San Fransisco Giants: 1 Player from Each MLB Team the Giants Should Trade for
The San Francisco Giants have played enough games this year to determine which positions they need to address before the trade deadline on July 31.
Second base remains a priority, as it's unrealistic to rely on Freddy Sanchez returning to the lineup and staying healthy for the remainder of the year.
Sanchez had another setback on May 14 during his rehab down in the minor leagues. It was not the first time that he tweaked something during his recovery.
Pitchers are also a need, as the losses of Brian Wilson and Ramon Ramirez have made the Giants bullpen less fearsome and efficient in comparison with the last two seasons. Look for the Giants to inquire on some hard-throwing right-handed relievers before the deadline.
Right field is also a need for the Giants. Nate Schierholtz seems to be in Bruce Bochy's doghouse, and Gergor Blaco's average has been falling ever since he sneaked into the starting lineup.
Now knowing the Giants' needs going into the deadline, here's one player from every team the Giants should explore trading for.
Important: The Giants Aren't Going to Trade for Any Big Bats
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It's as simple as that.
This article will not list every team's best player and say the Giants will trade for him.
The hard truth is that the Giants' farm system has been depleted. Management has either traded all of its top prospects away, or they have already been promoted to the Major Leagues (Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Brandon Belt and Hector Sanchez).
The lone gem that remains with the Giants organization is Gary Brown, and he is the definition of an untouchable prospect. Unless the Texas Rangers come waving Josh Hamilton in Brain Sabean's face, Brown won't be going anywhere.
And, as you can see here, Gary Brown is the only prospect in the Top 100, according to BaseballAmerica.
So who are some prospects who the Giants could deal for established major league talent?
Brandon Belt is atop the list, even though his trade stock has plummeted since he ranked in the minors in 2010.
Sabean's top two trade chips will likely be Tommy Joseph and Andrew Susac. Buster Posey and Sanchez are already doing a fine job in the Major Leagues.
You can take a look at the Giants' Top 10 prospects here.
As much as you might want the Giants to trade for the biggest slugger on the market—much like 2011 when they traded for Carlos Beltran—it simply won't happen this year.
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Why would the Arizona Diamondbacks agree to become trade partners with the San Francisco Giants—a team they are currently chasing in the standings?
The last time the two teams traded was 2005, when the Diamondbacks sent Matt Herges to the Giants in return for Doug DeVore. Seven years before that, the Diamondbacks sent Felix Rodriguez to the Giants in exchange for a couple of players to be named later (Troy Brohawn and Chris Van Rossum).
If that trend continues, it has now been seven years since the Giants and Diamondbacks have traded a reliever to the Giants.
Brad Ziegler would be a nice addition, but don't count on the Diamondbacks surrendering anyone from their bullpen. They made it a priority to assemble an effective bullpen last year.
If they aren't willing to trade for Ziegler, the Giants might as well kick the tires on Justin Upton.
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Eric O'Flaherty very quietly had a fantastic 2011 campaign. He was overshadowed by All-Stars Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters, and rightly so.
However, O'Flaherty posted a an ERA of 0.98 over 73.2 innings of work in 2011.
That's pretty darn impressive.
In 2010, his ERA was still a respectable 2.45.
This year, however, his ERA has inflated to 4.41. This is why the Giants should try to buy low and bolster their bullpen with a very quality arm.
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Generally, we can count on the Baltimore Orioles being sellers at the trade deadline, but it might be a different story this year.
They currently sit atop the AL East with a record of 28-17 and have the second-best overall record next to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The burning question will be if the Orioles can keep it up.
If the Orioles happen to be sellers at the deadline, one player the San Francisco Giants should inquire about is Nick Markakis.
The 28-year-old left fielder isn't the right-handed slugger that this lineup needs, but he's another quality bat that would fit perfectly in the fifth spot.
Boston Red Sox
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I would be hesitant if the San Francisco Giants made a deal for Kevin Youkilis but, the more I think about it, the more sense it makes.
