This is not 2010.
The year is 2014, but as far as the San Francisco Giants are concerned, there are similarities between the two years. For one, general manager Brian Sabean is still with the team.
Additionally, key players such as pitchers Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum and top-tier hitters Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval are still with the team. But for all of the similarities between the two championship-contending teams, there are differences.
At the 2010 trade deadline, fans were clamoring for a bat. Instead of adding one, the Giants made low-profile moves to add relievers Javier Lopez and Ramon Ramirez. There was outrage among the fanbase.
But what happened next? Lopez didn’t give up a run in the playoffs, and he earned the win in the final game of the NLCS.
Ramirez pitched phenomenally down the stretch, and the Giants offense, led by August signing Cody Ross and utility man Edgar Renteria, carried the team in the World Series by averaging 5.6 runs per game.
It all worked out in 2010. But this is 2014, and this scenario is different.
The Giants are 57-50. That record seems good, and it is. But when you consider that the Giants are 15-29 since June 9, you look at it from a different perspective.
Why are the Giants struggling so much? San Francisco’s offense is completely dormant right now.
It’s scored five runs in its last four games, all of which the Giants lost. And it’s been forced to use stopgaps such as second baseman Dan Uggla, who went 0-for-8 with four strikeouts (and three errors) over the weekend as the Los Angeles Dodgers earned a sweep.
Sure, starters Brandon Belt and Angel Pagan are hurt. But even when Belt, who's hitting just .242, was in the lineup, the offense was sputtering. The Giants were 1-5 in Pagan’s last six games before his injury.
What the Giants need is a second baseman. No second baseman on the team has an OPS above .600, and 2013 starter Marco Scutaro is on the DL for the second time after a dismal stint in the majors.
Luckily for the Giants, middle infielders such as Ben Zobrist, Daniel Murphy, Luis Valbuena, Emilio Bonifacio, Martin Prado and Asdrubal Cabrera could be traded. In fact, according to Peter Gammons, the Giants are in on most of the aforementioned infielders.
SF, A';s, teams needing 2B sifting through Valbuena, Cabrera, Hill, Prado, Beckham...— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) July 30, 2014
Zobrist would be a perfect fit on a Giants team that could benefit from veteran leadership and versatility. However, Zobrist’s Tampa Bay Rays have won 11 of their last 12 games. They don’t have the urgency to sell their key cogs that they did two weeks ago.
This means the Rays would have leverage in trade talks, which could mean the Giants would have to overpay.
If the Giants need to overpay, they should do it. However, Bonifacio, Prado, Cabrera, Valbuena and Murphy, all of whom have an OPS of .692 or higher, could all be acquired for a solid price.
Luckily for the Giants, they have the assets to make a deal. The Giants have a wealth of quality pitchers in the minors, including Kyle Crick, Clayton Blackburn, Chris Stratton and Adalberto Mejia, so they can afford to give up a few.
If they don’t, they’ll have a lot of pitchers who will have trouble finding their way into an overcrowded rotation when they reach the majors.
Matt Cain, Bumgarner, Lincecum, Tim Hudson, Ryan Vogelsong and Jake Peavy are all quality starting pitchers for the future, and the Giants have the money to sign more in the offseason if some of the older pitchers leave or retire.
That’s not to say that their prospects aren’t valuable. However, prospects aren't sure things. Zobrist has a career OPS around .800. The Giants know what they would get with him, and they need him more than they need their young pitchers.
There are plenty of options for the Giants if they want to trade for a second baseman. If they don’t want to overpay, they can add Cabrera, who’s a fairly average hitter (he has a .698 OPS) but would be a huge defensive and offensive upgrade in San Francisco.
The Giants just need someone who can spark the offense. The offense has quality bats, but there are huge holes that need to be filled. Returns from injuries will fill some, but Sabean has to take action to fill the rest.
Because if he doesn’t, top-notch teams such as the Dodgers will continue to have their way with the Giants.