San Francisco Giants: Ranking the Club's Top 5 Trade Assets

Manny Randhawa@@MannyBal9Correspondent IIIJuly 19, 2011

San Francisco Giants: Ranking the Club's Top 5 Trade Assets

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    The San Francisco Giants have been a team that has generated some of the most trade buzz in the big leagues this season as they continue their quest to defend the World Series title.

    The Giants have a rich farm system that has churned out great talent such as Tim Lincecum, Buster Posey, and Madison Bumgarner to name just a few from the last four years.

    And now the question becomes: will the Giants sacrifice some of their future to bring a bat to San Francisco now?

    Let's take a look at some of the organization's highest-value trade assets ...

5. Gary Brown

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    Gary Brown, the Giants' first-round draft pick a year ago, has hit the ground running in Class-A San Jose this season.

    He's currently hitting .312 with seven home runs and 56 RBI in 88 games. His 24 doubles, six triples, and eye-popping 38 stolen bases thus far show just how versatile this guy is.

    Brown can hit for average and power, and has great speed. He's destined to make a quick rise through the minor leagues and could be at the big-league level by 2013.

    The question, of course is, whether he will make his major league debut as a Giant, given all of the trade buzz around the club as we approach the July 31 deadline, and San Francisco's need for offense.

    Brown would be a good pickup for anyone looking to build a future, and many teams that are active at the trading deadline usually are.

4. Nate Schierholtz

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    For the first time in his career, Nate Schierholtz is an everyday player.

    Unfortunately for him and the Giants, much of the reason that Schierholtz is in the lineup everyday is because of injuries to key teammates like Buster Posey.

    But Schierholtz has made the most of his chance to play more regularly, and is currently hitting .288 with seven home runs and 33 RBI in 240 at-bats this season.

    Schierholtz has always been a fantastic defensive right-fielder, and now that he is showing his ability to make consistent offensive contributions, he would be a valuable commodity for a club looking for help in the outfield.

    Since the Giants are looking for offense, however, and Schierholtz has been hitting so well that Manager Bruce Bochy has moved him into the cleanup spot for the past week or so, Schierholtz is less likely to move than some of the others on this list.

3. Zack Wheeler

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    Zack Wheeler is the latest in a long line of prized arms in the Giants farm system.

    With predecessors like Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner, that's quite a compliment.

    Wheeler has great stuff, as evidenced by his 95 strikeouts in just 82.2 innings pitched so far for Class-A San Jose this season.

    His 7-4 record and 3.70 ERA are not too shabby, but also not indicative of his true ability.

    The Giants have high hopes for this hard-throwing right-hander, but any trade talk that involves a proven offensive threat will inevitably involve the mention of Wheeler.

2. Brandon Belt

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    Brandon Belt has had a rough year involving a less-than-stellar few weeks in the big leagues, followed by demotion to Triple-A, followed by recall to San Francisco and an immediate injury that sent him back to Fresno for rehab.

    But Brandon Belt is still Brandon Belt, and is proving it with his bat.

    Belt has hit .344 with seven home runs and 33 RBI in 46 minor league games (42 for Fresno, 4 for Class-A San Jose). He's slugging .563 and has a .482 on-base percentage.

    The Giants are taking their time in recalling Belt to the big leagues, perhaps to make sure he's truly ready and has the confidence to perform well.

    But the fact still remains that Belt is a very high-value trade asset, and if San Francisco has an opportunity to bring a big bat to the club, Belt is always a trade possibility in spite of his prospects for a great future.

1. Jonathan Sanchez

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    The Jonathan Sanchez story is a curious one.

    He currently leads the majors in walks allowed (59). But with seven more innings pitched this season, he'd also be third in the National League in opponents' batting average (.212).

    Sanchez has had these issues throughout his career. He's got Cy-Young type stuff, yet he has never been able to put together a consistent season in which he has pitched up to his potential all year long.

    It remains a question mark whether Sanchez, who is currently on the 15-day disabled list for bicep tendinitis, will return to the starting rotation or take on a different role for the Giants down the stretch.

    It's also possible, however, that Sanchez is part of trade talks, as many teams would love to have his arm in their rotation.

The Trade Deadline Approaches

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    What Giants General Manager Brian Sabean is thinking right now is anyone's guess, and what he and the organization will do to bolster their championship defense this season remains to be seen.

    Knowing Sabean, the Giants will likely make a solid upgrade in some area of need, but not a blockbuster move.

    As July 31 approaches, speculation will start to morph into actual moves.