ARLINGTON -- Rebuffed in their efforts to add a premier starter to their pitching rotation, the Giants apparently scaled back their expectations, yet they continued their search on Thursday, one day before the non-waiver Trade Deadline at 1 p.m. PT on Friday.
Eyewitnesses at Globe Life Park said that a Giants scout was present to watch Yovani Gallardo pitch for the Texas Rangers against the New York Yankees on Thursday night. San Francisco begins a three-game series against the Rangers on Friday. Gallardo, 29, posted a 72-48 record for Milwaukee from 2009-13. He has dipped to 15-20 since the start of 2014, but he entered Thursday with a 3.19 ERA in 21 starts for Texas.
The Giants also are believed to have renewed interest in Cincinnati Reds right-hander Mike Leake, 27. Some observers believe that Leake, 9-5 with a 3.56 ERA, isn't a significant upgrade over most of San Francisco's current starters, such as Matt Cain, Tim Hudson and Jake Peavy. However, Leake has won his past four starts, working eight innings in three of them and recording an 0.60 ERA in that span.
The Giants would risk saying farewell to either Gallardo and Leake after only a few months. Both are eligible for free agency after this season. Yet that probably would spare the team from relinquishing its top Minor League prospects in a trade for either pitcher, since Gallardo and Leake are "rentals" who wouldn't be guaranteed to stick around.
The Giants could deal one of their attractive pitching prospects, but they're currently performing in the lower Minors. The reigning World Series champions' lack of Major League-ready prospects was believed to have scuttled their efforts to obtain Cole Hamels, who went from Philadelphia to Texas, and David Price, who was shipped from Detroit to Toronto.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.