The trade deadline came and went. The San Francisco Giants did nothing unless acquiring Pitcher Guillermo Moscosco from the Chicago Cubs is considered a move. The Giants were expected to be one of the more active teams due to being 13 games under 500 and have 3 free agents who might leave at the end of the season. The Giants decided to hold onto Hunter Pence, Tim Lincecum and Javier Lopez in an attempt to resign all three during the coming offseason. The reasoning behind it makes sense, but it’s a risky game.
Lincecum, Pence and Lopez have expressed an interest in returning to the Giants and the Giants will make an effort to resign those guys to long term contracts. If they can’t sign Pence or Lincecum to multi-year contracts they will offer both guys qualifying offers. Both qualifying offers would be around 14 million. The contracts that would be offered to Pence and Lincecum are scary considering both guys are valuable pieces, but may not be worth the money that they will be asking for. Especially Pence, who is a fan favorite because of his energy and the way that he plays, but his statistics don’t warrant a 12 or 13 million dollar contract over four or five years. On top of that the Giants need to add another starting pitcher as well as a left-fielder, so it’s safe to say they have a lot of things they need to do in order to be able to compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West.
Back to the trade deadline. Almost everyone on the MLB Network expected Javier Lopez to be traded and that didn’t happen. Giants General Manager Brian Sabean said that the offers they received from teams on both Pence and Lopez were “ embarrasing.” If that’s true, then I don’t blame Sabean for not pulling the trigger. But on the flip-side, Javier Lopez will probably be gone because the Giants won’t have the room to sign him, especially if they resign Lincecum and Pence to multi-year deals. So the Giants will get nothing for Lopez, which is unfortunate. Lopez dominates lefties, he has a 1.42 ERA this season and is 11-3 with a 2.23 ERA since he joined the Giants in 2010. Those numbers show why the Giants want to keep him and try to resign him. Don’t forget that the Giants have Jeremy Affeldt, another relief pitcher, signed for 2 more years at 7 million per year, which makes it unlikely that they will be able to give Lopez the money he’ll be asking for.
Another reason why trading one or more of their free agents to be would have been a good idea for the Giants is because they need to add talent at almost every position in the Minor Leagues. The Giants farm system is among the worst in baseball and it’s not getting better any time soon. If they would have added additional Minor League talent through trades it would have made it easier to replace some of the guys in the near future. Marco Scutaro, who even though is playing the best baseball of his life offensively, is going to be 38 and his defense is deteriorating. Also Pablo Sandoval may need to be replaced if he doesn’t lose weight and start playing the way he’s capable. There’s obviously other positions that could be upgraded, but the Giants feel like if they get everybody back like Pence, Lincecum, Javier Lopez and Angel Pagan that they will be able to compete with the Dodgers and Dbacks in 2014.
It remains to be seen if the Giants will rebound in 2014 and play the kind of baseball they played in 2010 and 2012. One thing is clear, they will need to continue to add talent at all positions in order to compete within the Division, and this is where trading away Lopez or even Pence would have been beneficial. The Giants seem to have a plan going into this coming offseason and if that plan works, then the Giants will be a playoff team or at least a lot more competitive than they were this season. However, the plan could backfire in their face and the Giants will be stuck in neutral for many years.