The San Francisco Giants remain in limbo between becoming a buyer or seller before the trade deadline.
They have not demonstrated typical seller behavior. Otherwise, Giants general manager Brian Sabean would have shipped off right fielder Hunter Pence along with right-handed hurler Tim Lincecum.
The rumor mill placed these two San Francisco stars at the top of the possible unload list for the struggling former World Series champions. The team has expressed a willingness to at least entertain and listen to potential offers.
Recently, the Cincinnati Reds inquired about acquiring Pence:
#reds have inquired on hunter pence. seek a righty hitter. doesnt look like a match so far.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 29, 2013
Still, a deal is highly unlikely, considering the asking price is extremely high. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports:
One reason the ask is high on both players, sources say, is that the Giants plan to make a qualifying offer to both after the year, which would bring them a coveted draft choice assuming neither player takes the offer. The qualifying offer is expected to be slightly higher than the $13.3 million it was last year.
Meanwhile, left-handed reliever Javier Lopez will most likely be traded by the deadline, as reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post. He writes: "The Giants will definitely move lefty reliever Javier Lopez, and the Indians have shown interest."
The Giants' overall lack of a seller mentality is a rational choice. While the team is currently well under .500 with little hope of reaching the playoffs, this was the same team that won a World Series just last year. Chris Haft via MLB.com says:
The reigning World Series champions approach the end of July well under .500, leaving them short of respectability and steadily further from contention in the National League West. Until recently, trying to acquire an elite pitcher or proven hitter appeared to be an option for the Giants. Now, after a disastrous 3-7 homestand, making such a deal probably would be a fruitless effort, not to mention a waste of the personnel the Giants would have to surrender. Since depth of talent has become an issue for the Giants, parting with decent prospects probably would be an unwise move for the organization in the long run.
Giants fans attached to Pence and Lincecum can rest easy. Barring extraordinary circumstance, San Francisco will hold on to these valuable veterans.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Giants are not among the league's top buyers in 2013. While many had high hopes Sabean would dig deep for bigger-name pitchers on the trade block, such as Matt Garza, Bud Norris and Jake Peavy, the GM instead opted to acquire pitcher Guillermo Moscoso from the Chicago Cubs.
Moscoso was brought in for temporary depth at the back-end of the rotation, but he is hardly a blockbuster trade target. The Giants are effectively putting a Band-Aid on a broken bone.
Look for the Giants to remain dormant as the trade deadline passes.
2013 might just be a transition year for the club, as prospects continue to develop and veterans work through injuries and kinks in their game.