Dec. 11, 2018
Giants Trade Deadline
The Giants' first half of 2017 was the worst in the history of San Francisco Giants baseball and the 2017 season is all but lost for the San Francisco Giants. At 34-56 the Giants sit 27 games back of the first place Dodgers and 17.5 games back of the second wild card spot. Pending winning more than 20 in a row the Giants are all but done for the season, the only thing they still must figure out is who is going to be on the team for the 2018 season. The July 31st non-waiver trade deadline is fast approaching and the Giants are guaranteed sellers. Here we will predict what the Giants will do with some of their tradable assets at the deadline.
To figure out who’s going to be traded at the deadline we must discern two things first: if the Giants rebuild will be long term or short term. Will the Giants want to try to win next season or 5 years from now? Who is “untouchable” at the deadline - will not be traded regardless of record or situation? Luckily, both of those questions have been answered. Larry Baer, the owner of the Giants, made it very clear that the Giants are “reloading” not “rebuilding”. The Giants will prepare to win next season. Furthermore, the Giants general manager Bobby Evans stated that three players were untouchable at the deadline: Madison Bumgarner (the Giants ace), Buster Posey (the Giants franchise player), and Brandon Crawford (the Gold Glove shortstop). Everyone else is available.
First off let’s get a few names out of the way that aren’t untouchables but are extremely unlikely trade candidates. Joe Panik, Austin Slater, Mark Melancon, Matt Cain, Hunter Pence, Ty Blach, and Jeff Samardzija are all extremely unlikely to get traded because of their ability, team friendly contract, youth, or upcoming free agency. Now who does that leave? Brandon Belt, Johnny Cueto, Matt Moore, Eduardo Nunez, Denard Span, Derek Law, George Kontos, Hunter Strickland and Nick Hundley could all be dealt at the deadline. Realistically there are four to six players on this list that will be traded and I am going to analyze the most likely scenarios for the players I believe will be on different teams after the deadline.
Eduardo Nunez and Derek Law traded to the Red Sox for Brock Holt and Joe Kelly
Eduardo Nunez has been a consistent player for the Giants for most of the year. Nunez has a .299 batting average with 4 homeruns and 17 stolen bases. Nunez is versatile playing left field and third base with the ability to play right field and most infield positions. Nunez would give the Red Sox some speed off the bench as well as the ability to give guys like Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi days off. He also could battle it out with Devin Marrero for the starting third base job. Derek Law has had a dreadful year with the Giants - so much so that he got sent down to the minors. However, Law has a couple things in his favor: youth and strikeout stuff. The Red Sox would likely add Law onto the trade to see if a change of scenery could do Law some good. In return for Eduardo Nunez and Derek Law the Giants would receive Brock Holt who has the versatility of Nunez, and Joe Kelly out of the bullpen.
Brandon Belt and Johnny Cueto to the Yankees for Jordan Montgomery, Greg Bird, and a PTBNL (Player to Be Named Later) or Cash
Brandon Belt has struggled with the Giants this season but still leads the team in homeruns with 16 and has a fantastic defensive glove at first base, an area that has plagued the Yankees. The short porch in right field at Yankee stadium would likely benefit Brandon Belt and you would probably see a rise in homeruns and batting average once he dons the pinstripes. Not to mention he has a long-term contract which would serve the Yankees extremely well. As for Johnny Cueto, his situation is intriguing, he has chosen to opt out of his contract at the end of the year even though he has quite a bit of money and years left. However, if he were to get hurt he would probably opt in and the Yankees would be stuck with damaged goods. However, Cueto is easily a number two if not a one B pitcher when on his game and a good Johnny Cueto added to the Yankee rotation would be a huge boost to their post season push. The Giants would receive Jordan Montgomery and Greg Bird from the Yankees with a player to be named later or cash. The Giants should take this deal as the 24-year-old Jordan Montgomery has been extremely good pitching in the American League while also pitching in a hitter’s haven like Yankee stadium. Montgomery owns a 3.65 ERA with an 8.57 K/9 and a 3.11 K/BB ratio. Those numbers are all but guaranteed to improve pitching at AT@T park and in the national league. As for Greg Bird, the former highly touted prospect, has struggled with the Yankees this season and is currently on the DL. In 60 at bats this season Bird is batting .100 with 1 homerun and 3 RBI’s. Yes, that is horrible. But he is only 24 and the upside is clearly there as Bird has dominated the minor leagues. This trade gives the Yankees two big pieces to push forward with into the postseason and gives the Giants a solid rookie pitcher, a young high upside first baseman, and a ton of cap space to spend in free agency in which they could very well resign the guy they traded, Johnny Cueto.
Matt Moore to the Phillies for Tommy Joseph
Matt Moore is a former eighth round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Giants traded for Matt Moore last season in the hope that Moore would develop into the pitcher he had the potential to become. Moore pitched well for the Giants in the second half of the 2016 season and threw eight innings of one-run ball against the Cubs in the National League Division Series last year before the monumental bullpen collapse. However, in 2017 Matt Moore owns a 6.04 ERA (worst in baseball among starters) with a 1.69 WHIP (fourth worst in baseball among starters) and a 3-9 win-loss record (third most losses in baseball among starters). Luckily for the Giants, Matt Moore is only 28 with plenty of years left to turn it around. Matt Moore has the best K/BB ratio he's had since 2014: 2.0. Despite his pitching ability, luck has not been with him. His .350 BABIP doesn't jibe with his ability on the mound. Moore also has a team friendly contract; he is due to make nine million next year and ten million the following year. In return, the Giants would get Tommy Joseph back from the Phillies. Tommy Joseph could be the odd man out in Philly if they want to give star minor leaguer Rhys Hoskins a shot at the big leagues. Originally a Giants draft pick as a catcher, the Giants sent Tommy Joseph along with a few others to Philly for Hunter Pence. The 25-year-old (now a first baseman) is batting .252 with 15 HR and 43 RBI’s thus far in 2017. None of those numbers wow me but then again, neither do Matt Moore’s. Between the left-handed hitter Greg Bird and the right-handed hitter Tommy Joseph, the Giants would have the perfect platoon to take care of first base for the near future and maximize the potential of the two players.
With these three trades, the Giants improve their bullpen that has struggled mightily this year with the acquisition of Joe Kelly from the Red Sox, they keep versatility on the bench or at third base with Brock Holt, they get a great rookie pitcher who has all the makings of being a mid to top of the order rotation arm in Jordan Montgomery and a high upside young first base platoon in Greg Bird and Tommy Joseph with the eventual hope that one of those players develops into a star in the near future. The most important thing that the Giants receive from these trades is the cap space for free agency. If these three trades were to become a reality the Giants would look like this: Buster Posey catching, Brock Holt at third, Brandon Crawford at short, Joe Panik at second, Greg Bird/Tommy Joseph at first, Austin Slater in left, Denard Span in center, and Hunter Pence in right field. However, with the cap space now available the Giants could find a quality center fielder to replace Span and a right fielder to possibly replace Hunter Pence. These three trades, in my mind, set the Giants up for the best chance of success in 2018 and beyond.
1. Denard Span CF
2. Joe Panik 2B
3. Buster Posey C
4. Hunter Pence RF
5. Tommy Joseph/Greg Bird 1B
6. Brandon Crawford SS
7. Brock Holt 3B
8. Austin Slater LF
9. Pitcher’s Spot
Written by Jacob Taylor
Edited by Rachael Vega