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Tackling the trade deadline: San Francisco Giants

Jul 11, 2011, 2:34 PM EDT

Brian Wilson Getty Images

Over the next few days, I’m going to look at the needs of some contenders as we approach the July 31 trade deadline.

San Francisco Giants
First-half record: 52-40
Standings: Leading Arizona by 3 games in NL West

Needs

Middle infield: The Giants are hoping to get Freddy Sanchez back from a dislocated shoulder at the end of the month, but season-ending surgery remains a possibility there, and the Giants have gotten a combined .229 average, one homer and six RBI in 140 at-bats from their other second basemen.  They’ve also had a horrible go of it at shortstop, where Miguel Tejada and Brandon Crawford have contributed to an overall .221/.288/.324 line.

Catcher: Eli Whiteside has quietly hit .265 with two homers, 11 RBI and nine walks in 68 at-bats since the beginning of June, so Buster Posey‘s absence hasn’t hurt as much as anticipated.  Still, the Giants need help here.  Whiteside, who was injury-prone in the minors, has never caught regularly in the majors and figures to wear down.  Chris Stewart hasn’t hit at all as his backup.

Outfield: A healthy Carlos Beltran would look really good in the middle of the Giants lineup.  However, the outfield is a lower priority for the team.  Nate Schierholtz has been a great surprise with his .807 OPS in right field, and Cody Ross has been well above average at .789.  While Andres Torres has been quite a disappointment in hitting just .226, he is walking and playing excellent defense, making him something close to an average regular in center field.

Target

Jose Reyes (SS Mets): It just doesn’t get much more obvious than this.  The Giants, more so than any other contender, would benefit from a big upgrade at shortstop, and Reyes is the best position player with a chance of changing teams at the deadline.

Proposed deal

Reyes for 1B/OF Brandon Belt, RHP Zack Wheeler and RHP Mitch Lively

Is it enough? Belt isn’t an ideal fit in New York, and the Mets might prefer 2010 first-round pick Gary Brown instead.  The speedy Brown would become the team’s center fielder of the future.  Belt has outfield experience, but I don’t know that the Mets can afford to play him and Jason Bay in the corners at the same time.

I doubt the Giants would give up both Brown and Wheeler, their No. 1 pitching prospect, in the same deal.  Perhaps they’d do Brown if the Mets were willing to take Jonathan Sanchez instead of Wheeler.  Sanchez, though, isn’t as attractive of a trade possibility as he once was, as he’ll be eligible for free agency after 2012.

  1. skerney - Jul 11, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    Beltran is more likely to move as the Mets will fall further and further behind PHI and ATL. He would essentially be a $9 million dollar salary dump, which the Giants could absorb. Belt Wheeler and Brown have such a huge upside it would be monumental if SF took the risk of parting with them. Then again, Reyes at short and in the leadoff spot would really help this team.

  2. hansonwbdnsports - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    The Giants, more so than any other contender, would benefit from a big upgrade at shortstop.

    Yuniesky Betancourt sits in the corner waving sheepishly for attention. Of course he is down 0-2 in the count right now.

  3. thekcubrats - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    Really? You get PAID for this baseless speculation? For pulling these dustbunnies out of your [hat]? Where do I sign up?

  4. chomsky66 - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    What is this, the Year of Magical Thinking? As a two-month rental, Reyes won’t net more han ONE elite prospect at the deadline. Stick to fantasy baseball, the real stuff is over your head.

    Note to NBC: Maybe Pouliot should be a two-month rental.

    • thekcubrats - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:17 PM

      And, uh, you ever see this guy’s “projections”? FLB is kinda over his head, too.

      Hope NBC didn’t lose any upper tier prospects in landing him.

      • chomsky66 - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:28 PM

        Seriously, this is one of the worst Circling the Bases (I’m oldschool) pieces of all time. You get one shot at hazarding the Giants’ trade season, and all you’ve got is the one trade idea EVERYONE has already been buzzing about for months? Nevermind the fact that what the Giants did last year — small incremental improvements across the roster — yielded a World Series trophy!

  5. thekcubrats - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    Exactly, Nim Chimpsky, exactly. Thinking this was a Calc or Glee piece, I expected to see several cogent options presented thoughtfully and with a soupçon of humor. Instead we get a ladleful of rehash? And nothing more?

  6. Jonny 5 - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    Maybe they can get Wilson to trade that Merkin on his face for a razor?

    • chomsky66 - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:46 PM

      It’s more like the Exxon Valdez at this point.

  7. spudchukar - Jul 11, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    Rough crowd today Matt. Thanks for the info regarding possible minor league options, but what about the possibility of BOTH, Beltran and Reyes. Would Belt, Brown and Wheeler get it done?

    • skerney - Jul 11, 2011 at 4:37 PM

      Giants take on all Beltrans salary. Roughly half of $18 million. Give up J. Sanchez and one of those prospects for Reyes. The cash saved this year on Beltrans salary pays for Sanchez arbitration next year so he basically pitches for the Mets for free. Any one of those three top tier prospects or the addition of young giants SS Ehire Adrianza would be a smart mets move.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jul 11, 2011 at 4:53 PM

      It’s just two people going back and forth. I’ve heard worse :)

      I don’t think the Giants would have to give up that much for both, though I don’t know if they could take on the salary for both, either. The Giants would probably want the Mets to eat most of Beltran’s salary if they were giving up serious talent in return for him.

      There’s also one other big factor with Beltran. With Reyes, you’re paying for him and for the two draft picks he’ll bring back. Beltran, though, can’t be offered arbitration and won’t bring back any draft picks. So, if the Mets fall completely out of the race, they really have no incentive to keep him.

  8. chrisny3 - Jul 11, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    “Jose Reyes (SS Mets): It just doesn’t get much more obvious than this.”

    One thing you forgot, Matthew. Alderson already came out the last week and said the Mets aren’t going to be trading Reyes. He said no such thing about Beltran, though, so you may want to revise your trade proposal to something that actually has realistic a chance to be made.

  9. dlevalley - Jul 11, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    Just guessing, but I imagine the criticism comes from people who follow the Giants. Anyone who pays attention to the organization is pretty convinced that there is no way in hell the G’s trade Belt or Brown for a half-year rental, even if that half-year rental is healthy (which Reyes is not).

    A more informed analysis would be to note that, while he will not likely trade Belt or Brown, Sabean has a long history of trading away pitching prospects that haven’t lost their shine. And with a few exceptions (Joe Nathan) he’s been extremely successful at identifying who will be successful (and thus, worth keeping – Bumgarner) and who will not (and thus worth trading away – Tim Alderson).

    Therefore, the real questions here are two-fold:

    1) Does Sabean think Wheeler or Surkamp are at their most valuable? Which one?

    and

    2) Are either of those guys (plus money or place-filler) enough to get a 1/3 season of Beltran or Reyes?

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