First of all, the Giants would move him to first base and finally see some offensive production at first base. This would also allow the Giants keep Pablo Sandoval at third base, which is his natural position.
Second of all, he would be the right-handed bat that the Giants need in the lineup along with Buster Posey.
As reported by Buster Olney, the Red Sox are shopping Youkilis with the emergence of Will Middlebrooks.
I strongly doubt that the Giants would make an attempt at dealing for Youkilis because the Giants simply don't have the prospects. But, Youkilis has a club option for 2013, so he'd also be more than a one-year rental.
Chicago White Sox
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Despite his struggles at the plate and in the field, the San Francisco Giants are likely going to stick with Brandon Crawford at shortstop.
He's a young player who has some potential, whether you believe it or not. Mike Krukow, one of the television broadcasters for CSN Bay Area, has said multiple times that he believes Crawford can be a .270 hitter in the future because of his level swing and disciplined approach at the plate.
However, if the Chicago White Sox are willing to part with Alexei Ramirez at the deadline, the Giants need to pull the trigger.
We are currently in an age when star talent at the shortstop position has run dry. Outside of Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Reyes, there are no legitimate stars at the position.
However, I would consider Ramirez to be in the second echelon of shortstops. This makes him a very valuable player.
He's one of the few shortstops who has some pop and can field his position. In fact, Ramriez, Tulowitzki and Jhonny Peralta are the only shortstops in the league to have double-digit home run totals in the last four seasons.
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The Chicago Cubs currently hold the worst record in baseball. If there's one thing I know for sure, it's that they'll gladly designate themselves as sellers during the trade deadline.
However, the problem is that there aren't many attractive trade pieces on their roster that contending teams will be looking for. Outside Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster, the rest of the players are either untouchable or unappealing.
If the Cubs were willing to field offers for James Russell, however, he'd be a nice addition to the bullpen. The 26-year-old left-handed reliever currently has a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings pitched this year.
On a side note, that picture looks exactly like Brandon Crawford in a Cubs jersey, doesn't it?
But I digress.
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The Cincinnati Reds have solidified their bullpen after acquiring Ryan Madison and Sean Marshall during the offseason.
Combine them with the fireballer Aroldis Chapman, Jose Arredondo, Alfredo Simon and Logan Ondrusek, and it's enough to give the Reds the fifth-best bullpen in terms of ERA.
One player in particular that the San Francisco Giants might be interested in is Ondrusek.
He's a right-handed reliever with an ERA of 2.89. He can throw four pitches—fastball, cutter, curveball and a splitter.
His fast fastball travels between the mid-to-low 90s, which is what the Giants are looking for in the middle reliever. He would fit perfectly in the seventh-inning role that Santiago Casilla had before he was anointed closing duties.
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The Cleveland Indians might not be willing to part with Shin-Soo Choo, but he would be the ideal fit to patrol the spacious grounds of right field in AT&T Park and bat sixth in the lineup.
He's one of the more underrated players in the game, considering his skill set. He's a five-tool player who has the uncanny ability to get on base.
His 2010 season, when be batted .300, hit 22 home runs, drove in 90 runs and had an OBP of .409, is an example of what he's truly capable of.
However, if Cleveland believes they can hold onto first place in the AL Central, then Choo isn't going anywhere. I hope Brain Sabean at least makes a phone call, because Choo would be an excellent addition to the San Francisco Giants ballclub.
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The last time the Colorado Rockies made a trade with the San Francisco Giants was in 1998 when they sent Ellis Burks to the Bay Area in return for a few players (Darryl Hamilton, Jim Stoops and Jason Brester).
The trade ended up being a complete steal for the Giants, which could be why the two division rivals haven't made a deal since.
However, if the Rockies were somehow willing to retire their mascot, Dinger the Purple Dinosaur, in return for a player, I'd be willing to ship off Emmanuel Burris to Colorado and even pay his contract.
A kid can dream, right?
