With the trade deadline quickly approaching, I thought it might be a good time to start writing again. In order to prevent a five-page essay on what moves every team should make (which I’d be more than happy to do) I decided to concentrate on the two home teams here in the Bay Area. If you have a team that you would like me to talk about shoot me an email at email@example.com. Given their place in the standing we will go over moves the Giants should make and then move on to the A’s.
San Francisco Giants (56-33)
It’s hard to say that the Giants need to fix anything given that they hold not only a solid lead for first in their division, but also currently have the best record in all of Major League Baseball. They have gotten solid starting pitching, which is a San Francisco staple at this point, but their bullpen that has been a strength in the years that they have won the World Series is in desperate need of some better arms. They could also use some more bench depth, although in years past they have had so-so depth and have gotten away with it.
Having Sergio Romo on the disabled list doesn’t help, even though he hasn’t been his sharpest self in the last year or so, but they have not gotten very good contributions out of other arms in the bullpen that they were counting on. Santiago Casilla has some of the best stuff as a closer but is mentally weak and allows a mistake or two to unravel his entire outing. Hunter Strickland shows he can throw hard, but still leaves pitches to much in the zone to be effective in late innings, and Javier Lopez is showing a little bit of age this year sporting a 5 plus e.r.a. Most likely, they will need left handed help more than right handed help, so someone like the Twins Fernando Abad, the Padres Matt Thorton, or look right across the bay at the cheap and controllable Sean Doolittle. Although Doolittle is hurt, he could give them a boost in the second half when he comes off the dl as well as a great option for the next three years. If they are looking to give up some of their top prospects, specifically Tyler Beede or Phil Brickman, then they could shoot for one of the Yankees bullpen arms in Andrew Miller or Arnoldis Chapman. Given what teams have gotten for trades for elite closers in the past (i.e. Ken Giles and Craig Kimbrel) and the amount of years left on Miller’s contract the Giants probably do not want to give up the large package it will take to get him. Chapman will be a hard get as well given that multiple teams will be in on him, and some, like the Cubs, have plenty of organizational depth and can put together ridiculous trade packages.
As far as bench depth goes, the Giants have one of the best infields in the Majors so depth there isn’t too much of a worry. The outfield is where the problems arise. With Hunter Pence coming back from a hamstring injury, and having the injury prone duo of Angel Pagan and Denard Span as the other two-thirds of your outfield it would be smart to look for a solid fourth outfielder to back those three up and give them some rest at times. They do have Gregor Blanco and seventh ranked prospect Mac Williamson on the roster as of now, but neither have provided that extra bat that could be clutch come October. The likelihood that they will go for someone big, like a Carlos Gonzalez, Jay Bruce, or even Josh Reddick. Unfortunately there is no Gerardo Parra on the trading block this year so it will be difficult to find depth. It may be a reach, but calling the Atlanta Braves on Ender Inciarte and see if they can get him for a small package. Inciarte would provide great depth, and a solid future option in centerfield.
Oakland Athletics (38-51)
Unfortunately, the A’s list of needs is a lot shorter than the Giants. Sitting 15.5 games back of the division leading Rangers, the likelihood of the playoffs seems slim this year. The A’s are fortunate enough to have a lot of solid pieces that could get them good returns from teams in races. It would be nice to see the A’s commit to something one-way or another. Build for the future, or build to win now, but don’t sit in the middle. Given their record, they should look towards rebuilding their farm system, especially since they only have one prospect in the top 100 rankings and every other team has multiple. They are currently in extension talks with gold glove right fielder Josh Reddick, which would give the A’s a great outfield for the next couple of years along with Davis and Burns. Personally, I would love to see Davis move to a full time DH and get a better glove out in left field. If they cannot get Reddick to sign an extension, than trading him would give a solid return. A team like the Cubs or the Indians who could both use the outfield depth and both have solid farm systems that could garner good returns. Danny Valencia has shown that his bat is real, and would get a good return from a contending team that needs pop. The Indians come into play here again, as well as the Mets, Marlins, and Dodgers. The Dodgers are probably less likely to trade any good minor league depth because they are trying to get younger, but hey could use the bat at third so I wouldn’t count them out. It would be nice to see the A’s get rid of Billy Butler’s contract but no one is going to want to take on that contract so that option is really not available unless the A’s eat a lot of money.
When it comes to pitching, the A’s have a couple of pieces that could bring them back some depth. Rich Hill is an obvious trade candidate. He has clearly found his grove and kept the hot streak he developed at the end of the year last year going through this year, even surviving a dl stint. Hill is getting serious looks from multiple teams and could go to a contender like the Red Sox or Marlins. The Red Sox are the more likely candidate given their deep minor league system, and Hill could draw a solid return given the weak starting pitching market at the deadline. Sonny Gray’s name has been thrown around, but especially given the rocky season he has had statistically, Billy Beane is probably not going to sell low. Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, and John Axford could all get looks from teams that need bullpen help but are not big enough names to give the A’s any good prospects to build up their system.
Overall this trade deadline should be a fun one in the Bay Area. Remember to follow me at @n9nesbaseball1 on Twitter. If you have any questions, suggestions, or would like to help write, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.