We all got excited on July 31st — I even blogged on a Saturday, man! — but that wasn’t the real trade deadline. Just ask Manny. That was the non-waiver trade deadline. Today is the real day you have to have your changes made, because barring some complicated maneuvers involving the disabled list, your team at midnight tonight is your team for the playoffs.
If the chatter is any guide, it doesn’t seem like many if any deals will go down. The closest to anything approaching actionable intelligence is Jon Paul Morosi reporting that Ted Lilly is on waivers and could be claimed by someone today. His last start notwithstanding, he’s been great since coming over to the Dodgers from the Cubs, so he’d certainly help someone and could be claimed. The team he’d help the most right now is the Yankees, but the odds of him falling that far are pretty slim.
Anyway, we won’t go haywire about it today like we did in July, but do keep checking back throughout the day, because a deal could definitely go down.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.