On Saturday, we established that the San Francisco Giants could use one more big bat in their lineup to give them a more realistic shot of competing for the World Series against the Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals and, to a lesser extent, the New York Mets. We took a moment on Sunday to look at just who would be the most likely candidates for the Giants to seek out via trade.
At the moment, Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun appears to be the leading candiate. But there are plenty of other options. Here’s a look at who else could be of interest to the Giants…
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The Braves have flipped just about every veteran star they had the past couple years, as they’ve been in an all-out rebuild mode, presumably in anticipation of the opening of their new stadium. The one big name they have not relinquished is first baseman Freddie Freeman.
Of course, if the Giants bring in a first baseman, either that new addition or Brandon Belt—probably Belt—would have to move to the outfield. But that might not be a bad thing if it means bringing in a bat like Freeman’s.
The Braves probably haven’t traded Freeman because they want to retain a face of the franchise during their reconstruction, to give fans have some semblance of connection to the roster. They probably would flip him, however, for the right haul of prospects. The Giants just might not be able to meet that price, but it’s not out of the question.
Don’t worry about some of Freeman’s lackluster 2016 statistics: his 10 RBI is the product of batting in the middle of the worst lineup in the Majors. The one concern about bringing him to San Francisco would be how is power plays at AT&T Park. A graphic overlay of his home run landing spots suggests he would do just fine. Plus, he swats a lot of doubles, which often turn into triples for lefties in San Francisco.
Cincinnati was long rumored to be shopping right fielder Jay Bruce during the offseason. And certainly Bruce could still be had, considering that the Reds are one of those small-market teams looking to stockpile young, inexpensive talent.
Bruce would have been intriguing three years ago, but since 2014, he just hasn’t been the same player who previously hit 30 home runs and drove in around 100 runs for three straight seasons. He’s only 29 years old, but his best days appear to be behind him. And if he is struggling to thrive as a power hitter in Cincinnati’s home run launching pad, the chances are that he wouldn’t be much better in San Francisco than part-time Giants backup outfielder/part-time Sacramento River Cats slugger Jarrett Parker.
The past few seasons, the Giants would face a good hitter in Colorado named Corey Dickerson. Dickerson is now in Tampa Bay, where he is hitting for power but, like many Major League hitters this season, is batting below the Mendoza line (in numerical terms: below .200).
He was a .300 hitter in Colorado, though away from Coors Field he batted .250. If the Giants picked him up, he would at best be a .250 hitter with 30-homer power. That puts him in the same category as Bruce.
The Yankees would probably love to move some of their aging position players, but none of them is likely to be of much help to the Giants. Carlos Beltran was a great addition to San Francisco in 2011 (even if it didn’t lead to a playoff berth), but he isn’t a difference-maker anymore. Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury are speedsters who probably wouldn’t be improvements over Pagan.
So, at this point Braun still looks like the best option, even if he would be rather expensive, both in terms of the salary he owed and the prospects that would be needed to acquire him. But there are still other options. Check back soon to see who those are, in our final look at who could help fortify the Giants’ offense for a postseason run.