With the MLB trade deadline looming, it’s time to take a look at each contender’s needs and provide potential solutions for those needs. We at Bareknucks.com will take a look at a few of the top teams in each league, evaluate the weaknesses in each roster, and look at the options available to strengthen those weaknesses.
The San Francisco Giants find themselves sitting in second place behind the MLB’s best team in terms of record, the Los Angeles Dodgers, in the NL West. Despite having the second best winning percentage in the National League, it seems the only road to October for the Giants is going to come via a Wild Card birth. The Giants do, however, seem to be the frontrunner at the moment for that Wild Card spot, a very surprising fact given the questions surrounding this team entering 2009. With arguably the NL’s best 1-2 punch in Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain at the front end of the starting rotation, it’s difficult to see this team fading anytime soon.
Rookie of the Year favorite Pablo Sandoval has had an enormous impact on an offense that really lacks any consistent threat. It is the offense that is the biggest weakness in this club, and is the reason behind many trade rumors surrounding San Francisco’s management and its inquiries regarding a few available bats around the league. Aside from Sandoval, who is hitting .327, no other player with more than 130 at-bats this season is hitting over .300. The top three homerun hitters in this lineup have only combined for around 30 home runs heading into the mid-way point of the season (Albert Pujols laughs at this). With this and the considerable strength of their starting rotation considered, it’s easy to see that if this team needs anything, it’s another bat. And make no mistake, if they want to contend come October, they need that bat.
The outfield really has no holes, forcing the Giants to attempt to replace someone in that infield. What better place to start than the first base position. Currently playing first base for San Francisco are Travis Ishikawa and Rich Aurilla, neither has managed to hit better than .260 through the first 70-plus games of the season. Luckily, there’s a great first base option available in trade talks right now, and you can bet the Giants have already inquired about the man I’m referring to.
Possible solutions: The Washington Nationals are certainly not in any position to contend for anything this season, or in years to come for that matter. Therefore Nick Johnson has been said to be available, and Johnson is a perfect fit for the Giants’ offensive needs. Nick is hitting just under .300 this season and has a lot of pop in that bat. He’s a solid defender, but his bat is what is really interesting to the Giants. With an outfield featuring Aaron Rowand, Fred Lewis, Randy Winn, and Nate Schierholtz, they have enough depth to move one of the four.
Schierholtz fits perfectly with what the Nationals could potentially be looking for. He’s still relatively young at the age of 25, and he has already proven he can handle major league pitching. Currently hitting .307 for San Francisco, he can help provide the Nationals with the youth that they so deeply covet. Johnson is getting older, and he is not going to help this team get to where they need to be while surrounded by the current youth movement. A package deal including Schierholtz and a few prospects for Johnson makes sense for both sides. It would help the Nationals down the road and would make the Giants a serious threat in the National League right away. [Sports News and Analysis with Humor - Bareknucks.com]