Top 10 San Francisco Giants Acquisitions of All Time
MLB’s winter meetings in Orlando have reached their conclusion, but plenty of deals still have yet to be made in the baseball world. On the final day of the meetings, the San Francisco Giants made the biggest deal of the day, signing outfielder Michael Morse.
In the light of their successful deal, it seemed appropriate to compile a list of the Giants’ best acquisitions in their 55-year history since moving to San Francisco. Only time will tell if Morse will make it onto a future updated list, but for now, here are the top 10.
All statistics are courtesy of baseball-reference.com, unless otherwise noted.
Acquired with Tim Scott from the Expos for Mark Leiter on Jul. 30, 1996.
Rueter was never a dominant pitcher or the Giants’ staff ace, but he put together a successful 10-year run in San Francisco nonetheless, winning 105 games. He was also a solid contributor during the playoffs in 2002. His seven straight years of double-digit wins from 1997-2003 were a huge factor in the Giants’ success during those years.
Acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies with Charles Penigar and Mark Davis for Al Holland and Joe Morgan on Dec. 14, 1982.
Krukow is best known for his work in the broadcast booth, but his on-field accomplishments are impressive as well. Kruk spent seven seasons with the Giants, five of which consisted of an ERA below four. In his greatest season, 1986, he won 20 games and posted a 3.05 ERA, both career bests. Kruk finished third in Cy Young voting that year, the only time he would appear on the ballot.
The following year, Krukow helped the Giants win their first division championship in 16 years. In the NLCS against the Cardinals, the only postseason game of his career, he pitched a complete game. As Kruk would say, “Ownage is ownage.”
10. Rich Aurilia
The Rangers drafted Aurilia, but his first MLB action came with the Giants. Aurilia only had one huge season with San Francisco, but he was always a steady contributor. He batted a steady .275 during his 12 years in the Bay Area, and according to MLB.com, he leads all San Francisco Giants shortstops in all-time home runs, hits, runs and doubles.
In his breakout year, 2001, Aurilia had the benefit of hitting in front of Barry Bonds during the latter’s record-breaking season. The Giants shortstop had a line of .324/37/97, and led the league with 206 hits. He also scored 114 runs and had 37 doubles.
Aurilia’s greatest contribution to the Giants arguably came during their 2002 postseason run. He blasted two home runs in the NLDS, NLCS and World Series. Larry Walker is the only other player to accomplish this feat.
How they got him: acquired from the Texas Rangers with Desi Wilson for John Burkett on Dec. 22, 1994.
9. Rick Reuschel
Reuschel, who’s nickname was “Big Daddy,” spent just two full seasons with the Giants, but he made them count. In 1988, Reuschel went 19-11 with a 3.12 ERA, but that was only a warmup for the following season.
1989 was one of Reuschel’s greatest in his 214-win career. He went 17-8 with a 2.94 ERA, placed eighth in Cy Young balloting and was the ace of the Giants team that went to the World Series.
Reuschel was a relatively low-key figure despite his 6'3", 235 pound frame, and he showed as much when he was asked for his thoughts after winning his 200th game, simply stating, “It was good to get it out of the way.”
How they got him: Acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Scott Medvin and Jeff Robinson on Aug. 21, 1987.
8. Aubrey Huff
Just to be clear, this is the first Aubrey Huff signing. The second one did not go quite as well.
The first time, however, the Giants invested only $3 million in the aging first baseman. Huff rewarded them by producing in the middle of the lineup for the 2010 World Series-winning team. He finished seventh in MVP voting and had a slash line of .290/26/86 while scoring 100 runs. Giants fans probably remember his key sacrifice bunt in Game 5 of the World Series, as well as his hilarious “rally thong.”
How they got him: Signed as a free agent on Jan. 10, 2010.
7. J.T. Snow
Snow won the Gold Glove award in each of his first four years with the Giants. He was no slouch with the bat either. His best offensive year was his first with the club, in which he hit 28 home runs with 104 RBI and a .387 OBP. His true value, however, was his fielding prowess. Only 10 other first basemen can top his career fielding percentage of .996.
Snow’s defining moment as a Giant came in the 2000 NLDS. With San Francisco trailing in the ninth inning of Game 4, Snow blasted a three-run homer over the right-field wall, notoriously difficult territory for lefties, to tie the game.
It is ironic that Snow’s iconic moment came with the bat, but Giants fans will never forget his wizardry at first base.
