The SF Giants and Oakland A's connected for a rare trade at the end of August. The Giants received outfielder/first baseman Trenton Brooks in exchange for veteran pitcher Sean Newcomb. The early returns for both sides have been encouraging.
New SF Giants trade acquisition making positive first impression
This was a good opportunity for someone like Newcomb, who has battled injuries in recent years including a concussion after being struck in the head with a baseball in 2019. The left-handed pitcher has allowed just one earned run with 15 strikeouts against six walks across 12 innings with the A's.
Oakland is in the midst of an extreme rebuild, so it should be a good opportunity for Newcomb to show that he can still be an effective pitcher like he was much earlier in his career.
The Giants received a veteran minor leaguer in Brooks. He was originally a 17th-round pick by the Cleveland Guardians in 2016 out of the University of Nevada - Reno. The left-handed bat is a bit on the older side as he is in his age-27 season and has not appeared in the majors yet.
Nevertheless, Brooks has a long track record of productive results in the minors. Across seven minor league seasons, he has registered a .263/.352/.434 line with a strong 11.1 percent walk rate against a 15.7 percent strikeout rate. This includes a solid .850 OPS in parts of three seasons in Triple-A. In four of his seven seasons, he has reached double digits in home runs.
The 28-year-old has spent most of his time in Triple-A in the Pacific Coast League, which is a very hitter-friendly league. So, while his numbers are strong, they do not necessarily jump off of the page given the league in which he is doing it. When the Giants made the trade, it felt like many of the other moves they have made in the past in that he is a productive minor league who is performing well against younger competition.
Those moves have not often paid off often for the Giants, but this front office will continue to look at ways to improve around the margins. Brooks has made a really nice first impression since the trade as he is slashing .255/.409/.588 (134 wRC+) with five home runs, 14 RBI, and 11 runs in 66 plate appearances. This includes more walks (13) than strikeouts (7) and a very solid .333 ISO. In his brief showing, he has controlled the strike zone well while hitting for excellent power (in a hitter-friendly league).
The Giants did quietly add a couple of left-handed bats, including Brooks, at the end of August. It could be nothing, but also feels like moves made this late in the season tend to have intention behind them. The Giants did not necessarily need to add either player. Though, if they endure another injury in the outfield, it could open up an opportunity for someone like Brooks after a solid showing.