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The Detroit Tigers currently sit in third place in the AL Central and four games below .500, but don't expect them to be sellers at the deadline.
When you have Justin Verlander, Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera on your team, you're always going to be in contention for the playoffs.
The Tigers will unlikely be looking to deal any of their relievers since their bullpen is already thin.
Brennan Boesch would be an interesting fit in right field, and I know the Giants were impressed when they saw him play in 2010 when the team traveled to Detroit. He went 5-for-9 with two home runs and a couple of nice catches in the outfield.
He also hit 16 home runs in 2011, so he does have some pop.
I don't think he'd be much of an improvement over Nate Schierholtz, however, so this trade wouldn't make the Giants an offensive juggernaut. If Gregor Blanco continues to get on base at a high rate, then there will be no reason for this trade to be made.
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Last year when the San Francisco Giants traded with the Houston Astros for a utility infielder, it worked out pretty well.
Jeff Keppinger was a solid pickup at the deadline last year, even though the Giants decided to let him walk at the end of the season.
This time around, the Giants could be interested in adding Jed Lowrie, who has the capability to play either second base or shortstop—both are needs for the Giants.
He's a local boy—went to Stanford University—and is currently hitting .279 with seven home runs and 18 RBI.
Lowrie wouldn't put the Giants over the top offensively, but he'd certainly add some depth at the middle infield position.
Kansas City Royals
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Don't expect the Kansas City Royals to be willing to make a trade with Brain Sabean anytime soon. They're still trying to get over the Melky Cabrera-Jonathan Sanchez deal that went down during the offseason.
Cabrera is currently leading the majors with hits (67), while Sanchez is currently getting hit hard in the AL with a 6.75 ERA. Talk about a steal for the Giants.
That said, it's unlikely that the Royals will be willing to part with any of their young talent, especially in the bullpen. They have quality arms like Aaron Crow, Nate Adcock, Jose Mijares, Louis Coleman and Tim Collins, all of which are under 20 years old.
If the Giants wanted to shore up their bullpen, Crow would be the guy. He currently has a 3.10 ERA, but he had an All-Star season in 2011 when he posted a 2.79 ERA.
It's an unlikely, but ideal trade idea for the Giants.
Los Angeles Angels
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Alberto Callaspo is a player who I could see the San Francisco Giants acquiring.
He has found his way into the Los Angeles Angels starting lineup at third base. However, he can play all over the infield, even a little outfield, and that's exactly what Bruce Bochy likes his players to be capable of doing.
He is currently struggling at the plate this year, as his .231 average isn't anything to write home about. He is a career .279 hitter, however, and his BABIP this season is a lowly .282.
He would instantly be an upgrade at anyone the Giants currently have at second base, and he wouldn't cost them much either.
Los Angeles Dodgers
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I'm going to be frank with you here, folks.
There is no way that the Los Angeles Dodgers will make any sort of deal with their rivals, the San Francisco Giants, before the trade deadline.
That said, there's no harm in asking Ned Colletti, the general manager of the Dodgers, about Matt Kemp. Colletti did used to work under Brain Sabean when he was apart of the San Francisco Giants organization, so maybe he owes him one.
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Honestly, what would be your first impression if you found out that the San Francisco Giants traded for Scott Cousins?
Yes, that Scott Cousins.
It would never happen, but it's interesting to think about the commotion that it would stir up.
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Mychael Urban of 95.7 "The Game" proposed a deal that involved the San Francisco Giants trading Brandon Belt to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Rickie Weeks.
For those who don't know who Weeks is and looked up his stats only to find a batting average of .155 and 58 strikeouts, hear me out.
Weeks, when he's playing up to his potential, is a top five second baseman in the league. He hits for a tremendous amount of power, as evident by his back-to-back seasons with 20 or more home runs in 2010 and 2011.
As you know, the Giants need a second baseman—preferably with some power. Coincidentally, the Brewers need a first baseman with power after the departure of Prince Fielder.
