5 Trades That Could Take the San Francisco Giants to the Next Level
The San Francisco Giants emerge from the All-Star break with a record of 52-43, trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers by one game in the NL West. The Giants are currently tied with the Atlanta Braves for the top spot in the wild-card race.
After getting out to a great start early on, the Giants struggled mightily. At one point, they had lost 21 of 29 games.
Initially, it was the combination of poor pitching and weak hitting that hurt the team. Lately, the pitching has come around, but the offense has still been very inconsistent.
In the Giants' last 20 games, they have been shut out six times and scored just one or two runs another six times.
The Giants need an infusion of excitement and production that can help get them back on the right track.
In 2010, general manager Brian Sabean brought in Cody Ross, Pat Burrell, Javier Lopez and Ramon Ramirez to bolster the team. These additions were instrumental to the Giants making the playoffs and winning the first World Series in San Francisco history.
In 2012, Sabean added Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro. Both pumped life into the Giants and were key players in the Giants' second world championship in San Francisco over a three-year span.
Now, in 2014, Sabean is facing a similar dilemma. The Giants are contenders but do not seem to have enough to win their division. Even a wild-card berth is not a sure thing for the Giants at this point.
In order to solidify their chances, Sabean will need to make some moves to strengthen the team. The difficulty Sabean will face is the Giants do not have a lot of prospects who are highly coveted by other clubs.
Let's take a look at five players who could make a major positive impact for the Giants.
All stats are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.
All contract data is courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts.
No. 5: Ben Revere, Center Field
The Philadelphia Phillies are going nowhere this season, and Ben Revere could be available for the right price.
Revere is the Phillies' leadoff hitter and one of the top stolen-base threats in the league. He already has 26 steals and has been caught just three times.
Although not the quintessential leadoff hitter, Revere would be a big upgrade over Gregor Blanco. Revere is hitting .295, with an OBP of .316 and OPS of .670. His OPS is an area that needs to improve.
With the uncertainty about Angel Pagan's ailing back, center field has suddenly become a gaping hole in the Giants' lineup.
Revere is the type of player who can do many of the same things as Pagan. From a cost perspective, Revere would be very attractive to the Giants. His 2014 salary is only $1.95 million, and the Giants would only be on the hook for a prorated amount of around $800,000.
Revere would also be under the Giants' control at least through the 2017 season, as he is not eligible for free agency until 2018.
In order to obtain Revere, the Giants would need to put together a decent package, but not one where their top prospects were involved. Something along the lines of Gary Brown and Chris Stratton or Clayton Blackburn should be enough to get this deal done.
No. 4: Emilio Bonifacio, 2nd Base, Center Field
Emilio Bonifacio would solve three critical problems the Giants currently face. He can bat in the leadoff spot, and his speed would be a tremendous weapon for the inconsistent San Francisco offense.
In addition, Bonifacio plays second base and center field, the two main problem areas for the Giants.
Bonifacio is currently in a rehab assignment, as he sustained an oblique injury a few weeks ago. If healthy, Bonifacio would be an excellent fit for the Giants at the top of their order.
Bonifacio is currently hitting .261, with one home run, 16 RBI and 29 runs scored. He has 13 steals and would help the Giants' second place hitter get more fastballs to hit.
The one area that Bonifacio must improve is his OBP, which stands at .307. If he can get his OBP up, he becomes the dynamic leadoff hitter the Giants are missing with Angel Pagan sidelined.
The Chicago Cubs are out of the playoff race, and since Bonifacio will be a free agent after the 2014 season, the Giants would not need to give up a lot to get him. This would be a typical Brian Sabean deal and makes a lot of sense for the Giants.
No. 3: Leonys Martin, Center Field
The Texas Rangers are 19 games below the .500 mark and woefully out of contention for a playoff berth. The roof has caved in on a franchise that made back-to-back World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011.
With this being the second consecutive season the Rangers will miss the playoffs, they may be in the market to start making some major changes.
One such deal the Giants should explore is the potential acquisition of Leonis Martin. He would provide some youth and speed in the Giants' lineup.
Martin also gives the Giants a center fielder, which they need at this point. Due to a disk problem in his back, there is no telling how much Angel Pagan will be able to play in the coming months.
The Giants offense has struggled mightily without Pagan at the top of the order, and a player like Martin will help elongate the batting order. It has become painfully obvious that Gregor Blanco is not the answer as an everyday player.
