Moving On From Melky – What Are The Options For Giants Post Melkman
By Bryan Rose
While reinforcements have been dispatched to San Diego in hopes of bolstering the Giants roster for the short term, one thing is clear – none of the options are sustainable. There’s been no confirmation as to the two players being brought up after the Giants optioned Dan Otero yesterday, but with an educated guess you can assume two of Justin Christian, Brett Pill, Xavier Nady or Francisco Peguero will be on the Giants roster as they take on San Diego this weekend. Nady, the former Padre and newest Giant has been struggling in AAA Fresno offensively, a terrible sign given the ease of hitting in the PCL, as he returns from a pretty gnarly wrist injury that was the basis for his release in Washington. Peguero has been pretty average as a Grizzlie and despite being on the 40 man roster, it’s doubtful the Giants will bring him up before the expanded rosters in September meaning it’ll most likely be speedster Christian and another bat as stated from the Giant beat writers – at least off the bench.
Edit: Apparently the Giants had a change of heart and opted to recall a pitcher and a better. Christian, as expected, along with pitcher Eric Hacker have been recalled.
Internally, the Giants don’t have a lot of options when it comes to a starter in the outfield. While Brandon Belt has played some left field before, you’d have to assume moving Belt out of his natural position would be the last of their preferences. Marco Scutaro has played some in left field before and looks to be a candidate to take over right now, but Scutaro was brought in to be a platoon/utility to spell players needing a day off and help solidify the second base issue with Ryan Theriot, not be an every day player who’s all but playing out of position. Gregor Blanco is another option (and the more likely) but he’s best served off the bench as a late inning defensive replacement/pinch runner as his streaky offensive game is too destructive to an offense to play full time.
Given the limited options, there’s no doubt GM Brian Sabean has been lighting up his RAZR phone, trying to bring in some talent for the stretch run. Here are a few players Sabean will most likely look at:
Carlos Lee – Miami Marlins: One of the oddest trades of the year involved Lee who after rejecting a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers, was sent to the Miami Marlins who were trying to improve their club for the stretch run. A few bad weeks and the Marlins decided to become sellers, all but leaving the free agent to be dead in the water as the Marlins continued to flounder around last place. Lee, a 10/5 player, then blocked a trade to the New York Yankees after the Marlins realized he was of little value to them, so it’s clear he can be had and be had for a low price. The problem with Lee is he’s no longer an outfielder and the acquisition would force the Giants to move Brandon Belt into the outfield, something they’d prefer not to do.
Josh Willingham – Minnesota Twins: After spending last season across the Bay in Oakland, the Giants looked into Willingham this past offseason but the two sides never came to a deal as Willy went to Minnesota. At an annual salary of just over $7 million, it’s pretty hard to think the Twins, who have Willingham under control for the next two years will part with the power bat who currently has 29 HR’s after hitting 30 HR’s in Oakland last year. The addition would also create some strain next year financially and all but end the potential for Melky to return. A deal seems unlikely.
Scott Hairston – New York Mets: Few players have killed the Giants more than the Hairston brothers, Scott in-particular. So you know what they say – can’t beat em? Join em! The Mets had multiple discussions about moving the 32 year old outfielder come the trade deadline but never deemed an offer worthy, odd given Hairston’s age. Whatever the case, the Mets would be silly not to listen on an offer for Hairston but a move would require Hairston to be placed on waivers (something he has not been placed on) and it’s hard to think the Diamondbacks wouldn’t put in a claim to block the Giants given Hairston’s low salary. It would be a great fit for both the Giants and Hairston, but Kevin Towers looms.
Alfonso Soriano – Chicago Cubs: His odd reasoning aside (he says it’s too cold), Alfonso Soriano wants nothing to do with the Giants. The two teams talked pre-deadline about a move but when pressed, Soriano said he wasn’t willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to the Giants. Now with the Cabrera situation, while not as definitive as the first time, Soriano still seemed uninterested in a move. The Cubs have been willing to pay down Soriano’s deal just to get him off the team, but he appears dead-set on staying with the Cubbies instead of moving to a contender.
Jeff Francoeur – Kansas City Royals: Potentially one of the most logical candidates on this list is KC’s Jeff Francoeur who’s had an abysmal 2012. After a very solid .285/20 HR/87 RBI/22 SB season for the Royals last year, Jeff has struggled mightily and the Royals dangled him at the deadline but received no bites. However, Francoeur comes with a variety of tools that could ease the loss of Cabrera, from his disgustingly good arm to his solid speed and relatively decent pop – he, in ways, could be considered a potential 2012 Cody Ross type candidate.
While the above names will certainly cause some Giant fans to cringe their faces, desperate times call for desperate measures and finding a replacement isn’t going to be easy for Brian Sabean and company. With the alternatives being Marco Scutaro in the outfield with Ryan Theriot playing daily or Gregor Blanco being part of your starting outfield, the Giants have to make a move for an outfielder and do so quickly.