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 2009 trade deadline.
After four straight losing seasons, the San Francisco Giants returned to relevance in 2009.
They had a 42-34 record heading into the month of July. That left them six games back in the NL West, but with a two-game lead in the NL wild-card standings.
That was enough to make them buyers at the deadline and they added a pair of infielders to bolster the offensive attack.
Here’s a look at their July activity:
July 27, 2009: 1B Ryan Garko acquired from Cleveland Indians for LHP Scott Barnes
After back-to-back productive seasons for the Cleveland Indians, Ryan Garko was hitting .285/.362/.464 with 11 home runs and 39 RBI in 273 plate appearances during the 2009 season when he was shipped to San Francisco.
With Travis Ishikawa (363 PA, 87 OPS+) and Rich Aurilia (133 PA, 40 OPS+) underperforming as the team’s primary options at first base, Garko looked like a clear upgrade.
However, he hit just .235/.307/.330 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 127 plate appearances after the trade, and he departed in free agency during the offseason.
Lefty Scott Barnes had a 5.20 ERA in 22 appearances with the Indians in 2012 and 2013, which marked his only big league action. Baseball America ranked him as the No. 9 prospect in the San Francisco system at the start of the 2009 season.
July 29, 2009: 2B Freddy Sanchez acquired from Pittsburgh Pirates for RHP Tim Alderson
Freddy Sanchez joined the Giants with quite the track record. He was a three-time All-Star and the NL batting title winner in 2006 when he hit .344.
Emmanuel Burriss (220 PA, 48 OPS+) had been the team’s primary second baseman prior to the trade, so even though Sanchez hit just .284/.295/.324 for a 62 OPS+ following the trade, he was still an upgrade.
That middling performance also didn’t stop the Giants from signing him to a two-year, $11 million extension that replaced his 2010 club option.
He hit .292/.342/.397 for a 102 OPS+ the following season while playing an integral role in the team’s World Series title.
At the time, the price to acquire Sanchez was steep.
Tim Alderson was the No. 4 prospect in the San Francisco farm system and the No. 45 prospect in baseball at the start of 2009, according to Baseball America. He never reached the majors, though, topping out in Triple-A.
While the Ryan Garko trade didn’t pan out and Freddy Sanchez didn’t hit much down the stretch in 2009, this deadline was still a win for the Giants since Sanchez was a key contributor the following season.
As far as 2009 in a bubble, the Giants ended up finishing 88-74, which left them in third place in the NL West standings.
Still, this season marked a clear turning point after several years of losing.
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.