SF Giants Trade Rumors: 4 Prospects They May Move to Upgrade the Offense
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Want to torture yourself? Scour the web for "San Francisco Giant trade rumors," then try making sense of it all.
Take a target like the Mets' Carlos Beltran. One day, Giants GM Brian Sabean has the inside track on bringing Beltran to San Francisco. Next, it's the Braves. Refresh your browser, and it's the Rangers. Or Red Sox.
The Phillies are hot for Beltran. Oh, wait; they've cooled to the idea.
Even worse, every rumor is based on anonymous (but "solid") sources. Who knows how much "inside" information is disinformation meant to confuse potential competitors?
There's just as much speculation about which prospects the Giants are or aren't willing to surrender for a roster upgrade.
Some pundits say San Francisco would deal just about anyone except Zach Wheeler, Gary Brown or Brandon Belt.
(I've also heard Sabean won't give up Double-A affiliate Richmond's mascot, the Flying Squirrel. I think it sets the standard for angry-animal mascots; judge for yourself)
But, seriously, who would Sabean give up? There are dozens of possibilities and countless variables, including the diverse interests and needs of potential trade partners.
So, acknowledging that this is a very inexact science in an environment fueled by half-truths and a dose of paranoia, here are four Giants prospects who could be packing their bags in the next few days.
Dan Runzler: P, Fresno (Class AAA)
Runzler is young, strong and expendable
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Lefty hurler Dan Runzler wouldn't have made this list if not for recent speculation from San Francisco Giants beat reporter, author and blogger-extraordinaire Andy Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury-News.
Baggarly blogged Sunday that Runzler's name was popping up in numerous informal trade discussions involving the Giants.
On reflection, Runzler makes sense on several levels.
Strategically, the Giants are better situated to offer pitchers than position players. Their extraordinary pitching depth makes some of their arms expendable, and pitching is always a valuable trade commodity.
Pragmatically, Sabean knows he needs to conserve cash for upcoming contract negotiations with Matt Cain (signed through 2012), Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner (both with contracts expiring at season's end).
What makes Runzler attractive? He's a young (26 this year) lefty with a power arm and major league experience (70 innings over portions of three seasons) and eye-popping stuff (66 K's in 61 innings).
Used as a middle and long relief specialist in San Francisco, Runzler has been experimenting as a starter for Triple-A Fresno. As Baggarly notes, Runzler's iffy stats (5.16 ERA, 1.71 WHIP) belie his potential to be an effective late-inning specialist or closer.
Francisco Peguero: OF, Richmond (Class AA)
Peguero's a classic B-grade asset who could be part of a deal
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Peguero's name continues to surface as an asset that Sabean would deal under the right circumstances.
Coleman and John Sickels of minorleagueball.com praise Peguero's arm, speed and offensive potential.
The 23-year-old outfielder also fits this theoretical bill: a talented-yet-expendable asset of sufficient value to clubs (like the Mets and Astros) determined to salvage something for free-agents-to-be (like Beltran and Hunter Pence).
Given the Giants' own dicey outfield situation, it's fair to wonder if Peguero might be worth keeping. Something tells you Sabean won't lose sleep over giving up a guy in his sixth year with the organization who's risen no farther than Double-A.
Adam Duvall: 3B, Augusta (Class A)
Duvall rakes; he also appears to use a rake for his glove
There are two prospects in Augusta worth our attention. One is an intriguing trade asset; the other is just intriguing. A few words on him, first.
He's a 22-year-old right-handed reliever, drafted in the 20th round in 2010 out of the University of Kansas. In his first full minor league season, he's posted eye-popping numbers: 24.2 innings: 33 K/6 BB; 1.82 ERA; 0.65 WHIP.
His name? Brett Bochy. (no idea of his hat size) His name hasn't surfaced in trade rumors, but the kid's got excellent baseball DNA. Keep an eye on him.
The trade prospect is another 2010 draftee (11th round): Adam Duvall. I'm intrigued (a little) because my favorite crab cake recipe is "Mrs. Duvall's," but mostly because of his jarring stats.
Duvall has been devouring South Atlantic League pitching: .291 BA, 20 HR, 76 RBI, 49 BB/76K in 95 games.
A middle-infielder at the University of Louisville, Duvall is playing 3B for Augusta.
I characterized his stats as "jarring," It wasn't meant to suggest "all good."
While devouring single-A pitchers (and possibly the training table), balls have eaten up Duvall at third base. He's committed 25 errors.
That puts the 22-year-old among a very small cadre of professional baseball players whose OPS (.938) exceeds his fielding percentage (.902).
My theory: a big bat/poor glove guy like Duvall might especially intrigue an American League club. The fading White Sox appear ready to unload expiring contracts.
Carlos Quentin's contract with the Sox expires this year, but he could be controlled through at least 2012 if the club acquiring him offers a new deal or agrees to arbitration. Wouldn't the former Stanford star look nice in orange and black?
Heath Hembree: P, Richmond (Class AA)
Hembree has the makings of a closer - for someone
Rumors persist that the Giants are going to hold onto certain elite pitching prospects—Zach Wheeler and possibly lefty Eric Surkamp—even if doing so costs them a chance at a difference-making hitter.
That leaves other highly-regarded arms in their minor league system who could be attractive to the Mets, Astros and other likely trade-deadline sellers.
One of those arms belongs to Heath Hembree, a 6'4", 210-pound right-handed reliever with closer potential.
Keith Law of espn.com included the 22-year-old Hembree, a 2010 fifth-round draftee, in his preseason list of 30 sleeper prospects to watch in 2011.
Law took note that Hembree struck out 22 of the 41 hitters he faced in last fall's Arizona instructional league—hitting 98 mph regularly—while walking none.
After dominating in Class-A at San Jose (0.73 ERA, 21 saves, 44K's in 24.2 innings), Hembree was recently promoted to Class-AA Richmond.
His ERA has skyrocketed, largely due to one bad inning in which he allowed four runs. Discounting that appearance, Hembree's talent is still evident: he's accumulated nine saves, 18 K, and a paltry .205 BA against in 13 appearances.
With Brian Wilson under contract through 2012 and essentially locked up through 2013 (via arbitration or a contract extension), Hembree may be expendable. And, he might be attractive to the Mets, who have already traded their closer and have a bat (Beltran) many experts believe the Giants covet.