How do you even begin to fix a problem like the 2017 San Francisco Giants? Some of the best players in the game, and very well paid at that, are falling far short of expectations. It’s not an even year, there doesn’t seem to be much magic in the clubhouse, and some reports even claim there is friction in the clubhouse. So, what kind of changes do you make? Who goes? Who stays? Is it worth trading some of your home grown, core players?
The Giants are in dire need of help in two places: the mound and the outfield (left field more specifically). With more than ten different players getting starts in left field this year, it’s likely management will look for some stability defensively. Power at the plate should be high on the list as well, with a team batting average (sans pitchers) at a lackluster .249 to end the first half.
The pitching staff is also a little bit of a messy situation. As Ty Blach pitched fairly well in Madison Bumgarner‘s absence it looks like Matt Cain may graciously head to the bull pen for a new role. But as Matt Moore continues to disappoint, the G-men would be wise to look long and hard at fresh opportunities for the rotation. A team wide 4.68 ERA is higher than last years total and the bats aren’t helping out much.
So before I call Bobby Evans on his personal line to pitch my ideas, (Yes! I would be so great in the Giants war room!), I thought I should write them out.
Truth be told, as much as the Giants are supposed to be “sellers” heading into the trade deadline, that’s not really a promising prospect for would-be suitors. They do have skill in the farm system, but trading someone like Tyler Beede or Chris Shaw would likely be a regretful decision in the future.
There is depth on 3rd in the form of Christian Arroyo, Ryder Jones, Jae-Gyun Hwang, Eduardo Nuñez, Conor Gillaspie and more. But depth has been necessary as injuries have nagged the squad in the first half. Nuñez would likely be the best bargaining chip for San Francisco, but a ham string injury put him on the 10 day DL leaving only a short window of time for scouts to see him before the July 31 trade deadline. Honestly, Nuñez has been one of the more versatile contributors to the team since his arrival last year, spending time in left field as well as at 3rd so losing him could be costly.
Some have been crying for SF to deal Johnny Cueto at the soonest possible chance, but with a player option in his contract next year the lack of control may not be appealing to buyers. He also has not looked amazing lately with a 4.51 ERA, so he may not fetch what the Giants are looking to get in return.
But with the Giants hot stove getting even hotter as they drop out of contention, it is becoming more and more clear that they need a change. So will we see some core players dealt? Management has said that MadBum, Posey and Crawford are untouchable, Panik doesn’t look to be a likely candidate to leave, but perhaps Belt (who is showing some above average power this year) can fetch something worthy. And while there is a lot of uncertainty, there does still seem to be hope. AAA Sacramento has sent some gold to the bay in the form of Austin Slater (.290 BA 3 HR’s), Jae-Gyun Hwang, and Christian Arroyo (for a time).
With a little over two weeks until the trade deadline Giants fans may be in for the most entertaining stretch of the season. One can only hope that San Francisco’s management will be able to supplement Madison Bumgarner’s return with some fresh talent and power. Without a doubt Orange and Black’s faithful will be waiting patiently to see what happens.