With essentially the same roster back from the team that won it all in 2012, the San Francisco Giants entered the season expected to once again contend for a title, but they have stumbled to a 38-38 start and currently sit in fourth place in the NL West.
They were 28-22 and tied for the division lead back on May 26, but since then they've endured a 10-16 stretch, including winning just three of seven in their past 10 games.
They'll likely need to make some moves if they hope to climb back into things, and here are a few that could help right the ship.
Call Up Gary Brown to Replace Angel Pagan
The Giants were dealt a blow when it was revealed that center fielder Angel Pagan would need surgery to repair a torn hamstring. According to CBS Sports, he'll likely be shelved for 12 weeks, leaving the team without its leadoff hitter until perhaps the final weeks of the season.
For the time being, Gregor Blanco and Andres Torres will both be in the starting lineup after platooning in left field to start the season.
While Blanco is having a terrific season, hitting both left-handers and right-handers well, Torres is batting just .218 in 87 at-bats against right-handed pitching, and he may not be suited for an everyday role at this point.
On the bench is 26-year-old rookie Juan Perez, who was ranked as the team's No. 22 prospect according to the Baseball America Prospect Handbook. He's gone 9-for-30 in limited action but could see some time.
As far as providing a legitimate spark, though, the best move may be to call up No. 4 prospect Gary Brown and see if he can continue what has been a hot streak at Triple-A Fresno in the majors.
The 24-year-old is hitting just .241/.304/.418 on the season but has hit .325/.386/.700 with four home runs and 11 RBI in his last 10 games.
He's got some pop with 21 doubles and 10 home runs and has also swiped 10 bases. While the team likely wouldn't slot him in the leadoff spot right away, he has the tools to emerge as the type of table-setter that Pagan was.
Trade for Ricky Nolasco
It's fair to say that starting pitching has been the biggest reason for the Giants World Series runs, but it simply hasn't been there so far this season.
Madison Bumgarner (7-5, 3.20 ERA) has pitched well, but the trio of Matt Cain (5-4, 4.54 ERA), Barry Zito (4-5, 4.40 ERA) and Tim Lincecum (4-7, 4.52 ERA) have been below average.
Add the fact that Ryan Vogelsong, who struggled to a 7.19 ERA through his first nine starts, remains on the DL, and it's clear that the Giants need to address the rotation at the deadline.
Michael Kickham made his second start of the season Tuesday night after allowing four hits and four earned runs in 2.1 innings of work last time out.
He was 3-5 with a 4.81 ERA in 14 starts at Triple-A before being called up, so he's nothing more than a band-aid at this point and likely won't be the answer to the team's long-term problems.
A handful of veteran starters will likely be available at the deadline, but right now Ricky Nolasco looks to be the most attractive and readily available arm on the market.
The Marlins have been aggressively working to move Ricky Nolasco, ASAP.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 25, 2013
The 30-year-old is just 4-7 pitching for a poor Marlins team, but he has a 3.68 ERA and 1.196 WHIP over his first 16 starts. And while he's not a staff ace, he could bring a stabilizing presence to the middle of the Giants' rotation.
He doesn't quite have the high-impact upside that Anibal Sanchez did when the Marlins traded him to Detroit last season, so he should come a bit cheaper, and a couple decent prospects may be enough for the Giants to land Nolasco.
Take a Flier on Freddy Garcia
While the team waits for the deadline dealings to shake out, GM Brian Sabean could consider a stopgap solution by signing Freddy Garcia.
Even if he accepts the assignment, it's safe to assume that the Orioles would grant him his release if he were given a big-league opportunity somewhere else.
The 36-year-old was 3-5 with a 5.77 ERA through 11 games (10 starts) with Baltimore this season, and those numbers were a bit more respectable before he was shelled for seven runs in 2.1 innings his last time out.
He's nothing more than a No. 5 starter, but if Kickham struggles, he could be a useful arm even if it's only for a couple starts until the team acquires someone better.