(I hate trade posts. Most of them fall into Bleacher Report-styled musings, so I’m sorry for doing this to you.)
The Giants find themselves at 53-42 and 1.5 games up in the National League West. The team, coming off a pretty successful road trip, has gone 7-3 in their last 10 games and looks to continue to build upon their successful first half. The offense, as ranked by wRC+, is 10th in the NL; the starting pitching, as ranked by FIP, 5th in the NL; and the bullpen, as ranked by FIP, is ranked 2nd in the NL. As we’ve seen over the past few years, the Giants excel in pitching, but often struggle in hitting. This is called “Giants.”
Brian Sabean has shown himself to an astute trader around the deadline over the past few years; he’s often traded for supplemental talent, and Carlos Beltran notwithstanding, the Giants always seem to go the incremental upgrade route instead of swinging for the fences. So, with that in mind, the Giants seem poised to do something but it raises the question of what they might do.
What I’ve decide to do is rank several trade targets in order of most likely to least likely. The higher the rank, the more likely the Giants will look to improve in that area; the lower, the less likely. The MLB trading deadline is officially July 31, 2012 at 4:00 PM EST.
1. The bullpen
I was a little surprised to see the Giants’ bullpen rank so highly — #2 in the NL by FIP; #5 by xFIP – but upgrading the bullpen seems like a near lock. Results aside, the Giants’ bullpen has been up-and-down this season, and if it’s something the Giants prefer, it is bullpen stability. Santiago Casilla has pitched well at times, but has also had his share of issues; Sergio Romo is his usual awesome self, but the team seems wary to push his workload too high; and other pitchers like Brad Penny, Clay Hensley, and Javier Lopez have pitched decently, but none are the kind of players you want to pitch in high-leveraged situations.
Prediction: The Giants pick up a hilarious fat guy to add some stability to the bullpen. Think Jonathan Broxton or Francisco Cordero.
Odds: 85% chance
2. Adding something resembling a hitter to the bench
Scenario: You’re Bruce Bochy. It’s late in an important game and you’ve got a runner on second with two outs and down by a run. Your pitcher’s spot is up. You look to your bench for a pinch hitter. You lock eyes with Emmanuel Burriss. Burriss starts to slowly, and silently, mouth the words “let me hit coaaaaaaach.” You start to sweat profusely. You nervously shift in your seat. Your heart starts to pound in your chest. You think “this is the big one” and glance around some more. You black out briefly. You cruelly wake up in time to see Burriss hitting, taking a mighty cut, and blasting a ball to deep shortstop.
Red foam starts to shoot out of your mouth.
Prediction: The Giants try to add someone that can hit the ball more than 250 feet. Think [anyone goes here].
Odds: 75% chance
3. Do something silly; trade for a third baseman
The Giants have the patience of a three-year-old when it comes to developing their hitters. If you don’t roll into the majors hitting .300, well, back to the minors with you! It’s clear that the team is growing pretty tired of Brandon … sorry he just struck out … Brandon Bel … he just took a strike three looking … Brandon Belt’s season. We’re all pro-Belt on the blog, but that doesn’t make us immune to his struggles, either. To say that Belt has struggled lately would be an understatement.
However, let me quickly recite my Belt position. I keep a small card in my wallet with my official stance on Belt.
- He’s got a chance to be a good player.
- He’s better than all the other options right now.
/folds card back up, places in wallet
I honestly have no idea what the “right” thing to do with Belt is. I think it’s clear that he needs to play every day, somewhere, but I’m still not sure AAA is the right place. He’s always hit at AAA; he needs work in the majors. But, the Giants aren’t in a position, either, to let Belt take his lumps. The team is firmly in “WIN NOW” mode*.
*Quick note: I personally think you can develop and win at the same time, but that’s for another day.
So, circling back, it’s possible that the Giants could try to add a third baseman, moving Sandoval across the diamond to first, a position where he has played 61 career games. That, in its simplest form, isn’t a totally crazy idea; however, there’s a good chance that the Giants will move Sandoval to first base anyway to get Joaquin Arias’ bat in the lineup. And, if that happens, it will be terrible.
Prediction: More Joaquin Arias.
Odds: Oh god please no
Comment starter: Your silly trade scenarios