Taking a week long break from baseball can leave you feeling refreshed. We all love the game — living and dieing most nights by the final score — but sometimes, over the long grind of a season, it’s nice to take a step back and unwind a little. It helps to put things in the proper perspective. Of course, coming back to the Giants as they play some of their best baseball on the year is a nice thing, too.
While on vacation — and absent any sort of TV or website-checking device — I wondered; had the Giants made any deals? It seems clear at 56-43 and heading into the trade deadline, the Giants are poised to make a couple of moves. Most reports state that the team is looking for a LHP and another bat to add to the lineup. I’m not necessarily a Sabean-basher or supporter, but the general idea of Brian Sabean wheeling and dealing makes me slightly nervous. Yet, the team is certain to make a move and with their current record, it’s not an outlandish idea.
Ignoring the potential LHP acquisition — Will Ohman seems acceptable if cheap — let’s talk about a few hitters the Giants have been linked to.
* Jose Guillen, OF – I love the idea of picking up an outfielder and moving Huff back to 1B. It improves the overall defense and it should keep Huff fresh. However, Jose Guillen is not the outfielder you are looking for. Guillen has had a resurgent year at the plate (.347 wOBA) after posting a .304 wOBA in an injury plagued 2009 campaign. Despite advanced medical skills, Guillen isn’t a good bet to actually help the Giants. Never a strong fielder, Guillen is more of a DH these days. He’s unlikely to be an upgrade over Burrell and he’ll cost prospects in a trade. Mega-pass on Guillen.
*Jorge Cantu, “3B/1B” – Cantu is a little like Guillen in the fact that he’s an average-ish hitter with a cast-iron skillet for a glove. He’s logged over 2,600 career innings at 3B to go with a -14.8 UZR/15o . That’s not good. Cantu’s down year this season on offense (.315 wOBA) should drive down his price. But with his skill-set, I’m not sure why the Giants would really want him. Pass.
*Corey Hart, OF – My original Do Not Want. If the Brewers are smart, they’ll sell high on Hart. Hart’s career has had an up-and-down flight path. He was a 4-win player in ’07 when he posted a .380 wOBA. He followed up his breakout ’07 with back-to-back disappointing years — 1.1 wins in ’08 and 0.7 wins in ’09. Hart is on pace for another 4+ win season (currently sitting at 2.1 wins) as the result of a huge power surge. He’s hitting nearly 70 points of ISO over his career average (.277 vs .209). Hart’s power is legit and he’s always show the ability to drive the ball but his plate approach (6.6% career walk-rate) is below average. He’s not a particularly strong defender, either. Because Hart is having a good year, he’s going to cost more than Guillen or Cantu. He’s a better player, but most discussions with the Brewers seem to indicate that they want Jonathan Sanchez. Filling one hole by digging another doesn’t seem like a solid strategy for the Giants. Pass on Hart for a couple of reasons.
So, really, my strategy is that I don’t want the Giants to do anything. Or at least, not make moves for any of the above three players. That’s easy to say, but the Giants are in a position where they probably should upgrade the team. The problem with Guillen/Cantu is that neither is an upgrade. Hart’s price should scare away the Giants and Brian Sabean has stated he’s not going to trade a SP in the major league rotation. For all his warts, Adam Dunn is semi-interesting. He’s having another solid season (.396 wOBA, 3 WAR) and his defense at 1B — by UZR and some other metrics — seems to be non-horrible this year. The Nats might be willing to move him, but like Hart, he could be expensive. Though, after the recent Dan Haren trade, you never know.
Comment Starter: Your ideal trade target, please.