Trading Belt might cause an uproar in the city by the bay. But if the Brewers are willing to part with Weeks, Brain Sabean has to pull the trigger.
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The Minnesota Twins will all but certainly be sellers at the trade deadline. They have some attractive pieces in their bullpen, so don't be surprised to see the San Francisco Giants pick one of them up in order to reinforce their own pen.
One name in particular that sticks out to me is Matt Capps. He is currently the closer for the Twins and has accumulated nine saves for a team that only has 15 wins.
He's a right-handed reliever with a fastball that travels in the mid-to-low 90s, which is exactly the type of reliever the Giants need.
New York Mets
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During the offseason, the San Francisco Giants traded Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez to the New York Mets in exchange for Angel Pagan.
I'd say the Giants got the better end of that deal, as both Torres and Ramirez aren't playing too well this season.
This year, however, the Giants might have their sights set on a reliever—specifically Bobby Parnell. The right-hander currently has an ERA of 2.75 in 19.2 innings of work.
His fastball also travels in the mid-to-high 90s, which should have the Giants very interested. The Giants bullpen currently lacks a middle reliever who can throw heat after Santiago Casilla became the closer.
Parnell would be that guy.
New York Yankees
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Hypothetically, should the San Francisco Giants trade Tim Lincecum for Robinson Cano?
As absurd as the deal sounds, it would give each team what they desperately need.
First of all, everyone besides Freddy Garcia, Andy Pettitte and David Phelps knows that the Yankees are in desperate need of starting pitching.
Trading for Lincecum, despite the slump he's going through right now, would give the Yankees another ace. With the lineup they're sending out there everyday, they can afford to lose Cano's bat.
The Giants, on the other hand, are in desperate need of a second baseman. Not only would Cano fill that void, but he'd also be the best middle infielder the Giants have had since Jeff Kent.
I'd say that there's about a 0.000001 percent chance this trade goes down, but it does make sense.
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One player that I have a feeling the San Francisco Giants are very interested in is Grant Balfour.
Yes, get the laughs out now. His last name sounds like "ball four," which isn't the best name for a pitcher to have.
But on a serious note, Balfour is a quality reliever, despite his current ERA of 4.09.
He's reminds me a lot of Ramon Ramirez—a right-handed reliever with a slider and a fastball that travels in the low 90s.
In fact, Ramirez had a 4.46 ERA before he came over to the Giants in 2010. After that, he gave up two earned runs in 27 innings of work.
Don't be surprised to see the Giants pull the trigger on Balfour.
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Whether or not it will affect potential trade talks between the two clubs is indeterminable.
However, what is certain is that these two teams will likely be battling for the one of the wild- card spots in the NL. If anything, that would influence whether or not the Giants and Phillies engage in trade talks.
One player the Giants might be interested in is Chad Qualls, but he wouldn't be the improvement that the Giants are seeking.
I don't see the Phillies being trade partners with the Giants this year, or anytime soon.
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I don't think there has been a team that has had so much "ownage" over another team when it comes to trades.
In 2001, the Giants traded Ryan Vogelsong—who was a bust at the time—and Armando Rios for Jason Schmidt and John Vander Wal.
In 2007, the Giants got the Pirates to eat the rest of Matt Morris' expensive contract, and they also got player by the name of Raji Davis in return.
In 2009, the Giants traded Tim Alderson—a former first round pick, who hasn't even sniffed the major leagues yet—for Freddy Sanchez.
And in 2010, the Giants traded John Bowker and Joe Martinez for Javier Lopez.
I'd say the Giants came out the winners in every single one of those trades, and by a large margin.
Who are the Giants going to rob from the Pirates this time around?
Brian Sabean surely has his sights set on Neil Walker, but I doubt that the Pirates will be willing to part with their 26-year-old second baseman.
However, I wouldn't put it past Brian Sabean to work his magic and rip the Pirates off yet again.
San Diego Padres
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One player who I thought the San Francisco Giants were going to target was Orlando Hudson, but the San Diego Padres made it easy for the Giants by releasing him.