Martin is having a solid season with the Rangers and is only 26 years of age. In 295 at-bats, he is hitting .268, with an OBP of .325 and OPS of .705. Martin has five home runs, 28 RBI, 39 runs scored and 18 stolen bases. All of these numbers are an upgrade over the light-hitting Blanco.
Martin makes $3.75 million in 2014, so the prorated portion the Giants would be responsible for is closer to about $1.5 million. He is also under contract for 2015 at a salary of $4.75 million. These numbers are very affordable for the Giants and would provide them with much better depth than they have currently.
The Rangers will not just give Martin away because of his youth, favorable contract and his upside potential. It would likely take a package of something like Gary Brown and Edwin Escobar to pry him away from Texas.
Although Escobar is one of the Giants' top pitching prospects, this is the type of aggressive move that GM Brian Sabean needs to make in order for the Giants to make a successful run at the playoffs this year.
No. 2: Daniel Murphy, 2nd Base
The term professional hitter comes to mind when you think about Daniel Murphy. He can hit at the top of the order for the Giants or at an RBI spot in the No. 6 hole. As a switch-hitter, Murphy also would give manager Bruce Bochy a lot of flexibility with the batting order.
The Giants have struggled at second base for most of the season. They tried Brandon Hicks, Ehire Adrianza, Joaquin Arias and Joe Panik at the position, but nobody has stepped up to seize the job.
Most recently, Marco Scutaro returned, but his tender back will not allow him to play every day. If Scutaro is even able to start two or three times a week, that would be a boon for the Giants. However, even that is very uncertain.
Although Scutaro is under contract for next season also, his days as a regular, everyday starter are likely over. Due to his bad back, Scutaro cannot be counted on this year or in 2015.
GM Brian Sabean can rectify this problem immediately by making a deal to acquire Murphy.
Murphy is one of the top second basemen in the National League and earned his first All-Star selection this year. He would likely be slotted in as the Giants' leadoff hitter or in the second spot in the order.
In 385 at-bats, Murphy is currently hitting .294, with an OBP of .342 and OPS of .755. He has seven home runs, 37 RBI, 56 runs scored and 11 stolen bases.
Murphy's 2014 salary is $5.7 million, but the Giants would only be responsible for a prorated amount closer to about $2.25 million. In addition, he is not eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season, so he would be under the Giants' control next year as well.
The cost to get Murphy will be steep, but when you have a chance to win and a player of his caliber is available, the Giants must make that bold move. A deal the New York Mets might accept is Kyle Crick, Ehire Adrianza and another young, mid-level pitching prospect.
Although Crick is arguably the Giants' top pitching prospect, he is far from a sure thing. With a chance to win now, Sabean needs to make this aggressive statement.
No. 1: David Price, Starting Pitcher
David Price is the best starting pitcher potentially available on the trade market. The Tampa Bay Rays southpaw is currently 9-7, with a 3.23 ERA and 1.070 WHIP. In 147.2 innings of work, Price has allowed 137 hits and 21 walks, while striking out 164. His strikeout total leads all of baseball.
Before anyone gets too excited about Price, however, know that the cost to acquire him will be very high.
The Rays will demand a lot, and the Giants would likely have to include a budding star along with prospects to make a deal happen. Something along the lines of Brandon Belt, Kyle Crick and a mid-level prospect might be what it would take to land Price.
On the surface, this seems like a lot to give up, but the deal would benefit the Giants in three key ways. Price is a dominant pitcher and would immediately give the Giants another top-line arm in their battle against the Dodgers.
Secondly, the Dodgers are looking for starting pitching, and if they were to get Price, that would likely push them over the top in the NL West.
Finally, a deal like this paves the way for the Giants to move Buster Posey to first base. Michael Morse can also play first when Posey is catching.
Price earns $14 million this year and will hit the final year of his arbitration eligibility in 2015. Therefore, at a minimum, the Giants would have him under their control through 2015.
The prorated amount of salary the Giants would pay in 2014 is roughly $6 million, but Price would likely make in the neighborhood of $20 million in arbitration in 2015.
Taking on Price would mean the Giants' ownership group would have to increase the Giants' payroll yet again. There is no guarantee it would do that since the Giants are already over $149 million, which is their highest payroll ever.
Nevertheless, if Sabean can convince ownership to make this investment, it would give the Giants the best chance to win now and in 2015.