San Francisco Giants: How they can reload, and compete in 2018
By Stephen Ruderman
With the trade deadline coming up, there are some who want the San Francisco Giants to remain completely intact, and there those who want the entire team torn down. But, the best and quickest way to go about this is to start the six-month-long process to reload for next season.
This season has not gone according to plan for the San Francisco Giants, but that’s no reason to think that the organization needs to rebuild. It happens; good teams have bad years. With young upcoming players such as Christian Arroyo, Austin Slater and Tyler Beede, combined with the core of Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Madison Bumgarner, the Giants have a bright future in front of them.
While a team having a bad season usually would use the trade deadline to acquire prospects—and yes, the Giants could use a few prospects—the organization would be wise to also use this as an opportunity to gear up for next season. These trades don’t necessarily need to happen at the deadline. They could even happen in the offseason.
First, there’s the obvious: the bullpen. The deadline would be a great opportunity for the Giants to add some quality arms. Sam Dyson, George Kontos, Cory Gearrin and Kyle Crick have pitched well. If Josh Osich can pitch better, and if the Giants can trade for two bullpen arms to go along with the eventual return of Will Smith, they can have a solid pen going into next season.
It seems likely that Eduardo Nunez will be dealt, and Johnny Cueto’s future is very uncertain. There are more players the Giants could unload. A controversial topic, and probably the most unlikely of players is Brandon Belt.
Belt is a great Giant, but he’s even greater trade bait. Belt could some good prospects and bullpen help in return, and there is the hard truth that Buster Posey needs to move to first base, soon. As great of pitch caller and defensive catcher as Posey is, he is also a franchise player, and he hasn’t had the greatest luck behind the plate. However, of all the potential trade pieces, Belt is the least likely to be dealt.
There’s also Mark Melancon. The Nationals are in desperate need of bullpen help, and they have made clear for awhile that they really want Melancon back. Denard Span has hit .331 since June 2, and there’s no doubt that his speed and range is appealing. Hunter Strickland has also struck interest in other teams.
The Giants also would be wise to add an outfielder in the offseason, especially since Hunter Pence’s health is not reliable. J.D. Martinez would obviously be the ideal choice, but he will be incredibly difficult to sign. Perhaps, Chris Shaw could be an option, but as of now, all indications point to Shaw not being ready for an every-day role next season.
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Arroyo and Slater will likely be in the every-day lineup next year, and an addition of an outfielder would amplify an offense that already has Posey, Crawford and Joe Panik.
Lastly, it would really help the Giants if they can get Tyler Beede some major league experience in the final two months of the year. A rotation of Madison Bumgarner, Ty Blach, Jeff Samardzija, Beede and Cueto/Matt Moore could be very dominant.
It’s going to take six months, but if the Giants do the right things and add the right pieces, they could very well be a championship-caliber club come the beginning of next season, and the misery of 2017 could be put behind us very quickly.