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San Francisco Giants: Building a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 15: Will Smith #13 of the San Francisco Giants celebrates beating the Milwaukee Brewers and getting the save at Oracle Park on June 15, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 15: Will Smith #13 of the San Francisco Giants celebrates beating the Milwaukee Brewers and getting the save at Oracle Park on June 15, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /
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CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 24: Alex Reyes #61 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Wrigley Field on September 24, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 24: Alex Reyes #61 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Wrigley Field on September 24, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

San Francisco Giants Trade Proposal #1

To Cardinals: LHP Madison Bumgarner, LHP Tony Watson
To Giants: RHP Alex Reyes, RHP Johan Oviedo, LHP Steven Gingery

This would be a bold move all the way around.

The Cardinals would be taking an aggressive dive into the trade market in an effort to bolster the starting rotation and add a proven veteran reliever to the bullpen. The Giants would be trading one of the faces of their franchise and another valuable piece for an extremely risky return.

It’s no big secret that Madison Bumgarner is not the pitcher he was in his prime. While he has regained close to his peak velocity this year, there remain many reasons for concern.

However, the questions surround his ceiling, not his floor. He is, at minimum, a reliable mid-rotation starter who will eat innings. That alone would be an upgrade for St. Louis.

As for reliever Tony Watson, he too is not the same dominant southpaw he was in his prime, but he’s a reliable setup man who has handled eighth-inning duties for the Giants this season.

His 2.64 ERA would rank as one of the best in the Cardinals bullpen and he would give the team some further insurance if Andrew Miller is unable to rekindle his magic.

In return, the Giants would get three prospects with tremendous upside and tremendous risk. That might be the way to go with assets like Bumgarner and Watson, who have value but clearly also have their flaws.

Alex Reyes debuted in 2016 as one of the top prospects in all of baseball, and he backed up the hype by posting a 1.57 ERA with 52 strikeouts in 46 innings. However, he’s been saddled by injuries time and time again since that promising debut and the once budding ace remains an enigma.

After missing all of 2017, Reyes has only thrown 67.1 innings over the past two seasons. The results this year have been concerning. At Triple-A with the Memphis RedBirds, Reyes has maintained his strikeout stuff (11.8 K/9), but his walks have spiked well above his career norms (6.5 BB/9) and they’ve been the root cause of a 6.09 ERA.

He still has the electric stuff that made him such a highly regarded prospect. If the Cardinals are ready to move on, and he can stay healthy going forward, it could prove to be a steal for the Giants.

Johan Oviedo and Steven Gingery are both starting pitchers who come with their own sets of risk.

Oviedo has shown premium velocity in the past to mix with a pair of decent off-speed pitches. His fastball velocity has regressed to the low 90s of late, but he’s still been effective at the lower levels of the minors. If the Giants believe his velocity will return or his secondary stuff can take a step forward, he too offers some intriguing buy-low appeal.

As for Gingery, he looked like a safe bet to fit in at the back of the rotation with the potential to develop into someone in the Jason Vargas mode. He underwent Tommy John surgery while in college and has yet to make his pro debut after being taken in the fourth round in 2018.

It’s also worth noting that the Cardinals might not be dissuaded by Bumgarner’s rental status.

This past offseason, they acquired Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks ahead of the final year of his contract, then quickly agreed to an extension. It’s not out of the question to think they could do the same with Bumgarner.

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