Are the San Francisco Giants Going to Make a Deal for Freddy Sanchez?

Kevin O'BrienCorrespondent IJuly 5, 2009

PITTSBURGH - APRIL 13: Freddy Sanchez #12 of the Pittsburgh Pirates gets ready infield during the Opening Day game against the Houston Astros at PNC Park on April 13, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

According to San Francisco Chronicle writer Henry Schulman, the San Francisco Giants have just demoted Matt Downs to Fresno, and have reactivated Rich Aurilia from bereavement leave following the Giants' 9-0 win on Saturday over the Houston Astros.

This is big news because what it means now is that the Giants roster is full of extra arms, and is saddled with an incredible shortage of position players.

Currently, the only extra infielder off the bench is Aurilia, who at this point in his career is only suited to play first base.

That lack of depth in the infield is alarming, because Aurilia physically is not able to be an adequate backup at shortstop to Edgar Renteria, at third base to Pablo Sandoval, or at second base to Juan Uribe.

And the worst part? All those players listed are suspect defensively.

To make matters worse, the Giants don't have much choice in the matter due to the lack of minor league options many of their players have.

Travis Ishikawa, Fred Lewis, Merkin Valdez, and even Andres Torres would be prime candidates to be sent down, but cannot be demoted easily because they are out of minor league options.

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In order to be sent down, they would need to be designated for assignment, an action where the Giants would run the risk of losing those players altogether.

Furthermore, the players that do have minor league options left aren't exactly the players the Giants want to send back down to Fresno either.

Ryan Sadowski has earned a spot in the Giants rotation after two great outings. Eli Whiteside is the only Giants backup catcher, as Sandoval's days of playing behind the plate look to be done unless Bengie Molina gets injured.

And Jonathan Sanchez? Well, if the Giants want to get any trade value with him, they have to show that he can pitch against Major League hitters, not Pacific Coast League batters.

Basically, the Giants are in a bind. They have more pitchers than they need, but they don't have a lot of options when it comes in terms of what to do with them.

So what does this mean for the Giants, and what is Brian Sabean supposed to do?

According to Schulman, who heard from a team source, the Giants are looking into a deal for Pittsburgh Pirates' second baseman Freddy Sanchez.

Sanchez, a former All-Star in 2006, is batting .316 with six home runs, five stolen bases, 33 RBI and has a .355 OBP.

The Giants are also entertaining offers from the Pirates for first baseman Adam LaRoche according to a non-team source, Schulman said in the article.

LaRoche is currently batting .266 with 12 home runs and 39 RBI.

Yet for the most part, Sanchez seems to be the main guy the Giants are making a serious run for.

It makes sense. With Downs back in AAA and Uribe now penciled in as the starting second baseman for the time being, this may be the opportunity that the Giants have been waiting for.

Manager Bruce Bochy has been looking for answers at the second base position all year long.

Despite a stellar spring training, Emmanuel Burriss struggled in his tenure as starting second baseman and was sent back down to Fresno to work on his swing.

Kevin Frandsen and Downs both had short stints to prove they were worthy of being considered for the position, but neither provided much spark in the lineup offensively.

And even though Uribe is serviceable, his inconsistency doesn't exactly make him an ideal candidate for the Giants down the stretch. If anything, Uribe would be better suited as a utility infielder rather than an everyday one.

Sanchez, on the other hand, gives the Giants a solid defensive second baseman that is a more consistent, above-average hitting threat than anybody they currently have at the position.

Is he the power hitter the fans (including myself) have been clamoring for?

Not exactly, but as of now, there don't seem to be any real cleanup hitters available on the market, and there's a possibility there won't be either.

Jermaine Dye looks as if he is going to be in a White Sox uniform for the rest of the season, and Nick Johnson of the Nationals is barely an upgrade offensively over Ishikawa.

Getting Sanchez may be the only move the Giants might be able to make for the time being. And it's a safe one to boot, for he doesn't have a straining contract situation should the Giants pick him up.

The only problem with this deal however is that the Pirates are going to demand some pieces, which begs Giants fans to ask:

Who do they want?

According to the Bucs Dugout, a Pittsburgh Pirates fan blog, pitcher Jonathan Sanchez seems to be one of the main cogs in the deal. The Pirates are desperate for arms, and Sanchez would have a chance to start, especially after the team just released starting pitcher Ian Snell.

Yet Pirates fans aren't exactly sold on Jonathan completely. Because of his poor start and his inconsistency over his career, many fans in Pittsburgh aren't optimistic about the idea of a Sanchez for Sanchez straight-up deal.

Therefore, in order for the Giants to get the Pirates' Sanchez, they may not only have to give up their own Sanchez, but somebody else, whoever it may be.

Of course, the Pirates may not exactly be asking for as much as we think. They gave away Nate McLouth this year for practically nothing to Atlanta, and just a week ago they traded Nyjer Morgan to Washington for Lastings Milledge, a player who underachieved and was back in AAA.

The Pirates may not ask for our hot shot prospects like Bumgarner and Villalona like we all fear. They might just ask for Sanchez and an expiring contract.

Because as of this moment, the Pirates don't seem to be looking to upgrade. Instead, they seem to be looking to shed whatever they can, regardless of what they can get in return.

Sanchez may not be the power hitting answer Giants fans want, and at 31, he's not exactly young either.

Yet with the wildly unpredictable Uribe continue to get the starting nod at second, and Aurilia as our only backup infielder on the active roster, this may be a deal the Giants might have to make.

However, if he can provide the same solid defense and same consistent hitting in San Francisco that he has shown this season in Pittsburgh, maybe the deal might not be as bad as we all think.

He can be a guy that can bring stability to a position that hasn't had any since Ray Durham was traded to Milwaukee a season ago.

And if we can get that kind of player for Jonathan Sanchez and a spare part?

Well, let's just say the Giants' playoff hopes just got a whole lot rosier.

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