Forget it. The Giants aren’t going to be making a move for a top notch bat in the upcoming trade deadline. GM, Brian Sabean went all in on Carlos Beltran at the deadline last season, and that came back to bite him in more ways then one. One, Beltran is tearing it up for the Cardinals right now, And two, Zack Wheeler’s debut in the majors is closer than you might think.
With that said, it would take one heck of a deal for Sabean to trade anyone in his rather slim farm system. Prying Gary Brown, Heath Hembree, or Tommy Joesph away from Sabean will be extremely hard, and one thing is for sure- he won’t be trading any of them away for a rental player. And he’s made that clear more than once, because if he makes a similar mistake to the one he made in 2011, he will be putting the Giants’ future at risk even more so than he did by dealing Wheeler.
While a blockbuster trade doesn’t seem to be in the cards, a middle reliever or power right-handed bat isn’t out of the realm, but it would be in the Giants’ favor to just stand pat for the most part, especially in the infield.
Friday, Giants CSN Insider, Andrew Baggarly reported that Bruce Bochy could consider putting Pablo Sandoval at first base to solve the lack of production from that spot. It would seem like a smart move, considering that Giants’ first basemen have hit just .254 this season. While most teams have a big bopper for a first baseman, the Giants are stuck with a group that has only hit seven homeruns this season.
However, shifting Sandoval across the diamond wouldn’t solve the entire problem. While he might be an upgrade over Belt, the shift would leave a substantial hole at the hot corner. Joaquin Arias would be forced to fill the void temporarily, but he’s not an everyday hitter, as shown by his stint as the starting third baseman when Sandoval was out. Defensively, the infield could become slightly more dynamic with Arias at third, but Sandoval is by no means better than Belt with the glove.
So ask yourself; is the tandem of Pablo Sandoval and Joaquin Arias really much better than the tandem of Sandoval and Belt? No, so a trade for a third basemen would be the most likely fix to the problem.
The trading market is scare for third basemen, though. Baggarly reported that Placido Polanco could be a possibility. Polanco, a veteran bat who has plenty of experience to get the job done seems like a foreseeable move. Is he much of an upgrade over Arias, though? Arias has a slash of .244/.287/.333 to Polanco’s .256/.300/.327. The difference? Not much. And when you throw Arias’s stellar defense into the equation, he has the slight edge over the Phillies’ third baseman.
Another possibility is the Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez. While it’s a long shot according to Baggarly, it’s not entirely out of the question.
Ramirez is set to make $31.5 million over the final two years of his contract, and the Giants may refrain from taking on another risky contract. And Ramirez is risky for two reasons. One, he has been on a downward slide since the beginning of the 2011 campaign, not eclipsing the .300 batting average paramount once. And two, Ramirez’s head can drift off. He can make some pretty boneheaded errors more than managers would like to deal with. Plus, he would likely play third base for the Giants, and that might ignite a fight between him and Bochy. It’s just not worth the gamble.
So what’s left?
The Padres won’t be dangling Chase Headley to the Giants any time soon, nor will the Diamondbacks trade Ryan Roberts within the division. The Brewers’ Aramis Ramirez could be a nice fit, but his enormous contract ends talks immediately.
So realistically, the Giants might be better off with what they currently have in the infield. While Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt might not be the names you want to see now, they could be the names you want to see in three years.