You know, I usually end up in last place because of my personal reluctance to trade based on hot and cold streaks. Like in real life, I figure you shouldn’t do that too much, but I probably could get a bit better at it.
But the Giants…well, there you’ve got a next season to be thinking about. But is it time to give up on this season? And is there anything people want in trade?
Well, the answer to the second question is clearly yes. So, should they?
I’m going to avoid that question. This team is a hot streak away from getting back into it, but geeze, at times they don’t look like they can get it together for that hot streak.
So, who can the Giants trade realistically? I’m looking at players who have contracts up in the next two years, since the Giants aren’t in a full rebuilding mold. And I’ll get the two easy ones out of the way first.
Barry Zito – $6M remaining this year, club option for 2014 ($7M buyout)
Yeah, not happening. Not at that financial price, not at his production this year.
Ryan Vogelsong – $1.5M remaining this year, club option for 2014 for $6.5M (.3M buyout)
Not happening, not with Vogelsong coming off an injury.
Tim Lincecum – $6.6M remaining this year
Well, here’s the controversial one. Do you trade away the multi-Cy Young winning, Multi-World Series winning, former face of the franchise, and perhaps most relevantly recent no-hitter thrower?
Well, some teams are interested. Detroit openly wants to consider him as a reliever. Others may want to see about him as a starter. But more than anyone else, the Giants will face a blowback from fans for trading him away. It may make some sense, especially since many seem to have the feeling he’s unlikely to come back to San Francisco next season. Throw in that many players have problems after extending their innings for a big game, and Lincecum looked awful in his first start after the no-hitter, and I wouldn’t see this happening. Even if it might, I doubt he’ll get back the prospects worth getting.
Javier Lopez – $1.275M remaining this year
Now we’re talking. Lopez is a lefty reliever, so his impact is limited. He was a deadline trade to the Giants in 2010, and he has been a huge part of the bullpen since then. This season, he’s had arguably his best season: a 1.48 ERA, 7 holds this season with a team in a tough position, a career-low 1.18 WHIP, a career-best 2.14 groundball/flyball ratio, and he’s only let 5 of 39 inherited runners score.
Bullpen help is always in demand, and even if they don’t get the highest prices. Lopez is probably one of the best relief options possibly available at the deadline: 7 seasons of reliability with only one injury-blip mixed in there, and clutch experience with two World Series championships. If the Giants decide to turn into sellers, they could get a really good piece out of him.
Hunter Pence – $4.14M remaining this year
Here’s an intriguing one. Pence has been traded at two straight deadlines, could he move at a third? The Pittsburgh Pirates are one team who has been expressly interested. Right handed outfield bats are always worth something. But Pence, while starting out hot, is having only a so-so year, although he’s expanded his game with stolen bases (14 for 14 this season).
Still, he’s a player with World Series experience, and probably the most visible clubhouse presence that you’ll see in a position player available at the deadline. He could get the Giants at least one very good prospect back in trade, and the Giants would be foolish to not at least listen to offers.
There’s another thing to consider here, as well: if there’s any position players in Fresno worth auditioning for 2013, it’s in the outfield. Francisco Peguero, who just came back from a concussion, consistently has had good numbers in Fresno that are hard to ignore. Juan Perez continues to play well down there, even after struggling with a little exposure to the majors. Roger Kieschnick is bouncing back from a cold June, and has a .824 OPS this season. And Gary Brown, former top prospect, is lurking there. Making room for some auditions for next year isn’t the worst idea in the world.
Chad Gaudin – $225K remaining this year
Here you go: this is the stealth trade target. Clearly having a career year, working both out of the bullpen and being very effective as a spot starter. He’ll be almost no impact on a team’s financials, his arm hasn’t been all that taxed as a starter, and he’s a free agent at the end of the year, so as a career year guy, he’s a great shot.
Again, you’re talking either reliever or rotation depth, but Texas gave up four prospects for Matt Garza. With Gaudin having the year he’s having, the Giants should be able to get one or two players.
Sertio Romo – $1.05M remaining this year, and signed for $5.5M next season with bonuses.
Back to a touchy subject. If the Giants were going into a full rebuild mode, I think Romo’s available. But they aren’t. Romo is a nicely priced closer for next season, and he’s been very effective. I just don’t see the Giants putting him out there.
Jose Mijares – $540K remaining this year, under control through 2014
Here’s a tough one to predict. Here’s a lefty reliever that has been in the majors for parts of six seasons, and has had only one sub-average year out of them. He’s got a 2.43 ERA for the Giants, and has been a steady piece of the bullpen.
But just last year, the Giants picked him up in August off of waivers. Off waivers. From the Royals. I still don’t understand them essentially releasing him, nor 20+ other teams passing on him. There must have been something that we don’t know, but nothing has raised its ugly head, and Mijares has been good.
That said, the same rule applies here as with Romo: if there was a full rebuild going on, maybe he’d be gone. But the Giants have had some bullpen shortages at times, and I can’t see them letting go of Mijares for next year unless they get blown away. And based on the waiver wire last year, I wouldn’t expect it.
Andres Torres – $600K remaining this year
I’ll end this list with a whimper rather than a bang. Torres is a platoon player who got pushed into not platooning for a while, and his stats haven’t been good. And he got very exposed in left field defensively. It’s weird to some that a good center fielder can’t handle left field, but it happens. Balls behave different in the corner outfield spots.
However, there’s three reasons I include him. First, he is a platoon player, and he’s batting .308 with a .756 OPS against left-handers. That’s not nothing. Secondly, he’s got the things you want as a depth outfielder: he plays a good center field defensively, he’s got speed, and he’s got World Series experience. Thirdly, see the details from the Hunter Pence paragraph about the Fresno outfielders who might deserve an audition.
The Giants would probably get almost nothing back, but it’s worth throwing out there.