It has been a tough year for the San Francisco Giants as they try to defend their World Series championship from 10 months ago.
After being in first place in the NL West for the majority of May, the wheels have fallen off in San Francisco. The Giants are currently eight games under .500 and 6.5 games behind the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks.
Whether or not the Giants can get back into the race is a whole other story, but things look promising. Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence hit the ball hard all series against the San Diego Padres right before the All-Star break, and Tim Lincecum strung together six promising starts over his previous seven outings.
However, regardless of how 2013 shapes up, the Giants shouldn't trade away what brought them two World Series in the past three years. I'm not saying they should be hoarders and hold onto everyone for sentimental reasons, but this team—on paper, at least—is built to contend for championships on a yearly basis for the foreseeable future.
Buster Posey, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Pablo Sandoval (skinny version) Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford form a core of young talent that rivals any in the major leagues.
As far as Lincecum and Hunter Pence are concerned, both are free agents at the end of the season, so would the Giants be able to get equal value in return for either? It is unlikely because teams are looking at Lincecum as a potential reliever instead of a starter, even though he looks like he's finally figuring out how to pitch in the low-90s.
Pence has also made it clear he'd like to return to San Francisco, and right fielders like Pence are hard to come by.
If the right deal happens to find its way to general manager Brian Sabean, then any player outside of Posey and Bumgarner should become available. It's just too early to blow up this Giants' team.