MLB Trade Deadline: Moves Would Be Luxury for Streaking Giants
It's tempting for the more seasoned (really old) followers of the San Francisco Giants to sit back and enjoy what has been a fabulous start to the second half of the season.
The club's record is third-best in the National League and seventh in the big leagues three games into the Florida Marlins series in San Francisco. The Giants are 2 1/2 games out of the NL West lead and are atop the NL wild-card race.
Fans and media-types have to work, or ignore reality, to be critical of what were considered shortcomings with the Giants on a 11-3 streak since the All-Star break.
The team's starting pitching has been superb. The bullpen has done a surprisingly good job getting games to closer Brian Wilson.
Manager Bruce Bochy has, apparently, become a great deal smarter in the second half. Unless he, alone, blew the three games the club lost in the last couple of weeks.
Every club can use another hitter, but the Giants are scoring plenty of runs. And, knocking situational hitting when a team is 11-3 seems silly.
Fans and the media should be relaxing and enjoying the fact that the Giants jumped from 10th to seventh on ESPN.com's MLB power rankings this week.
Why bother worrying about the trade deadline when the Giants have one of the best records in baseball? Well, the cyclical nature of baseball indicates that the club's flaws will become apparent again soon. So...
The Giants desperately need relief pitching (specifically left-handed relievers). The only way to get help for the bullpen is in trade. No help coming from the minor leagues and even the happiest of Giants fan likely quivers at the thought of relying too heavily on Denny Bautista, Joe Martinez, and Santiago Casilla.
While they're poking around for a reliever or two, the Giants might as well see if any hitters are available for a decent asking price. Pablo Sandoval might return to first-half form. And Buster Posey just might not bat .368, with a .975 OPS and .571 slugging percentage for the final three months of the season. Although, nothing the kid does should surprise anybody.
There just isn't a great deal of bullpen talent on the market, so trade rumors have focused on the organization's reported interest in finding another proven hitter.
Oh, the Giants are going to get relief help. Before giving up anything in trade, the Giants might want to consider calling lefty Alex Hinshaw up to see if he can get outs or about giving Dontrelle Willis a shot as a lefty-vs.-lefty reliever.
The Giants have the luxury of giving a young farmhand and a fallen star a chance to stabilize the pen.
The club is a lot more likely to land an outfielder like Washington's Josh Willingham or Kansas City veteran Jose Guillen than they are to trade for Adam Dunn. (Although, Dunn is on record now as denying that he ever said he would refuse to play in San Francisco. That, apparently, was an urban legend based on the assumption that AT&T Park is death to all lefty swingers who aren't Barry Bonds.)
Dunn's going to be a free agent at the end of the year, so the Giants aren't interested unless they can sign him to a long-term deal before any trade is consumated. Teams typically allow for negotiations between a trade partner and a player in such a situation.
The Giants just aren't willing to offer the type of package necessary to lure Dunn to San Francisco. The Nationals apparently turned down a Chicago White Sox offer featuring starting second baseman Gordon Beckham and insisted on a package featuring three top prospects headed by pitcher Daniel Hudson. Translation: Madison Bumgarner and two top prospects would, maybe, bring Dunn west.
Tampa Bay asked the Nats about Dunn and the Rays were told that any package for the slugger would have to include starting pitcher Matt Garza, who is having an outstanding season and pitched a no-hitter on Monday night. Translation: If Bumgarner's untouchable, toss Matt Cain into the deal.
The Giants discussed Guillen with the Royals, the New York Post reported. The 34-year-old would, reportedly, go to San Francisco with cash to cover some of the $4.55 million left on his contract. ESPN's Jayson Stark, however, reported that the Royals "have no real options" to trade Guillen—even while asking for little in return.
There's word that the Giants are, again, interested in free agent-to-be Prince Fielder. Any package would start with trading left-hander Madison Bumgarner. Fielder's out of the question.
Willingham can play right field, where he wouldn't take any more at-bats from Pat Burrell.
The Giants had interest in Royals base-stealing outfielder Scott Podsednik, but the Los Angeles Dodgers wound up acquiring the left-hand hitter in exchange for two minor leaguers.
If first baseman Travis Ishikawa keeps producing, Aubrey Huff will split time between the outfield and first and the Giants wouldn't necessarily have to add a hitter, because it appears that Aaron Rowand might be inching back to reasonable productivity after his single started Thursday's game-winning rally against the Marlins.
It could be that this is the time for Giants fans to step back and acknowledge that the call for homegrown talent has gone on for years and, well, it could be that Nate Schierholtz, Ishikawa and, perhaps, a minor leaguer like infielders Emmanuel Burris or Ryan Rohlinger team to produce the runs the Giants need.
Why deal for a .260 hitter in Guillen if Schierholtz can hit .250 and contribute in every other area of the game, too?
The Giants are inching toward the trade deadline in position, remarkably, to just keep doing what they've been doing. That's been plenty good enough over the last 14 games.
Ted Sillanpaa is a Northern California sports writer and columnist. Reach Ted at email@example.com
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