MLB Trade Rumors: Updated Trade Targets for the San Francisco Giants

Baily Deeter@@deetersportsSenior Writer IIIJuly 9, 2012

MLB Trade Rumors: Updated Trade Targets for the San Francisco Giants

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    The trade deadline is rolling around, and just like 29 other teams, the San Francisco Giants are trying to improve.

    San Francisco is right in the thick of the NL West race, and they have been getting good efforts from most players. However, they could definitely improve.

    Two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum is 3-10 with a league-worst 6.42 ERA (out of qualifying starters). Barry Zito is 7-6 with a 4.01 ERA, but the Giants could certainly get a better pitcher.

    Oh, and Brandon Crawford and Ryan Theriot aren't great.

    Here are four realistic trade targets for the Giants.

Ryan Dempster, Starting Pitcher, Chicago Cubs

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    Who thought the Giants would have to upgrade their pitching staff?

    Tim Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young award winner, has the worst ERA among 101 qualifying starters. Barry Zito has pitched well but has been very inconsistent, and he isn't a guy San Francisco would want in their playoff rotation.

    However, Ryan Dempster is a guy the Giants would want pitching in the postseason.

    Dempster is very consistent, as you can see from his stats. He is only 4-3, but he has an amazing 1.99 ERA. Opponents have a .204 batting average against him, and he has a phenomenal 1.01 WHIP. 

    If Lincecum continues to struggle, Dempster could be a good guy to replace him. He would definitely be valuable in the playoffs. Dempster is a lock to throw the ball well every time he pitches, as he hasn't allowed a run in his last 27.1 innings pitched.

    Chicago is looking for prospects, and even though the Giants don't have a great farm system, they could certainly work out a deal. They have Chris Stratton, Heath Hembree, Brett Bochy and some other good pitching prospects, and they have Gary Brown tearing it up in the outfield. 

Huston Street, Closer, San Diego Padres

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    At the start of the year, no one thought the Giants would need a closer.

    Brian Wilson had been doing a good job closing, but then he went down with an elbow injury. Santiago Casilla was doing a good job, but recently, he has been terrible. In high-pressure situations, Casilla is terrible. Casilla has blown four saves and has a 2.84 ERA, which isn't great for a closer. Therefore, the Giants need a closer.

    Huston Street is 13-for-13 on save opportunities this year, and he has a 1.13 ERA. Even though Street has been great, the Padres have struggled. If the Giants were willing to give up prospects, the Padres would probably be willing to give up their closer.

    Street is the definition of a shutdown closer. This year, he has an outstanding 0.75 WHIP, and he has 32 strikeouts in just 24 innings. He is the guy the Giants need; he has the ability to miss bats and the experience to close in the postseason.

    Again, the Giants don't have a great farm system. However, if they traded for just Street, they should be able to find two or three prospects to trade and work out a deal with the Padres.

Jed Lowrie, Shortstop, Houston Astros

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    Just like Dempster and Street, Lowrie is a great player on a terrible team.

    Lowrie hasn't been extraordinary, as he only has a .254 batting average. However, he has power and can drive in runs, as you can tell from his 14 homers and 36 RBI. Oh, and his .975 fielding percentage isn't too bad.

    Houston's shortstop could definitely help the Giants. He is an upgrade over Brandon Crawford, who has a .240 batting average, one home run, 21 RBI and a .965 fielding percentage. Crawford hits well with RISP, but recently, he has been struggling in that category. Lowrie would undoubtedly help the Giants there.

    San Francisco gets guys on base, but they strand too many runners. Lowrie has 36 RBI and would definitely help the Giants drive runs in. If no one was on base, he could do it for Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey, who could drive him in. Lowrie has a .343 on-base percentage and has been walked 38 times.

    Ryan Theriot and Gregor Blanco are currently in the top of the lineup for the Giants, but Lowrie would certainly be an upgrade over both. Lowrie has a better on-base percentage than both of them, and he has hit ten more homers than Blanco and 14 more than Theriot.

    Brandon Crawford hasn't been terrible for the Giants, but they could surely use an upgrade at shortstop. If the Giants traded a few prospects, they could definitely score Lowrie.

Jose Altuve, Second Baseman, Houston Astros

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    Just like Lowrie, Altuve is a great player on the Astros, a struggling team. And just like Lowrie, Altuve could be traded.

    While it isn't likely, it could happen if the Giants give away a lot of prospects. The All-Star is hitting .303 with five homers and 27 RBI, and he would definitely be an upgrade over Ryan Theriot. 

    Melky Cabrera is on fire and Buster Posey is hitting very well, and if Altuve got on base at the top of the order, they could drive him in. Cabrera is hitting .353, and Posey is hitting .289. If you add Gregor Blanco or Justin Christian to the top of the lineup, the Giants would have a very dangerous offense.

    And they wouldn't strand as many runners.

    The Giants would have to give away a few prospects, and they would probably have to part ways with Gary Brown, the star outfielder who is lighting it up in Double-A. They may also have to give away a top pitching prospect, as the Astros are very attached to Altuve and probably won't trade him.

    Even if the Giants traded a lot of prospects, they would still get a great player. Altuve is young and would be a Giant for a while, and if the Giants kept Cabrera, he, Cabrera and Posey would wreak havoc on opposing pitchers. 

    Again, it will take a lot to get Altuve. However, Theriot isn't a great second baseman, and if the Giants really wanted to upgrade their offense, they need to trade for a middle infielder. If they wanted to take the next step to contending for a championship, they need to work out a deal with the Astros.