The Winter Meetings have been relatively quiet for the San Francisco Giants. First, they struck out with both pitcher Shohei Ohtani and outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. Late Friday night, the Giants finally made a move, trading lefty Matt Moore to the Texas Rangers, a move that frees up salary to offer to top free agents. In return for Moore, the Giants received two minor league right handed pitchers and international signing pool money.
Moore was acquired by the Giants at the 2016 Trade Deadline, when the Giants were trying to find the final piece in the rotation to make another even-year World Series push. He never really adjusted to his new stadium, posting a career-worst 5.52 earned run average in 2017. Now, Moore will return to the American League with the Rangers, where he will try to regain his form from 2013, when he posted a 17-4 record with 3.29 ERA while playing for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Now that Moore is no longer on the Giants, the Giants have $7 million more in salary to offer their top free agent targets. The Giants are in desperate need for a third baseman and an outfielder. To fill their hole in the outfield, the Giants have been targeting J.D. Martinez of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Last season, Martinez batted .303 with 45 home runs in a season where he split time with the Diamondbacks and the Detroit Tigers.
The Giants currently have no third baseman to bridge the gap until number one prospect Christian Arroyo is ready for regular MLB play time. Last season, they had a revolving door of third basemen, starting with Eduardo Nunez and finishing with 2012 World Series hero Pablo Sandoval. Todd Frazier would be the perfect 2-or-3-year bridge between now and when Arroyo is ready to fully take over at third base permanently. And with the New York Yankees hot in pursuit for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, it is unlikely that Frazier will re-sign. The Giants and Frazier are the perfect fit for both player and team.
With the trade of Matt Moore, the Giants have unloaded an overpaid, underachieving member of one of the most underachieving starting rotations in baseball last season. The salary they gain back from dealing Moore may be the difference between signing Martinez or Frazier and coming up just short to one of the other teams vying for the two players’ services.
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