In the days leading up to this year’s MLB trade deadline, we’ll take a look back at San Francisco Giants deadlines past. Next up, the 2007 trade deadline.
After back-to-back losing seasons, the San Francisco Giants were in full transition mode in 2007. They had a 34-45 record entering the month of July, which left them a full 12 games back in the NL West standings.
Despite having one of the oldest lineups in baseball, they only found a taker for one veteran piece at the deadline, sending off one of their starting pitchers in a cost-cutting move.
Here’s a look at their July activity:
July 31, 2007: RHP Matt Morris traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for OF Rajai Davis, RHP Steve MacFarland
The 2007 season brought a changing of the guard to the Giants starting rotation, with Tim Lincecum (23), Matt Cain (22) and Jonathan Sanchez (24) all holding down regular spots on the staff.
The 32-year-old Matt Morris was in the second season of a three-year, $27 million contract with the Giants after an impressive run with the St. Louis Cardinals.
He went 10-15 with a 4.98 ERA over 207.2 innings in his first year with the team and was 7-7 with a 4.35 ERA in 21 starts at the time of the trade.
While it was not a surprise that Morris was moved, it was a surprise that he landed with a non-contender in Pittsburgh. The Pirates were 42-62 at the time of the trade and 14.5 games back in the NL Central.
“It is what it is,” Morris told reporters. “I’m just moving on. It’s just a shock. You hear rumors. I never heard Pittsburgh.”
The move was clearly made with 2008 in mind since Morris was under contract for one more year with a club option for 2009.
“Almost at the 11th hour we were talking to two other teams I would consider competitors in the playoff situation,” Giants general manager Brian Sabean told reporters. “As it turns out, Pittsburgh stepped up not only to take the player as is, with the contract.”
He posted a 6.10 ERA in 11 starts following the trade and was shelled to the tune of a 9.67 ERA in five starts the following season in what proved to be his final MLB action before he was released on April 27.
The speedy Rajai Davis was the No. 27 prospect in the Pittsburgh system at the start of the 2007 season, according to Baseball America. He played just 63 games with the Giants before he was claimed off waivers by the Oakland Athletics in 2008. Right-handed reliever Steve MacFarland never reached the majors.
Props to the San Francisco Giants front office for finding a non-contender that was willing to take on all of the money that was still owed to a veteran pitcher who was at the end of his rope.
Not giving Rajai Davis a real chance to show what he can do was a mistake. By 2009 he was Oakland’s starting center fielder, hitting .305/.360/.423 with 41 steals and 3.3 WAR, and he is still playing in his 14th MLB season.
The Giants ended up finishing the season at 71-91 and in last place in the NL West.
Check back here in the days and weeks to come for more San Francisco Giants trade deadline reviews, all culminating in what promises to be a busy 2019 deadline.