The 2013 MLB trade deadline was one of the most stagnant in recent memory, and the last-place San Francisco Giants were no exception to the norm, ultimately staying put instead of overhauling with a fire sale.
General manager Brian Sabean seems unwilling to tinker too much with the Giants roster since most players returned after the 2012 World Series run. Sabean's lone move was trading cash or a player to be named later for Cubs pitcher Guillermo Moscoso.
Reliever Javier Lopez, right fielder Hunter Pence and starting pitcher Tim Lincecum were all on the trading block but will continue to don orange and black the rest of the season.
While the players were stressing about their respective futures, reporters and fans made Twitter worth watching as the deadline grew nearer.
Lopez has been a top-tier reliever for San Francisco since coming on board at the 2010 trade deadline, and he drew more interest than any other Giant.
Teams needed to deliver a blue-chip prospect to pry Lopez away, and while the New York Post's Joel Sherman, CBS Sports' Danny Knobler and ESPN's Buster Olney said the Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds showed interest, no one pulled the trigger.
The Giants wanted rookie Danny Salazar, who allowed one run in six innings in his debut on July 11, but Cleveland was reluctant to part with the righty, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Sabean wants Lopez back after his contract expires at the end of the season, and the lefty seems interested as well.
Pence was traded to the Red Sox, but only on Twitter.
About 1,000 people congratulated Pence, who presumably became even more wide-eyed than normal before confirming the lie.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers were interested in the right fielder, who sports a .274 batting average, 14 home runs, 56 runs scored, 51 RBI and 14 stolen bases.
Pence’s contribution goes beyond the box scores, like his dramatic speech that sparked a comeback with the Giants down two games in the 2012 NLDS.
The Giants are now expected to make Pence a qualifying offer at the end of the season when he becomes a free agent, per CBS Sports. It is likely to be slightly higher than Pence's current salary of $13.8 million.
Sabean floated The Freak in the summer market, but he was only going to move him if teams offered the kitchen sink, Heyman said. With no takers, the Giants will re-evaluate Lincecum when his contract expires at the end of the season.
No ones knows what to make of Lincecum at this point. His velocity and endurance are not what they used to be, but every so often, he’ll have a great game, like his no-hitter on July 13.
Lincecum’s playoff resurgence was one of the Giants’ keys to success last year, but he was the long-relief man because he was worthless as a starter. This season has been a little better, but the two-time Cy Young winner still owns an ugly 4.61 ERA.
Timmy is still a fan favorite in San Francisco, but as the Brian Wilson saga shows, the front office values performance over popularity.
Picking up Moscoso is not going to vault the Giants into the playoffs. The goal is simply to provide a little more depth in the tired bullpen with the possibility of a spot start here and there.
The righty thrived in Oakland’s friendly confines in 2011 but was rocked with the Rockies at Coors Field. Fly-ball pitchers like Moscoso can find success in AT&T Park’s deep fences, so there is hope for a revival.
Moscoso was starting for the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate before the trade and has now joined the Giants’ relief staff. He gave up two runs in 2.2 innings in his team debut on July 30.
In some ways, Moscoso is a microcosm of what Sabean’s approach will be in the winter. The GM has relied on veterans over developing minor league potential, and while it hasn’t always worked (see: Zack Wheeler trade, Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan trade), there’s no arguing with the 2010 and 2012 World Series titles.
To be blunt, the Giants are not going to be good this year. But when the season ends and Lincecum and Barry Zito’s enormous contracts are up, there will be a budget to right the ship without completely rebuilding.