MLB Trade Rumors: Could the Giants Be Eyeing a Third Baseman?

Josh LanterContributor IJuly 20, 2012

Panda possibly moving to 1st?
Panda possibly moving to 1st?Tony Medina/Getty Images

It is now getting close to the non-waiver trade deadline and the rumors have been off the charts for weeks now. Trade rumors will be non-stop through the next 11 days, while trades are being discussed and eventually executed, and the Giants are one of the teams that have been involved in the rumors flying around lately.

Ever since the Barry Bonds era, Giants fans have been frustrated with the lack off offensive firepower that has been in the lineup. This year is no different. They are batting an abysmal .229 with RISP and sit in dead last in the Majors with RISP with two outs, sitting at .185.

These stats are pathetic. It seems like every time I am watching a game, there are multiple situations where there is a runner on second or third with less than two outs and they end up getting stranded. Most of the time, all they need is to put the ball in play in order to get the run and fail to do that.

It can be extremely frustrating, but at the same time it is hard to complain when they are sitting at the top of the division with a 51-41 record. Their pitching, although not stellar away from AT&T Park, has carried them into this record and will continue to do so, especially if Timmy can get everything straightened out.

Still, leading up to the trade deadline, fans across the nation are keeping their fingers crossed that Brian Sabean makes a splash before the July 31st deadline.

Giants vice president said last week (from the Giants' official website), "I don't think we're going to take the place of somebody in our everyday lineup."

And it is highly unlikely that they will pull a move like they did last year with the Zach Wheeler for Carlos Beltran trade.

But things have been heating up on the rumor mill lately.

In the eighth inning of last night’s 3-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves last night, Bruce Bochy decided to put Pablo Sandoval at first for the first time all season. Bochy even said that they “will discuss the idea of playing Sandoval at first base more often.”

Giants insider Andrew Baggarly raised a very interesting question, “it might open another avenue for GM Brian Sabean to bolster the lineup. If he can’t acquire a first baseman ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, what about a third baseman?”

This opens all new possibilities for Sabean. With Belt’s recent lack of productivity, putting Pablo at first could be a very wise decision for Bochy and that way Sabean can go out possibly try to acquire a third basemen.

Now with that said, who is on the market in terms of third basemen’s?

Baggarly says that Giants GM Brian Sabean "is known to value an experienced player such as the PhilliesPlacido Polanco" and the club could go big and make a move for someone like Hanley Ramirez, though Baggarly considers a Ramirez deal to be "highly unlikely."

Both moves are highly unlikely like Baggarly said, but they would make a lot of sense for the Giants.

Polanco is a typical pickup for Sabean. He loves old veterans that still have the possibility to produce.

He is having one of his worse years by far in the majors as he continues to age hitting .256 14 doubles 19 RBI and an OBP of .300. Although all his numbers have been down this season, you cannot count him out.

He is a career .299 hitter and makes a lot of contact, which the Giants seem to lack with RISP this year. They strike out a lot with runners in scoring position when all they need is to make contact. He would be able to help the lineup in that regard right away and even possibility get back to the .300 hitter he can be with a change of venue.

He is also a vacuum cleaner at the hot corner with three Gold Gloves.  He has only made two errors this year opposed to Pablo’s nine. That is definitely an upgrade.

He is a very experienced player when is comes to the playoffs. He has been in the league for 15 years and has been in the playoffs five times and has a World Series appearance with Detroit in 2006. He would be able to use his veteran experience down the stretch to help get into the postseason.

Being that he has not had such a great year, he could be able to obtain cheaply for Sabean. Nate Schierholtz, who has recently said he is open to being traded, could be a chip to trade to the Phillies. He could be able to go and take over left field and use his power to hit shots over the small right field porch of Citizens Bank Park.

Then there is the riskier and more expensive long-term option. Hanley Ramirez.

Hanley has not had the best of seasons this year or last year, like we’ve seen in years past where he easily hit over .300 and 20 home runs, high of 33, but that does not mean things can’t turn around. He was hurt much of last year playing in only 92 games and this year, he was upset about the change in position when the Miami Marlins acquired Jose Reyes this past offseason. And that could have affected his play.

Currently he is hitting .246 14 HRs 47 RBI and a .322 OBP. He would come into the Giants lineup with the team lead in home runs and third on the team in RBI. He is the type of right-handed power that they Giants need in their lineup. Right-handers are hitting home runs once every 48.4 at bats compared to the one out of every 65.9 at bats. He will add some much needed power to AT&T.

Plus he is only 28 years old and is just entering his prime years. The Giants could lock him up for a while if they were able to acquire him.

The Marlins have said they are not looking to trade Ramirez at the moment. They wanted to see how they did at the end of the road trip they are on before the figure out whether or not they will be buyers or sellers at the deadline.

One encouraging aspect for Giants fans is that there was speculation that the Giants might trade for him before the season started when he was not happy being in Florida. He could be a perfect fit at third base as Panda moves to first, or he could replace Crawford at shortstop and go back to the position that he loves.

Both trade scenarios are unlikely, but they would make a lot of sense for the Giants to not only bolster the offense as a whole, but also start producing out of first base with Pablo moving there.

These will be interesting next couple weeks up to the trade deadline. Hopefully Sabean goes after one of these players if not another third baseman on the block.