Results tagged ‘ Leo Nunez ’

Giants focus on relief help as Deadline nears

Thursday, July 29

SAN FRANCISCO — As Saturday’s 1 p.m. non-waiver Trade Deadline crept closer, indications grew that the Giants were almost exclusively concentrating on acquiring bullpen help and had abandoned their pursuit of a hitter.

Sources familiar with the Giants’ trade talks said team officials constantly found that the “prices” for competent hitters, in terms of players San Francisco would have to part with, were far too costly. Giants general manager Brian Sabean has stated his unwillingness to trade left-handers Jonathan Sanchez or Madison Bumgarner, who routinely appear on other teams’ most-wanted lists.

San Francisco’s most immediate division rivals have fortified themselves. The Los Angeles Dodgers traded for outfielder Scott Podsednik while the San Diego Padres got slugging infielder Miguel Tejada.

But the Giants believe they aren’t so desperate offensively that they must overpay for a proven hitter. Despite Thursday’s 5-0 loss to Florida, they lead the National League with 141 runs scored in July. They’re 18-8 this month. As a result, they’re willing to stand pat.

“I like this club, I do,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “If it’s the right fit, I’m sure something would happen, but this is a good team with a lot of moveable parts. …”

This enables the Giants to throw even more energy into obtaining a reliever — preferably a left-hander, since injuries have sidelined southpaws Jeremy Affeldt and Dan Runzler.

“You know the obvious. We lost two left-handers,” Bochy said. “There’s been a lot of talks. I’ll leave it at that.”

San Francisco reportedly has expressed interest in Toronto lefty Scott Downs, who has limited left-handed hitters to a .182 batting average. Downs also has been effective against righties, who have batted .232 off him.

By contrast, another lefty who captures the Giants’ fancy, Baltimore’s Will Ohman, is the quintessential situational reliever. Left-handers own a .207 batting average against him, compared to .340 for righties.

A handful of right-handers also intrigue the Giants, including Florida’s Leo Nunez, who has a .210 opponents’ batting average against lefties. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Giants are eyeing Seattle’s Brandon League, against whom lefties are batting .235.

Chris Haft, Cash Kruth

Marlins more deliberate about dealing

Pulling off three walk-off victories in five days has the Marlins taking a wait-and-see approach to making drastic deals.

Coming out of the All-Star Break, management said the 10-game homestand, which wraps up on Sunday, would decide which direction the club is heading.

By ralling to a 7-6 win over the Braves on Friday night — scoring twice off Billy Wagner in the ninth — the Marlins players have bought themselves more time. The organization no longer views Sunday as the day to determine their course of action. The team will continue to evaluate all the way up to the July 31 non-waiver deadline, which will come when the Marlins are on the West Coast. Next week they are at the Giants for four games before facing the Padres in San Diego.

Now at .500 for the first time since June 4, the Marlins are thinking they may indeed be able to make a run.

The team still may make a couple of trades. Jorge Cantu has drawn interest from the Giants, Rockies and Rangers. Cody Ross has a handful of teams — like the Red Sox, Reds, Dodgers and Braves — who are interested. Don’t expect the Marlins to deal with Atlanta. A couple of years ago, before the Braves acquired Nate McLouth, they had feelers out on Ross.

A match with Atlanta is doubtful. If the Marlins, now 6-2 on the homestand, feel they can make a run, they will need Ross, and wouldn’t send him to their division rival.

Several teams have inquired about Leo Nunez, including the Giants, Red Sox and Tigers. Recently, the Marlins told clubs that Nunez isn’t available, at least at this point. If they, however, fall out of the race, by July 31, that may change.

Still, indications are that barring a deal too good to pass up, Nunez will not be dealt.

Dan Uggla is not being shopped, and the organization is expected to pursue signing him long term in the off season. Ricky Nolasco also won’t likely be dealt. The Marlins also are entertaining signing Nolasco to a multi-year contract.

— Joe Frisaro

Nunez could be attractive trade piece

The Marlins front office is weighing which direction to go by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

The club is tinkering with being out of realistic playoff contention. Already there are internal rumblings about moving the squad in a different direction. The Marlins would like to get more athletic and become better defensively. To do so, they may wind up reshaping a number of core pieces.

If trades are on the horizon, a name to keep an eye on is Leo Nunez.

With 18 saves in 23 attempts, Nunez impressed scouts in Atlanta on July 4 with the way he attacked the zone. The 26-year-old brought his fastball in at 97 mph, and the team wants him to rely more on the fastball than tossing too many changeups. Nunez was equally impressive on Monday, collecting a save at Dodger Stadium.

Now the Marlins are also in the market for bullpen help. So parting with their best reliever wouldn’t help the team’s chances in 2010. But if the focus is improving in 2011 and beyond, another team may be willing to overpay for Nunez.

The right-hander turns 27 in August, and he’s would be entering his second season of arbitration. He is making $2 million this year, and traditionally the Marlins don’t pay relievers more than $2.5 million.

They may have to in years to come. But the Marlins also have had success finding and grooming closer candidates. They converted Kevin Gregg from a long reliever to closer, and he held the job in 2007-08.

Should Nunez be traded this season, Clay Hensley would be a candidate to close the remainder of the season.

— Joe Frisaro