If the offense wakes up, Game 162 might not be Bruce Bochy’s last.
Let’s say the Giants are five games out of a playoff spot on July 31st. Do they buy or sell?
The San Diego Padres look like a good young team, but can they maintain their current pace all season? The Los Angeles Dodgers have a potent lineup, but will the bullpen fall into place? The Arizona Diamondbacks still have some talent, but did they wave the white flag this offseason? The Colorado Rockies have reached the postseason two years in a row, but can they bounce back from a rocky start?
In other words, the division has some question marks.
Brandon Belt (.888 OPS) is currently the only hitter on the team with an OPS over .800. Buster Posey has shown no power, Evan Longoria looks lost at the plate and Steven Duggar is striking out a third of the time.
If this team is going to make a run, adding at least one more productive bat is going to be a must.
New center fielder Kevin Pillar has provided a spark at the plate with four home runs and 13 RBI in 14 games with the team. However, he’s hitting just .224 with a .245 on-base percentage in the process, and his track record suggests he won’t maintain this torrid pace.
So who might the Giants target at the trade deadline if they decide to buy?
Baltimore Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini could be a huge addition to the middle of the batting order, especially if he continues his strong start to the 2019 season.
The 27-year-old is hitting .320/.373/.640 with six doubles and six home runs on the year, and while his team control through the 2022 season could make him a long-term piece for the rebuilding Orioles, they could also explore the idea of selling high.
With that, here’s a look at my predicted Game 162 roster if the team is contending:
RF Steven Duggar
C Buster Posey
3B Evan Longoria
1B Brandon Belt
LF Trey Mancini
CF Kevin Pillar
SS Brandon Crawford
2B Joe Panik
Full Roster (Top 30 players on the expanded roster)
C: Buster Posey, Erik Kratz
IF: Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford, Evan Longoria, Pablo Sandoval, Yangervis Solarte
OF: Trey Mancini, Kevin Pillar, Steven Duggar, Tyler Austin, Gerardo Parra, Chris Shaw, Austin Slater
SP: Madison Bumgarner, Derek Holland, Jeff Samardzija, Dereck Rodriguez, Drew Pomeranz
RP: Andrew Suarez, Williams Jerez, Travis Bergen, Trevor Gott, Nick Vincent, Sam Dyson, Mark Melancon, Reyes Moronta, Tony Watson, Will Smith
It’s not a drastic change, and it really doesn’t need to be if the bats wake up. The pitching staff is already one of the best in baseball and would remain essentially unchanged aside from a few minor league call-ups.
However, if the bats don’t come to life, there’s also the other scenario.