Can the San Francisco Giants Afford Their Much-Needed Holliday?

Andy Bensch@@AndyBenschSenior Writer IJuly 19, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 11:  Matt Holliday #5 of the Oakland Athletics bats against the Minnesota Twins during a Major League Baseball game on June 11, 2009 at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

With the San Francisco Giants hanging onto the Wild Card lead by their shoe laces (or more like dental floss), it is important to understand the importance of a what a new bat could do for this lineup.

Even though San Francisco has the talent to reach the post-season without making a move, it appears as if their inexperience may prevent that from happening.

While players such as Pablo Sandoval, Nate Schierholtz, and Travis Ishikawa are all exceeding expectations, the Giants' offense clearly could use one more seasoned hitter.

However, even though Pittsburgh's Freddy Sanchez and Washington's Nick Johnson are quality hitters, acquiring either one would not be able to put the Giants over the top.

If the Giants want to put themselves over the top, they need to make a move to acquire a middle-of-the-order bat, and the guy to get is none other than Oakland's Matt Holliday.

With Holliday in the Giants' lineup, the middle of the order would become extremely lethal. In theory, San Francisco would have a 3-6 portion of Sandoval, Holliday, Molina, and Schierholtz.

The move would instantly make the Giants the favorites to win the Wild Card, and give them a much better shot at catching the Dodgers. Despite the Giants currently leading the Wild Card, they are definitely not the favorites with their current crop of hitters.

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But a trade that brings Holliday to San Francisco makes the most sense. Oakland GM Billy Beane is known for trading away his marquee talent for prospects, and currently the Giants have a farm system loaded with prospects.

Not only that, but Holliday would be returning to the division in which he has spent the overwhelming majority of his career.

Knowing his success in the NL West throughout his career, you can throw out his sub-par first half with Oakland where he hit .276 with eight home runs and 43 RBI.

Those offensive numbers won't even come close to the numbers Holliday can put up against National League pitching.

And one thing Giants fans will be very happy to know is that Holliday is a career .348 hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Now, the problem with trading for Holliday is that the Oakland left-fielder is in his contract year, and the Giants have had a history for giving up talented minor leaguers for "rent-a-players".

Therefore, before this deal is to be made, one of two things would need to happen.

1) Billy Beane signs Holliday to a contract extension prior to the trade


2) Sabean makes it clear to the Giants fan base that he will do everything in his power to keep Holliday around after the season.

Now, with the Giants currently set in the outfield with Aaron Rowand, Randy Winn, and Nate Schierholtz, a deal would have to include one these three players.

But you can bet good money that Brian Sabean is not going to deal away Nate Schierholtz, who has proven to be the Giants' best option in right-field in a very short time.

With that in mind, the best deal for the Giants would be to part ways with Aaron Rowand's hefty contract.

A package with Rowand, Angel Villalona, and Tim Alderson would probably be more than enough for the A's to give up Holliday.

However, this move would probably not be popular amongst the die-hard Giants fan base who follows the minor leagues closely.

Tim Alderson is on track to become an ace in the major leagues, and Angel Villalona is an 18-year-old power-hitting first baseman.

But in reality, the Giants have very little minor league outfield talent, and the talent they do have is still at Single-A San Jose, and not predicted to reach the big club anytime soon.

Therefore, making a move for a proven everyday left-fielder who can play for years to come is a deal the Giants ought to seriously consider.

With Villalona still a good three-five years away from the Major Leagues, this move makes perfect sense for the Giants.

Even though they would be giving up two grade-A prospects, they would be getting a big time cleanup hitter without giving up their top-two prospects in catcher Buster Posey and pitcher Madison Bumgarner.

As a Giants fan, wouldn't the opportunity to see a lineup including Sandoval, Holliday, Posey, and Schierholtz and a rotation including Lincecum, Bumgarner, Cain, and Sanchez outweigh waiting for Villalona?

Currently, the Giants are looking for Buster Posey to be their everyday catcher next season, but is Posey ready to be "the guy" in the Giants lineup? Is he ready to take over the cleanup spot from Bengie Molina?

Obviously it is nice to have two talented young pitchers in Bumgarner and Alderson, because, as the saying goes, "you can never have enough good pitching."

However, the Giants' starting rotation is already the best in baseball without these two young studs, so clearly giving up one of them in a trade would not hinder the Giants' chances to win over the next few years.

But if they can get a proven clean-up hitter in return, wouldn't that be the way to go?

Posey will be a rookie next season, and throwing him into the fire as the cleanup hitter might not work out so well, but if he can hit fifth behind Holliday the pressure would be significantly decreased.

Of course, this move all depends on whether or not Holliday were to sign an extension to stay in San Francisco, because giving up Alderson and Villalona for a rent-a-player would be a horrid trade.

However, if Holliday were to sign an extension, this move would work out for both teams.

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