The Plot Thickens: Giants Added To Mix For Pittsburgh's Sanchez

Nate RoseCorrespondent IJuly 5, 2009

NEW YORK - MAY 09:  Freddy Sanchez #12 of the Pittsburgh Pirates bats against the New York Mets on May 9, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Pirates 10-1.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the Giants may be interested in Pirates 2B Freddy Sanchez and possibly 1B Adam LaRoche, as well.

This makes two rumors in two days regarding Sanchez, the first coming from the Minnesota Twins.

The article suggests that the Giants may be willing to part ways with pitcher Jonathan Sanchez in a Sanchez-for-Sanchez swap. If that's true, I can't say I'm thrilled about the return the Pirates are getting.

Jonathan Sanchez may be fine as a throw-in candidate for a trade with the Giants, but as the focal point of the trade, he seems too weak for Freddy Sanchez or Adam LaRoche. He does still have some promise—he strikes out a ton of hitters, but he's spent parts of four season in the Major Leagues now and is still walking far too many batters.

At 26 years old, the "young flamethrower" sheen is starting to wear off with Sanchez. As it is now, he's a hard-throwing reliever with control issues—something the Pirates have a surplus of. If they're to move one of their two biggest chips this year, they need to get more in return.

On the other hand, Giants GM Brian Sabean is notorious for overpaying for veteran talent. Perhpas this is just an opening salvo to see if Pirates GM Neal Huntington will take the lowball offer?

At the very least, it gives Huntington the advantage of being able to play the Giants and Twins against one another in a bidding war for Freddy.

While Sanchez is the only player in the article that's confirmed by a Giants source, Adam LaRoche would seem to make more sense for San Francisco. Juan Uribe won't light the world on fire at second base, but he's a solid Major League regular.

In contrast, the Giants don't have many options at first base. They seem to prefer Pablo Sandoval to stay at third, and none of their other options are overwhelming. Adam LaRoche would provide a spark to the lineup, as he's notorious for being one of the best second-half hitters in all of baseball.

Down on the farm, the Giants have several players that match up well with the Pirates needs.

Buster Posey is a great catcher that provides both a high average and good defense. If he were to stay with the Giants, he would probably be ready for the show at the same time Bengie Molina is ready to retire, and he could likely step in without the Giants missing a beat.

I doubt the Pirates could get him unless they packaged Sanchez and LaRoche together.

Nick Noonan is a 2B in high-A that has good speed and hits for a solid average with gap power. His numbers thus far remind me of Brian Roberts. He would probably be more easily acquired from the Giants, by virtue of being a few years away from MLB.

Ehire Adrianza is a 19-year-old foreign SS prospect in A ball with tools galore. Although he has yet to put up very impressive offensive numbers, he reportedly has a good glove in the field. Scouts love him, and it could be interesting to see what he develops into. I'm sure the Pirates would be interested if he were made available.

Aside from those players offensively, the Giants have some corner infield prospects, an area that the Pirates don't "need" but would still benefit from having more of.

Where San Francisco is really deep is pitching. Of their top 20 prospects, 12 are pitchers.

As the saying goes, you can never have too much pitching, and I'm sure the Pirates could acquire one or two of the pitching prospects in the Giants' system without much fuss. As part of a package, they could bring extraordinary value to Pittsburgh.

It will be interesting to see where the Pirates go for their trades come the deadline. The team is clearly in full firesale mode, and it appears as if they're talking to everyone to try to find the best prospect package on the market.

Expect the small-market Pirates to be involved in some of this year's most intriguing trades.