Adding Freddy Sanchez and Adam LaRoche to Giants Would Be a San Francisco Treat

Kevin O'BrienCorrespondent IJuly 20, 2009

NEW YORK - MAY 09:  Adam LaRoche #25 of the Pittsburgh Pirates bats against the New York Mets on May 9, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Pirates 10-1.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Last weekend's three-game set against the Pirates was a series of signs for the San Francisco Giants.

After only scoring five runs (four of them coming in one inning) and going 1-2 against Pittsburgh at PNC Park, despite solid pitching all around from Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito, and Matt Cain, it was obvious that the Giants' hitters had cooled off a little bit after the break.

Aaron Rowand's 0-for-12 catastrophe against the Bucs was also a sign that the Giants might need to retool the batting order.

As hard as it is to say, simply because the move helped spark the run we had in June, Rowand just simply isn't getting the job done anymore at the top of the order.

Some events that didn't involve the Giants, however, could be signs for some future changes on this team as the Giants approach the July 31 Trade Deadline.

According to various sources, the Pirates have apparently ended negotiations with Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez about extending their contracts.

Basically, this maneuver probably means that at least one (most likely both) of those guys is going to be gone by the trade deadline.

While this is disheartening for Pirates fans, who have had to undergo consistent losing with this franchise since Barry Bonds departed for San Francisco, this could be big news for a Giants team that has been looking to upgrade offensively all season.

There are some rumors floating around that the Giants are trying to pan out a deal for Sanchez and first baseman Adam LaRoche in exchange for Kevin Frandsen, Travis Ishikawa, and Triple-A pitcher Kevin Pucetas.

Such a trade would be huge for the Giants and their chances in terms of making the playoffs.

First off, we know what Sanchez can bring to the table. I have been a big fan of his, and I advocated a trade for him before when there were rumors the Giants were first interested in dealing for him.

He is a consistent bat, wields a great glove, has good speed, and has a veteran presence and personality that would mesh well in this already great Giant clubhouse.

While Juan Uribe has been surprising at second base this season, the best role down the road for him would be as a utility infielder coming in to spell guys off the bench.

The real wild card of this trade, however, has to be LaRoche, the 29-year-old vet who is batting .244 with 12 home runs and 39 RBI this season.

LaRoche currently is mired in a 2-for-35 slump that has caused his average to take a 22-point dive in the last couple of weeks.

However, a change of scenery could spark LaRoche, who has been in the middle of trade talks since Pittsburgh traded center fielder Nate McLouth.

Being in that kind of situation ultimately takes its toll, and being traded would finally put him at ease, knowing that he won't be doing any more moving for the rest of the season.

In terms of what he can do on the field, LaRoche in some ways is the kind of guy the Giants need on this team. While he is a high strikeout guy (he has struck out 128, 131, and 122 times the last three seasons respectively and already has 80 this season), his hitting numbers more than make up for it.

Since 2005, he has never had fewer than 20 home runs and 78 RBI.

When you look at it closely, LaRoche pretty much is a slightly older and slightly better version of Ishikawa.

That being said, experience could be the factor in whether or not we make the playoffs, and that's why relying so heavily on Ishikawa could be disastrous down the stretch.

As much as the guy has improved, Ishikawa still remains a work in progress. He still struggles against certain pitches, and he too often is overmatched against the better pitchers in the league.

That is not exactly the kind of guy the Giants should want in the lineup on a consistent basis with a playoff berth on the line.

Thus, losing him for a rent-a-player such as LaRoche would not be that big a loss.

Furthermore, with prospects like Angel Villalona developing in the minors, and John Bowker developing himself at the big league level, the Giants certainly could handle Ishikawa's absence come next season when LaRoche probably finds another team.

Therefore, if this so-called trade rumor rings true, there is no reason why the Giants should not pursue this deal.

The Giants upgrade at two positions, and they lose essentially no one in return.

Giants fans are deathly afraid that we would lose pitching prospects Madison Bumgarner and/or Tim Alderson should a trade deadline deal occur.

We are also scared that we would lose Jonathan Sanchez as well, who is needed in the rotation with Randy Johnson injured and is starting to turn a corner after his no-hitter on July 10 against the Padres (we'll see how far he's come tonight against the Braves).

Yet with this deal, the Giants organization wouldn't lose any of those players that we Giants fans prize so much.

Rather, the guys we do lose are easily replaceable.

Sure, it would be sad to lose a guy like Frandsen, who has had plenty of ups and downs with this Giants organization. Yet with Uribe already holding down the fort at second base currently, Frandsen really is no better than a platoon player on this squad.

As for Pucetas, with a crowded rotation and good prospects coming up, he would be better served on a different team.

Giants GM Brian Sabean and Pirates GM Neal Huntington have to pull the trigger on this trade. The need for more offense has not been something that just the fans have been harping about, but the media as well.

On Sunday, Baseball Tonight's Peter Gammons was adamant about how the Giants needed to get a hitter if this team wanted to be a real playoff threat.

This deal would silence Gammons and the rest of the critics who have been hard on Sabean about the team's lack of offense.

The arrival of Sanchez and LaRoche in the Bay Area would immediately give the Giants two things they have been missing since Spring Training started in February: a legitimate leadoff hitter and a power threat.

With those holes filled, the Giants become a complete team that has what it takes to be contenders, not only in the summer for that playoff berth, but in October, when the playoffs begin, as well.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.