Is Jermaine Dye the Answer to the Giants' Offensive Woes?

Kevin O'BrienCorrespondent IJune 30, 2009

CHICAGO - JUNE 17: Jermaine Dye #23 of the Chicago White Sox makes a hit against the Chicago Cubs on June 17, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

According to an article this morning in the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Giants sent one of their top scouts to Cleveland Monday to follow the White Sox-Indians series this week.

While there are rumors that the Giants will also be looking at Victor Martinez, it seems the main focus for the Giants will be Jermaine Dye, the longtime right fielder and former World Series MVP for the Chicago White Sox.

Now, I must admit, when I stumbled upon this story last night, I didn't know what to make of it. For the most part, this may be a wild goose chase and just a rumor that has very little standing.

After all, the White Sox are only four games out of first place behind the Tigers in a very weak AL Central Division. The White Sox letting go of Dye would send the message that they are packing it in and conceding this season.

With a fiery manager in Ozzie Guillen and a fickle fanbase, allowing Dye to walk out of Chicago could incur dire consequences for this franchise, which is only four years removed from its last world championship.

The impact of him leaving would not just affect the fans, but the Chicago locker room as well. Dye is considered one of the leaders of the team.

According to the Tribune's Mark Gonzales, who broke this story this morning, the 35-year-old outfielder "is the Sox's most productive hitter and respected player in the clubhouse."

So there are a lot of hurdles to clear before this trade becomes even close to a reality. Add all those factors to the fact that he has a no-trade clause in his contract (though it is limited to only six teams in the Northeast), and the possibility of this deal getting squashed might be more certain than having it actually carried through.

Yet if the Giants are able to pull this one off, the upgrade offensively and in the clubhouse would be unquestionable.

Dye is having another solid year with the White Sox and would automatically be the Giants' new cleanup hitter. This season he is batting .287 with 18 home runs and 46 RBI, and he carries a .357 OBP. To make things better, he has been on a tear in his last seven games, batting .481 with three home runs and 1.480 OPS.

While he can contribute and address the Giants' glaring need (offensive efficiency), Dye would also be a welcomed presence in the clubhouse.

This is not the Shea Hillenbrand situation, where the Giants brought in a cancer just because he can hit (one of the crowning achievements of the Brian Sabean era, by the way, along with the A.J. Pierzynski trade).

Dye, a native of Vacaville, has been welcomed and embraced by every team he has played for.

With playoff and World Series experience and success, he, along with Bengie Molina, can help this young Giants squad stay loose and maintain their composure as things get more competitive in August and September.

So far, Dye hasn't expressed a desire to leave Chicago yet.

And he shouldn't.

The White Sox, like I said earlier, are still in it as of this moment. The Tigers are a good team, but they're capable of folding. If that happens, the White Sox probably have a great shot to take the lead. Therefore, this deal would have zero chance of happening because Dye is such a key figure on their team.

Yet for some reason, I don't see the Sox figuring in the postseason. There are too many question marks with that team, and you have to figure in the Ozzie factor, which can help a team explode (as it did in 2005 and last season) or implode quickly (as in 2004 and 2007).

My gut?

The White Sox implode, and come trade deadline they are seriously entertaining deals for their slugger. With Dye from Northern California and familiar with the Bay Area (he played three-and-a-half seasons for the A's), the Giants would be the best option for him lineup-wise and would also be a location where he would be appreciated the most.

Getting Dye isn't a home run, of course.

There are many questions that surround him should a pending deal take place. He has played in the American League his whole career except for his rookie year, when he played in Atlanta back in 1996. That's 13 years removed from the National League.

Can he really make the adjustment to facing National League pitchers every day after playing for so many years in the hit-happy American League?

Furthermore, the Giants will be taking a lot of money in Dye, which means they will have to give up a lot since the White Sox won't want to give him up so easily. Are the Giants ready to absorb such a salary? If they are, how much will they have to compensate?

Are they willing to give up some very good prospects and a guy like Randy Winn or Aaron Rowand to acquire Dye?

I would in a second, but many other fans aren't so sure. After all, we have spent these last few years building up our farm system and getting our younger players playing time at the MLB level. Dye wouldn't blow that up, but he could certainly would put it back a couple years.

There are a lot of question marks surrounding Jermaine Dye, and for the time being, he insists he is a member of the White Sox. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Dye wants White Sox GM Ken Williams to be a buyer rather than a seller come trade deadline.

However, if the White Sox fall out of the AL Central race, and if the Giants are still in the thick of things, the idea of Dye in Black and Orange will be more and more interesting—not just for the fans, but for him as well.