The San Francisco Giants have three impending free agents in particular who could work to their advantage in the trade market as the non-waiver MLB deadline approaches. In spite of that, though, it appears the defending World Series champions could stand completely pat.
Stud setup man Javier Lopez has the best chance of getting moved. Negotiations are still ongoing with regard to the 36-year-old southpaw, and Joel Sherman of The New York Post reported that he will "definitely" be moved.
As for inconsistent star pitcher Tim Lincecum and right fielder Hunter Pence, despite the fact they're hitting the open market this offseason, it appears they're more likely to play out 2013 in San Francisco.
Let's take a closer look at where Lopez could land, along with the reasoning behind the Giants keeping Lincecum and Pence in all likelihood.
Javier Lopez to Detroit Tigers?
As mentioned above, the thought all along has been that Lopez, who is aging and in the final year of his contract, would be the most expendable. Contenders need relief pitchers of Lopez's caliber to come in and get key holds in tight games, and that's precisely what he can do.
The Cleveland Indians are chasing the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central division, but their unwillingness to part with a marquee prospect may be their downfall, per Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Heard this: In talks with Giants about Javier Lopez, #Indians were told it would take prospect Danny Salazar. Not happening.— paul hoynes (@hoynsie) July 31, 2013
CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports that the Detroit Tigers are still in talks to acquire Lopez's services:
Even after making 2 big trades last 2 days, Tigers may not be done. Still talking to Giants about LH Javier Lopez.— Danny Knobler (@DannyKnoblerCBS) July 31, 2013
Supplementing those with Lopez would give the AL Central leaders a shot at improving their postseason position.
Lopez has registered a 1.42 ERA in 2013 thus far and provides a difficult challenge with his side-winding delivery. In being a lefty, he would serve as a nice contrast and complement to Veras, who's more of a power-pitching righty.
Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum Unlikely to be Traded
A Twitter war of sorts was waged recently on Pence, attempting to convince him he had been traded to the Red Sox. It wasn't true, but Pence commended the effort:
Pretty good try everyone...kinda cruel, but well played.— Hunter Pence (@hunterpence) July 31, 2013
As far as reality is concerned, it doesn't appear that Pence is going anywhere. The right fielder could yield significant trade value in a thin market for outfielders—especially ones who can hit well.
The New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds called recently to discuss a possible deal involving Pence, according to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman. However, he doesn't see either team being a fit for the right fielder. The Texas Rangers and baseball's shocking best team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, are also interested.
Heyman reports that the tag on Pence is high and that the Giants plan on offering Pence a qualifying offer. The same goes for Lincecum. Even if both decline the offers, San Francisco will get stellar draft picks to build for the future.
Overall, as promising as Lopez's fit is with the Tigers and the solid assets that could be acquired for either Lincecum or Pence, ESPN's Jim Bowden believes at least the two hurlers won't be moved:
Bruce Bochy said that he plans on both Tim Lincecum and Javier Lopez being with the Giants after the deadline as well— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 30, 2013
Lincecum recently threw a no-hitter, but followed it up with a terrible performance, per ESPN Stats & Info:
As long as Heyman's hunch about Pence not being a good fit with the Yanks or Reds rings true, it's likely Giants GM Brian Sabean will have a rather inactive trade deadline Wednesday.