However, the Chicago White Sox snagged him before the Giants could.
So with "O Dog" now off the table, there aren't many players on the Padres roster that the Giants would be interested in and the Padres would be willing to trade.
Luke Gregerson is an interesting option. He's a right-handed reliever with an ERA of 2.79. But then again, it's unlikely that the Padres will trade within their own division.
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The Seattle Mariners simply don't have a ton of talent on their roster to choose from, especially on offense. Ichiro Suzuki, Jesus Montero, Kyle Seager and Dustin Ackley are their best offensive players, and all of them are untouchable.
One name that caught my eye, however, was a right-handed reliever by the name of Tom Wilhelmsen. He's a hard-throwing righty whose fastball travels in the mid-to-high 90s.
He's only pitched in the major leagues for two seasons—he failed two drug tests for testing positive for marijuana.
St. Louis Cardinals
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Skip Schumaker and Tyler Greene are currently splitting time at second base for the St. Louis Cardinals, so they could potentially afford to let one of them go.
Schumaker is the better defender and can hit for a higher average, while Greene has more pop due to his four home runs.
Schumaker would certainly be an upgrade over who the Giants are circulating between at second base, and his defensive abilities are something that they are undoubtedly looking for.
Sticking with Emmanuel Burris and Ryan Theriot until Freddy Sanchez comes back might be what the Giants end up doing, however.
If nothing else, Brian Sabean could always pull the trigger for Carlos Beltran again.
I'm only kidding.
Tampa Bay Rays
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Ben Zobrist hasn't been tearing the ball off of the cover this year like he's capable of.
He's currently batting .217 in 152 at-bats, but does have six home runs and 17 RBIs. He also has an OBP of .355, which is extremely high considering his batting average.
Once Desmond Jennings comes back from injury for the Tampa Bay Rays, Zobrist will likely move back to second base. The Rays might not be looking to trade him.
He is, however, another switch hitter that the Giants could stick in the middle of their lineup. The Rays are currently in the think of things in the AL East, so they probably won't be looking to be sellers during the trade deadline.
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The Texas Rangers will be looking to add to their already solid roster rather than subtracting from it. They did an excellent job constructing a stable bullpen over the years, so it's unlikely that they'll part with any of their relievers.
The starting rotation has also been solidified, so there isn't much that the Rangers will need to address this coming deadline.
As far as players the San Francisco Giants should target, I don't see any realistic options.
David Murphy is practically an identical player to Nate Schiertoltz, so there's no point in trading for him.
Mitch Moreland would be an intriguing acquisition. Michael Young would be able to step in at first base to fill the hole that Moreland left.
When it's all said and done, I don't see the San Francisco Giants making a deal with the Rangers.
Toronto Blue Jays
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One thing that has always turned me off about Kelly Johnson was his high strikeout rate.
He whiffed 148 times at the plate in 2010, and 163 times in 2011. He does have a tremendous amount of power for a second baseman, however, which should grab the San Francisco Giants' attention.
He is also getting on base frequently—his .352 OBP is more than 100 points higher than his batting average of .250.
I'm sure the Giants would be willing to accept the strikeouts as long as he continues to hit home runs and drive in runs, which is exactly what he's done throughout his career.
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The Washington Nationals already have a solid bullpen. It will get even stronger once Drew Storen, Brad Lidge and Ryan Mattheus return from injury.
As reported by Adam Kilgore, Lidge could return to the majors by June 12, while Storen likely won't be back until around the All-Star break.
At the moment, Tyler Clippard, Sean Burnett, Henry Rodriguez and Craig Stammen are holding down the fort in the bullpen. But once the pen is completely healthy, one of the relievers outside of Storen and Clippard could be available via trade.
Stammen, who has thrown quite well this season, could be a possibility for the San Francisco Giants. The right-hander currently has a 1.44 ERA over 25 innings of work.
If the Nationals are reluctant to give him up, then Rodriguez could be another option.