With the July 31st trade deadline looming, Giants fans are anxiously waiting to see what, if anything, Brain Sabean will do to improve the team by the bay.
The Giants have not been known for making gigantic moves at the deadline, especially ones that push them over the edge during that same season, but there have been several trade deadline acquisitions that have proven to be beneficial to the black and orange a year or two after the trade occurred.
Here are my top five moves made by the San Francisco Giants at this always highly-anticipated moment of the baseball season.
No. 5 July 31, 1998: Giants Acquire Ellis Burks From the Colorado Rockies for Darryl Hamilton, Jim Stoops, and Jason Brester
While Darryl Hamilton was getting on base consistently, his production in other areas was stagnant. The Giants were hoping that the 1996 All Star slugger who hit 40 HR that year would be able to resurrect himself in a new environment and be that extra bat to push their line up over the brink.
This never really panned out in 1998, when injuries weighed down Burks. He was only able to muster five HR and 22 RBI in 42 games and didn’t even play in the one-game playoff loss against the Cubs.
Burks would go on to have two successful years with the Giants. He averaged 96 RBI and 27.5 HR in those two years and was a key component in helping the Giants win the West in 2000.
No. 4 July 30, 2005: Giants Acquire Randy Winn From Seattle for Jesse Foppert and Yorvit Torrealba
Despite being 13 games under .500, the Giants were still in the hunt in a very weak NL West, standing only 5.5 games behind the San Diego Padres.
With Barry Bonds on the rack for almost the entire year and an outfield that was bare on speed and hitting, Sabean looked to get a boost from Seattle’s Randy Winn.
Winn was coming off a year where he had career highs in RBI and HR, and he didn’t disappoint when he came to San Francisco.
In the 58 games he played in 2005 for the Giants, he matched his career high HR mark with 14 while batting .359 and having a slugging percentage of .680.
Randy has been a solid hitter for the Giants ever since, hitting at least ten HRs in the past three seasons and posting an average above .300 the past two years.
Foppert, who was at one time a great pitching prospect, never played another game in the MLB because of arm troubles.
Torrealba finished 2005 with Mariners and is still catching consistently for the Rockies. And while his bat has had some success in the past few years, the Giants definitely got the better end of the stick with the production they have received from Winn in the same time span.
No. 3 July 30, 1996: Giants Acquire Kirk Rueter and Tim Scott From the Montreal Expos for Mark Leiter
Although the Giants were desperately fighting to not be the worst team in the league, they found themselves to be sellers at the 1996 trade deadline.
Getting rid of Mark Leiter after one-and-a-half seasons of mediocrity was music to the ears of fans throughout San Francisco. Leiter was posting a miserable 4-10 record with an ERA of 5.19 yet the Montreal Expos were interested in him anyways.
Rueter wasn’t accumulating much praise either after posting an inflated ERA and losing six games, which matched his losses in the previous three seasons combined. Also, his lack of power pitching style didn’t really install confidence in many GMs around the league.
While Sabean was not officially the GM at this time, it has been rumored that he was behind the push to get Rueter. Sabean, whether knowingly or not, acquired one of the most beloved Giants pitchers ever to take the mound.
Rueter would only start three games for the Giants in 1996, but he would be penciled in as the starter in 274 games over the next nine years.
While “Woody” would never post an ERA below 3.45 for the Giants, his 105-80 record while wearing the black and orange would help his team to four playoff berths, eventually rewarding him with one World Series start.
No. 2 July 30, 2001: Giants acquire Jason Schmidt and John Vander Wal from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Armando Rios and Ryan Vogelson
Sitting 2.5 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks and strapped with an offense that ranked in the NL top five, the Giants needed to fill a hole in their pitching staff which was middle of the pack at best.
Jason Schmidt preformed admirably for the Giants, finishing the season 7-1 and averaging a smidgen under a strikeout per inning. But when all was said in done, it wasn’t enough to take the Giants into the postseason.
Schmidt would round out the Giants pitching staff, though, and the second time around in 2002 helped San Francisco reach the World Series, coming only a few outs away from taking home the title.
Injuries would plague Schmidt his last few years as a Giant and, until Lincecum blew us all away last year, he was considered to be one of the best aces to wear the SF on his cap.
No. 1 July 5, 1987: Giants Acquire Dave Dravecky, Kevin Mitchell, and Craig Lefferts From the San Diego Padres for Chris Brown, Keith Comstock, Mark Davis, and Mark Grant
In one of the few trade deadline acquisitions actually designed to improve the Giants for a same season playoff run, Dravecky and Mitchell quickly proved that they were up for the tasks.
The Giants went on to win 63% of their regular season games after this trade going from 5.5 games back of the Cincinnati Reds to finishing five games ahead of them.
Dravecky was quite dominant that season despite his 7-5 record with the Giants. In his 18 starts, he posted four complete games, three that were shutouts.
In the playoffs, he threw a two-hit complete game shutout in Game Two of the National League Championship Series. He only gave up one run in his second start of the series, but the lack of run support saddled him with the loss.
Mitchell also relished his new surrounding, batting .306 and hitting 15 home runs with 44 RBI in 69 regular season games. He would falter during the playoffs though, only hitting .267 with 2 RBI.
Despite their success in the 1987 season, the three players acquired by the Giants in this trade will always be remembered for what happened to them in the 1989 season.
Lefferts lead the Giants with 20 saves that year despite being part of a closer-by-committee situation with Steve Bedrosian.
Mitchell posted career numbers in 1989, playing a huge part in the Giants making the World Series. He led the MLB with 45 home runs and 125 RBI that year and was named Major League Player of the Year by The Sporting News.
Dravecky made his comeback in 1989 after fighting cancer but his career ended in an unforgettable game where he broke his arm while throwing a pitch. A moment that many Giants fans will never forget for the rest of their lives.