How they got him: Acquired from the Anaheim Angels for Fausto Macey and Allen Watson on Nov. 26, 1996.
6. Robb Nen
Before there was Brian Wilson, there was Robb Nen. The Giants acquired Nen essentially for free—giving up three players, two of which never appeared in the majors. The one who did lost seven of his eight career starts.
Nen was a save machine during his five years with the Giants, and his entrance song “Smoke on the Water” generally signaled doom for opponents. Nen eclipsed 40 saves in four of those years, including a league-leading 45 in 2001. In the 2002 title run, he allowed just one run in nine innings of postseason work, a big reason the Giants made it so far.
Overall, Nen posted a 2.43 ERA during his career with the Giants, and his 206 saves are still the most in franchise history.
How they got him: Acquired from the Florida Marlins for Mike Pageler, Mike Villano and Joe Fontenot on Nov. 18, 1997.
5. Marco Scutaro
One of the most beloved players currently playing in San Francisco, Scutaro was an instant success for the Giants. He batted .362, an especially astronomical total for his standards, in 61 games with the Giants in 2012, propelling them into the playoffs.
His legendary performance in the NLCS, in which he collected 14 hits in 28 at bats, helped the Giants squeak past the Cardinals. If that wasn't enough, he had the go-ahead RBI in the Giants’ series-clinching game in the World Series. If any player is responsible for the Giants’ 2012 World Series title, Scutaro is that guy.
How they got him: Acquired from the Colorado Rockies with cash for Charlie Culberson on Jul. 27, 2012.
4. Hunter Pence
The acquisition of Pence ranks so high in large part due to the potential for the Giants right-fielder to contribute even more in the future.
Pence was an RBI machine when he came over from the Phillies, driving in 45 runs in just 59 games in 2012. (That equates to just over 123 in a full 162-game season.) The Giants then rode his inspirational pre-game dugout speeches all the way to a World Series title. In 2013, Pence played in all 162 games, batting .283 with 27 home runs, 99 RBI, 22 stolen bases and 91 runs scored. He is a five-tool player, and the Giants are lucky to have him for five more years.
How they got him: acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies for Nate Schierholtz, Tommy Joseph, and Seth Rosin on July 31, 2012
3. Jeff Kent
Kent was always a solid player with the Mets, but his career really took off in San Francisco. The second baseman drove in a career-high 121 runs in his first season with the Giants, and he never fell below the century mark in his six years in San Francisco.
In 2000, Kent won his only MVP award, posting a .334/33/125 line. He was also instrumental in the Giants’ 2002 title run with three home runs in the World Series that year. Kent batted .297 with 175 home runs and a .903 OPS in six years with the Giants.
How they got him: Acquired from the Cleveland Indians with Julian Tavarez, Jose Vizcaino and Joe Roa for Matt Williams and Trent Hubbard on Nov. 13, 1996.
2. Kevin Mitchell, Dave Dravecky, and Craig Lefferts
All three players were acquired in a trade in 1987, but the star of the deal was Mitchell. He posted superb numbers in San Francisco, but his performance in 1989 is what really made this a special acquisition. Mitchell led the league with 47 home runs, 125 RBI and a 1.023 OPS that year. Without him, the Giants likely would not have made it to the World Series.
Dravecky and Lefferts were also significant in the deal. Dravecky’s stint with the Giants was short, but his ERA in 27 starts with the club was 3.22. Lefferts was even better, as he proved to be a key component of the Giants' bullpen in the late 1980s. He posted a 2.88 ERA in 178 appearances and, like Mitchell, he was at his best in 1989 with a 2.69 ERA and a then career-high 20 saves.
How they got them: Acquired from the San Diego Padres for Chris Brown, Mark Grant, Keith Comstock and Mark Davis on Jul. 5, 1987.
1. Barry Bonds
The Giants liked what they saw in Bonds after he won a pair of MVP awards in Pittsburgh. They signed him to a six-year, $43.75 million deal, and he rewarded them with an MVP award-winning performance in his first year.
Bonds spent 15 controversial years in San Francisco, and the numbers he compiled were astounding. He hit 586 home runs with an OPS of 1.143 and broke the single-season and all-time home run records. He also won five MVPs—four straight from 2001-2004. Say what you will about his alleged steroid use, but Bonds is the greatest acquisition in the history of the San Francisco Giants.
How they got him: Signed as a free agent on Dec. 8, 1992.
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