PHILADELPHIA -- Farhan Zaidi got a kick out of a recent headline that said essentially, "Zaidi says 'We don't have to do anything.'" The Giants president of baseball operations had insisted for weeks that the team did not have to trade Madison Bumgarner or Will Smith, but there was no way he was going to sit on his hands, either.
The result was a wild final hour before the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline, with multiple deals coming out only after the deadline had passed. Zaidi tried to walk a tightrope, building for the future while also giving one of the hottest teams in baseball a chance to compete for a wild-card spot.
Sam Dyson, Mark Melancon and Drew Pomeranz are out, along with possibly Joe Panik. But Bumgarner, Smith and Tony Watson remain, and Zaidi even added veteran second baseman Scooter Gennett, sending just cash back to the Cincinnati Reds. He even found some way to convince the Braves to take on the remaining $18 million left on Melancon's deal.
The 2019 Giants might not be better than they were a day ago, but they're not much worse. Most importantly, Zaidi stayed true to his word and gave this group a chance to send manager Bruce Bochy off with a playoff run.
"We value the present and we have a lot of faith in this group's ability to continue playing well as we have recently," Zaidi said Wednesday. "We had to be open-minded ... there's a balancing of present and future that when the offers got to a certain point where we felt like they created enough value and we felt good enough about our organizational depth at that spot, we went ahead."
That meant dealing from the bullpen Wednesday. The Giants have one of the better ones in MLB and had been encouraged in recent weeks when Sam Coonrod and Pomeranz seamlessly slid in. Zaidi felt he could build for the future -- amassing prospects -- while also still having a good bullpen.
There was no way to do that by trading Bumgarner, and the lack of a move there allows this team to keep pushing for a wild-card spot. The Giants entered the deadline just 2.5 games back.
"It's confidence shown in us," Bochy said. "We had some depth in the bullpen so that allowed him to make some really nice deals for the big picture. It really probably worked out well for everybody."
That confidence was felt in the clubhouse. It was somber at points, particularly when Dyson was dealt, but overall there were plenty of happy hugs. Zaidi said he never worried much about what the reaction would be, noting that the front office wants to win, too.
For two months that seemed impossible. But Zaidi kept tweaking and this team took off in late June, getting fully back into the race by winning 17 of 20 in July. Zaidi said that changed his final equation.
"It matters a lot," he said. "It changed the dynamic a little bit."
MLB trade deadline: Farhan Zaidi gives Giants chance for playoff run originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area