The San Francisco Giants are in the midst of the National League West race. At 49-46, the team is just 3 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks. So far, the Giants plan to contend is going accordingly to plan. With the trade deadline approaching, should the Giants make a trade or stand pat?
The answer isn’t easy considering how the Giants have played. The rotation is set, the bullpen is one of the best in baseball and there isn’t one position significantly lacking on the roster. If the Giants stand pat at the deadline there’s a good chance they can win the NL West, but they should be looking to upgrade at every opportunity.
Recently, the team traded away Cory Gearrin, Austin Jackson and pitching prospect Jason Bahr to the Texas Rangers for cash considerations. This trade was meant to keep the Giants under the luxury tax and unload two players who were deadweight. Losing Bahr hurts, but he was collateral damage for the Giants in this case.
This trade was made to promote Steven Duggar and Ray Black to the big leagues. Both were on the cusp of being big leaguers, so this trade worked out well in that regard. The Giants are hoping Duggar can be the 2018 version of Buster Posey or Joe Panik. Posey and Panik came up in 2010 and 2014 respectively and played key roles in the Giants postseason success. Whereas Black gives the Giants another quality arm in the bullpen and makes them even deeper.
After this trade was made, questions were being asked about what exactly the Giants plan was? The team didn’t want to rebuild with the number of veteran players they have, but they also wanted to get younger and more athletic. They seem to have done both, give themselves a shot at contending with veteran players and then add younger more athletic players to adapt to the current trends of baseball.
The only trade that really makes sense now would be working a package around Jeff Samardzija and Mark Melancon. Both of these guys are paid large amounts of money and are under-performing based upon the money on the table. Melancon isn’t even the Giants closer anymore, which is troubling considering he’s being paid 62 million over 4 years. Samardzija, meanwhile, is the fifth best pitching on the Giants. He has been passed by Andrew Suarez and Derek Rodriguez in the Giants rotation and doesn’t figure to be in the Giants playoff rotation.
Teams are always looking for bullpen help and starting pitching, so building a package around Samardzjia and Melancon could allow the Giants to target specific players they have in mind or just save money.
According to reports, the Giants have let the New York Yankees know that Samardzija is available. Moving Samardzija would allow the Giants to get younger, save about 20 million per year and let Ty Blach or Chris Stratton back into the rotation.
Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle speculates the Giants could also look to move Derek Holland and Sam Dyson in a similar deal to Gearrin and Jackson. Though the Giants goal is making the postseason, Schulman says the Giants could save money by moving a couple of players.
Whatever the team ends up doing, it’s obvious the Giants are serious about contending, and if history tells us anything, it’s that Brian Sabean and company will be very aggressive.