Record: 57-38, 1st in the NL West
The Giants didn’t have a hot start to the season. But something turned around between May and June, despite injuries, and the team has consistently been one of baseball’s best.
Oh, right. It’s an even year.
Free agent signings Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija have seemed to pan out for the Giants. Madison Bumgarner continues to be Madison Bumgarner, mowing down hitters.
There are injuries abound, though, as mentioned above. Matt Cain has been on the disabled list (again), and so have Hunter Pence and Matt Duffy. Joe Panik has concussion symptoms and is also on the DL. Sergio Romo recently returned from injury.
Even with the injuries and some bullpen struggles, the Giants are still serious contenders and will approach the deadline as such.
Are they buyers or sellers?
The Giants want to keep that even year streak going and make it four championships in seven years, so the team will absolutely be buyers at the deadline. It just depends on whether or not the team will go internally first to address their holes in right field and the bullpen.
If the team is willing to part with some of its prized prospects, they’ll make trades.
It’s not as though the Giants have a shortage of arms in the farm system—you’ve got guys like Tyler Beede, Phil Bickford and Adalberto Mejia rising up the ranks. Then you’ve got guys like Clayton Blackburn and Chris Stratton on the 40-man.
One thing the Giants have been good at over the years (see trades involving: Tim Alderson, Zack Wheeler) is evaluating pitching and using their surplus of pitchers to trade at the deadline. It might be easy to assume that Beede and Bickford won’t be traded this time around, or that the Giants won’t really go for trading any of their 40-man arms if they can use that for depth.
But if they find the right price, they could give up a couple of mid-level prospects like Sam Coonrod this time around.
The Giants are known to be aggressively looking at bullpen help, while considering outfield additions and rotation reinforcements as well as some depth pieces in the infield. San Francisco is looking to make improvements across the board, and appears willing to move some young pieces to get deals done.
Who will they target?
It was rumored that the Giants could target Yankees relievers Aroldis Chapman or Andrew Miller, but Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle recently reported that the Yankees don’t see the Giants as a trade partner. The Giants would have to part with one of their starting pitching prospects or two to get Chapman or Miller, depending on who comes cheaper. Schulman suggests that the Giants could trade Chris Shaw, who would be blocked by Brandon Belt in the big leagues.
That being said, if the Giants were to come up with a suitable offer that the Yankees would like, Chapman seems like the cheaper option, as Miller still has a few years left on his contract whereas Chapman would be a rental. If the Yankees are looking for starting pitching depth, a guy like Coonrod, as mentioned above, could be a potential fit with a throw-in like Kyle Crick.
With Chapman and Miller appearing to be unlikely options, the Giants are looking at cheaper options like Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith of the Brewers as well as Jeanmar Gomez and David Hernandez of the Phillies, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. Milwaukee appears interested in Mejia, making a deal possible there as the Brewers continue to sell. Rockies lefty Boone Logan is also an option, according to reports.
The Giants have also been linked to Josh Reddick, Jay Bruce and Ryan Braun so far this season as the club looks for a veteran upgrade from the mix of Gregor Blanco, Jarrett Parker, and Mac Williamson that they are currently using. San Francisco does not appear to be a favorite for any of the three outfielders, though could look to make a move with Hunter Pence dealing with lingering injury issues.
Reports have linked the Giants to potential rotation upgrades over Jake Peavy and Matt Cain, though no names have surfaced to this point. With the high price being asked for starters around baseball, the team may just opt to stick with the current group or promote from within.
The Giants will almost certainly get some pitching help. The only question is whether it comes via trade or through a call-up.
Because of the Giants’ reputation for good pitching evaluation—though there have been some misses, as can be the case with any club—however the pitching help comes, the Giants will have assuredly vetted all their options one way or another.
As for right field, that may be a trickier situation with a bevy of options available on the market. It wouldn’t be a surprise if they don’t get an outfielder at the trade deadline, but it would be a surprise if the pitching staff stays the same.