Forty-seven home games. Forty-seven sellouts.
While on the surface that may read as, “Oh, the Giants won the World Series”, GM Brian Sabean and the rest of the front office view that as financial flexibility.
The Giants are buyers, baby.
Despite the fact that the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants lead the NL West by four games, GM Sabean knows that some key midsummer transactions will be necessary for the team to make another serious threat at the title in 2011. After the deadline acquisitions of Cody Ross and Javier Lopez in 2010, Giants fans are eager to see who joins the orange and black this time.
With one week left until the trade deadline, here’s a look at a few trade rumors that have come out of San Francisco this week:
Last Tuesday, the Giants made their first move of the summer, acquiring second baseman Jeff Keppinger from the Houston Astros for prospects Henry Sosa and Jason Stoffel.
The 31-year old Keppinger has had a solid 2011 campaign so far, posting a .301 batting average while providing solid defense. While Keppinger may not be the most sexy move for the Giants, he's a clear upgrade at 2B and can serve as a super-utility, playing all four infield positions once/if Freddy Sanchez returns.
In return, the Giants gave up 25-year old right-hander Henry Sosa, a once highly-touted prospect who was the Giants' representative at the 2007 XM Futures Game, but has since been road blocked the high minors. In an attempt to get him up to the big-leagues, Sosa was given the opportunity to become a reliever at Triple-A Fresno and imploded to the tune of a 10.41 ERA and 2.40 WHIP over 17 games.
Jason Stoffel, a 22-year old relief pitching prospect has shown the ability to close out games over the last two seasons but struggles with his command (4.3 BB/9 in 2010 and 4.5 in 2011) has scouts concerned about his potential as a big-league reliever.
Rumors have floated around all week of proposed trade packages, however talks have not seemed to advance very far although many reporters still consider San Francisco the favorites.
To update: the Giants have made it clear that they are both willing and able to take on the $6M remaining on Beltran’s contract which expires at the end of the season. Typically, once a team takes on salary, the value of the player added in return lessens substantially.
The Mets are still asking for Zack Wheeler, Brandon Belt or Gary Brown.
Even if New York had taken the entire salary, the Giants top three prospects would almost certainly be off limits for a rental player like Beltran.
Since then, it was reported by Yahoo’s Jeff Passan that the Mets’ top scout, Roy Smith, has been scouting Giants' minor leaguers with Passan reporting that Double-A CF Francisco Peguero may be a more realistic target, a trade that I speculated last week in an article discussing Beltran’s trade value here on B/R.
Likelihood that Deal Gets Done: 75%
While Cabrera’s 12 homers, 57 RBIs and 15 steals would all lead the team, the Giants have capable outfielders in Cody Ross, Andres Torres and Nate Schierholtz and I doubt Sabena makes a move for another unless they outright command a position. Cabrera has certainly outperformed Ross, Torres and Schierholtz through the first 100 games, but would not be guaranteed an everyday postion as would someone like Carlos Beltran, Hunter Pence or BJ Upton.
The lack of chatter on this move has me thinking that it was far more speculation than rumor.
Likelihood that Deal Gets Done: 5%
With Carlos Beltran rumors hogging the limelight, no updates have surfaced regarding a ‘Pudge Rodriguez to the San Francisco Giants’ trade since last Sunday.
Rodriguez was expected to come off of the disabled list earlier this weekend, however reports indicate that the 39-year old veteran is still a few weeks out from returning after suffering a setback taking batting practice last week.
Rodriguez would certainly be an upgrade over the current trinity of Eli Whiteside, Chris Stewart and Hector Sanchez, and he likely would be available with Washington out of the race and Wilson Ramos playing well, however the deal looks dead due to the injury concerns.
Likelihood that Deal Gets Done: 5%
In a surprising story, it was reported yesterday by Yahoo’s Jeff Passan that Washington Nationals’ shortstop Ian Desmond was being “actively shopped.”
The Giants’ middle-infield woes this season have been well documented, and the team would love to add the 25-year-old shortstop. However, Desmond is viewed as a centerpiece in Washington alongside 2B Danny Espinosa, and it is more likely the Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo is simply gauging Desmond’s trade value due to the emergence of 22-year-old prospect Stephen Lombardozzi.
Note: The Giants hired former Nationals manager Jim Riggleman as a special assignment scout recently.
Likelihood that Deal Gets Done: 5 percent