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 2012 trade deadline.
The disappointment of missing the postseason in 2011 did not discourage the San Francisco Giants from taking an aggressive approach to the 2012 trade deadline. The moves they made wound up paying off in a big way.
They had a 44-35 record heading into the month of July, which gave them a narrow one-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
They made just two moves in the month of July, but they proved to be two huge additions to the lineup.
Here’s a look at their July activity:
July 27, 2012: 2B Marco Scutaro, cash acquired from Colorado Rockies for IF Charlie Culberson
The moment Freddy Sanchez underwent season-ending back surgery in 2012, the second base position became a revolving door for the San Francisco Giants. The front office settled on sending 2007 first-round pick Charlie Culberson, who had just made his MLB debut on May 13, to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for seasoned veteran Marco Scutaro.
The 36-year-old was hitting .271/.324/.361 with 23 extra-base hits in 93 games at the time of the trade, and he took his game to another level upon joining the Giants.
In 61 games following the trade, he hit .362/.385/.473 with 20 extra-base hits, and he kept rolling in October with a .328 average and .377 on-base percentage during the playoffs. That included a 14-for-28 performance against the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS that won him MVP honors.
The Giants re-signed him to a three-year, $20 million deal during the offseason, and after making the All-Star team in 2013, he played just five more games over the final two years of the contract.
The new contract may have been ill-advised, but the pivotal role he played in the team’s 2012 success makes this one of the best deadline deals in franchise history.
July 31, 2012: RF Hunter Pence acquired from Philadelphia Phillies for OF Nate Schierholtz, C Tommy Joseph, RHP Seth Rosin
While Marco Scutaro made an immediate impact in San Francisco, Hunter Pence was actually something of a disappointment.
He hit just .219/.287/.384 with seven home runs in 59 games after the trade and then batted a similarly forgettable .210/.231/.290 with four RBI in 16 games during the 2012 postseason.
Luckily, he was more than just a rental.
With one year of arbitration remaining, he returned strong in 2013 with a .283/.339/.483 line that included 35 doubles, 27 home runs, 99 RBI and 22 steals for a 3.8 WAR season.
The Giants locked him up with a five-year, $90 million deal on Sept. 29, before he had a chance to hit the open market, and he played a key role during the team’s 2014 title run while establishing himself as a fan favorite.
The 28-year-old Nate Schierholtz gave the Phillies an immediate replacement in right field, but he ended up being non-tendered during the subsequent offseason, and parting with him was an easy decision for the Giants to make.
Tommy Joseph was the No. 3 prospect in the Giants system, according to Baseball America, while Seth Rosin was not ranked among the team’s top 30 prospects at the start of 2012. All things considered, it was a minor price to pay for an established slugger with an extra year of team control remaining.
The Giants probably don’t win the World Series in 2012 without Marco Scutaro and they probably don’t win the World Series in 2014 without Hunter Pence, so the moves they made at the 2012 trade deadline had a profound impact on their run of three titles in five years.
In the end, they didn’t give up anything of consequence to acquire two players who will forever have a place in franchise lore.
The Giants finished 94-68 to win the NL West in 2012, Then they knocked off the Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers to claim their second World Series title in three years.
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.