acquire Lefty Anthony Banda from the Tampa Bay Rays

ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - JULY 10: Anthony Banda #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays delivers a pitch during a summer workout at Tropicana Field on July 10, 2020 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - JULY 10: Anthony Banda #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays delivers a pitch during a summer workout at Tropicana Field on July 10, 2020 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
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The August 31 trade deadline was mostly quiet for the SF Giants, but they did swing a trade to acquire left-handed hurler Anthony Banda from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Banda was designated for assignment yesterday, but he did not remain in DFA limbo for long as the SF Giants sent over cash considerations for the lefty.

There is no word yet on what number cash considerations will be wearing with Tampa Bay, but it is my duty, no my moral obligation, to track this story.

Since Banda is being added to the 40-man roster, the Giants did announce a corresponding roster move to create space:

This move ends Joey Rickard’s season, but it allows the Giants to bring in an intriguing arm in Banda.

Since Farhan Zaidi has taken over, San Francisco has targeted Tampa Bay’s stout farm system as Banda joins Daniel Robertson and Joe McCarthy as former Rays players who are now employed by the Giants.

Banda’s career before joining the SF Giants

Earlier in his career, Banda was a highly regarded prospect with Baseball America ranking him as the 88th best prospect in baseball before 2017. He seemed poised to stick at the major league level as he debuted with the Arizona Diamondbacks in that same season where he pitched to a 5.96 ERA in eight appearances.

However, his time with Arizona was short-lived as he was shipped off to Tampa Bay in a three-team trade that brought back Steven Souza Jr. in return.

Banda posted a 3.68 ERA in 14.2 frames with Tampa Bay in 2018 and looked to be finding his groove as a major leaguer. In the video below, he flashed some tantalizing stuff against the Baltimore Orioles:

However, nature had a different plan in mind.

In the middle of the 2018 season, the 27-year-old tore his UCL, which required Tommy John surgery to repair. Since then, he had only racked up 11 forgettable innings with the Rays before hitting waivers.

All told, Banda has produced a 5.96 ERA in 51.1 innings since making his debut with the Diamondbacks in 2017.

Given that he is two years removed from Tommy John surgery, the Giants are hoping that he can finally rediscover the form that made him a top prospect.

Despite his struggles at the major league level thus far, Eric Logenhagen of Fangraphs still believes in the left-handed hurler:

"“He’s still a big league arm for me, probably a fastball/changeup reliever, but he had No. 4 starter stuff when he was healthy”"

Banda will report to the alternative training site in Sacramento meaning that the Giants have an open spot on the 28-man roster. That move has not been announced yet, but Austin Slater, Jeff Samardzija, and Drew Smyly are all seemingly nearing a return.

With Samardzija, Smyly, Trevor Cahill, and Kevin Gausman all becoming free agents at the end of the season, the Giants will need to rebuild the rotation in earnest.

Adding a talent such as Banda to see if he can stick is a no-risk move, and the type of move the SF Giants should be making as they continue to improve the roster around the margins. Raising the floor of the 40-man roster is not the most exciting trade deadline strategy, but the Giants still have a lot of work in their rebuilding efforts.

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