MLB Trade Talk: Rafael Furcal and 10 Shortstop Solutions for the Giants

Dan Hiergesell@DHiergesellFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2011

MLB Trade Talk: Rafael Furcal and 10 Shortstop Solutions for the Giants

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    It's no secret that the San Francisco Giants need hitting.

    After Buster Posey was lost for the remainder of the 2011 season, manager Bruce Bochy has been forced to piece together a consistent offensive threat.

    It's been easier said than done.

    San Francisco ranks 27th in runs scored, 20th in hits, and 26th in OPS, making it difficult to supplement their good pitching with effective hitting.

    One of their weakest positions, as far as hitting is concerned, is at shortstop.

    Rookie Brandon Crawford hasn't done an awful job as he's secured a starting gig for the last month and a half, but his .216 average in over 100 at-bats continues to disprove his offensive worth.

    With that said, besides the obvious potential acquisition of All-Star Jose Reyes, here are the top 10 solutions for the Giants' shortstop woes.

10. Edgar Renteria, Cincinnati Reds

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    Bringing back Edgar Renteria for another go-round in San Francisco could turn out to be a very smart decision.

    While Renteria hasn't shown much in 2011 with the Cincinnati Reds, his history of performing in clutch situations late in the season could be a deciding factor in bringing the 35-year-old back.

    He hit .290 through September and October last year with the Giants.

    Allowing Renteria to resurface in the NL West, while giving him the at-bats he deserves, could prove as a means to a breakout second half for one of the oldest infielders in the league.

9. Cliff Pennington, Oakland Athletics

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    Cliff Pennington hasn't been much of a threat for the Oakland Athletics through the first half of the season, but his track record over the past two years would suggest he'd be an instant upgrade over Brandon Crawford.

    Pennington is a 20-plus stolen base threat and can catch fire at anytime during the season.

    He's only 27-years-old, offers more power than Crawford, and could be had for cheap from a team that's consistently open to trade talks.

8. Emilio Bonifacio, Florida Marlins

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    While Emilio Bonifacio has been recently playing in the outfield for the Florida Marlins, he's still managed to start 23 games at shortstop over the first half of 2011.

    The 26-year-old has been hot as of late, hitting .375 in the month of July.

    Bonifacio offers great speed, is a smart base runner, has solid defense, and has eligibility at numerous positions, which includes shortstop.

    Considering the Marlins have been drastically falling behind in the NL East, convincing them to trade Bonifacio would be as easy as pie.

7. Willie Bloomquist, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Not a lot of people remember the hot start that Willie Bloomquist got off to through the first month of the season.

    Bloomquist hit .306 during April, adding seven stolen bases and great lineup stability for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    Since then, the 33-year-old has considerably fallen off after being downgraded to the bench, relinquishing any inclinations that 2011 is his breakout year.

    Regardless, Bloomquist continues to be a solid hitter when he's given an opportunity to prove his worth, so adding him to the mix in San Francisco could revamp his year and culminate into another hot month of shortstop production.

6. Clint Barmes, Houston Astros

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    Trading for Clint Barmes would be an interesting play for the San Francisco Giants.

    Barmes could be had for relatively cheap from the lowly Houston Astros.

    He offers a lot of pop at an offensively challenged position, solid defense, and has shown in the past that he can catch fire at any given moment.

    Barmes, 32, is currently hitting .235, but he's recorded nine hits over the last week, which could indicate the veteran shortstop is in line for a worthwhile July.

5. Yunel Escobar, Toronto Blue Jays

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    The Toronto Blue Jays aren't going to give up on Yunel Escobar, so trading for him is going to cost the San Francisco Giants a pretty penny.

    Maybe a current big league starter and a top-10 prospect.

    The fact remains that Escobar has been one of the most production shortstops over the first half of the season, hitting .289 with nine home runs, 29 RBI, and only 37 K's in nearly 300 at-bats.

    Escobar is relatively young at 28-years-old, so he's going to demand some supplemental talent from the Giants.

    He'd be one of the best bargain acquisitions for San Fran and could instantly provide relief for such a thin lineup.

4. Marco Scutaro, Boston Red sox

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    The coming out party of Jed Lowrie for the Boston Red Sox this season has put backup shortstop Marco Scutaro on a lot of team's trade radars.

    The 35-year-old veteran has shown over the past few season that he possess 10-plus home run power and the ability to hit upwards of .280.

    He's a class act, a crafty fielder, and would be a great fit for a young San Francisco offense.

    Lowrie is due back off the DL no later than the end of the month, so the Red Sox could be willing to deal Scutaro fairly shortly.

    His contract isn't too expensive at $5.5 million and his .270 average is an instant upgrade over Brandon Crawford's lack luster numbers.

3. J.J. Hardy, Balitmore Orioles

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    J.J. Hardy would ultimately be the best fit for the San Francisco Giants and their shortstop woes.

    The only problem?

    The Baltimore Orioles recently acquired Hardy before the 2011 season and would like to see how far his hot hitting takes them in the coming years.

    With that said, he's no Jose Reyes, and more than likely could be traded for a young power prospect.

    The 28-year-old is one of the hottest players in baseball, hitting .294 with 12 home runs and 31 RBI over 214 at-bats.

    Baltimore shouldn't have any plans of making the playoffs out of a diverse AL East, so trading Hardy and getting some talent in return could be in their mid-season cards.

2. Jason Bartlett, San Diego Padres

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    San Diego Padres shortstop Jason Bartlett could be on the move somewhere within the next two weeks.

    Bartlett, currently hitting .243 with 16 stolen bases, is arguably having the worst half of baseball in his eight-year career.

    Those numbers make the 31-year-old a great bargain buy.

    Bartlett has shown in the past that he's capable of stealing 30 bases and hitting close to .280 in any given season, so a change in scenery could do him wonders over the next three months.

    Not to mention the veteran shortstop is a career .277 hitter in the postseason, so he's more than capable of stringing together some important playoff hits.

    All in all, Bartlett is a great fit, an athletic position player, and his $4 million contract is no means out of this world expensive.

1. Rafael Furcal, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    The biggest problem in acquiring shortstop Rafael Furcal from the rival Los Angeles Dodgers is exactly that, prying him away from one of your most immediate enemies.

    Furcal would no doubt be one of the best case scenarios for the San Francisco Giants if they fail to land a big name like Jose Reyes.

    The 33-year-old has only recorded 74 at-bats in 2011 due to an injury plagued first half, but he remains one of the most talented hitters at the shortstop position.

    Furcal is a .300 hitter when healthy, offers great speed, serves as a solid lead-off hitter, and is still one of the best extra-base hit performers around.

    Considering the Dodgers are amidst a serious financial crisis, unloading a $13 million contract like Furcal's could be the deciding factor in unloading him within the division.

    Of course, the Giants would have to really covet his services in order to cash that check.