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 2016 trade deadline.
Despite missing the postseason in 2015, the San Francisco Giants were still in good shape heading into the 2016 season.
They entered the month of July with a 50-31 record, which was the third-best record in baseball behind only the Chicago Cubs (51-27) and Texas Rangers (51-29).
However, a 2-11 stretch of games in July trimmed their division lead to just one game on July 29, and that sparked a pair of major trades on deadline day. With July 31 falling on a Sunday, the deadline was moved back to Aug. 1 on a one-off basis.
Here’s a look at their July activity:
July 28, 2016: IF Eduardo Nunez acquired from Minnesota Twins for LHP Adalberto Mejia
With Matt Duffy sidelined with an Achilles injury, the Giants were in the market for a third baseman leading up to the deadline. The answer proved to be Minnesota Twins All-Star Eduardo Nunez.
The 29-year-old was hitting .296/.325/.439 with 28 extra-base hits and 27 steals in 91 games at the time of the trade, and he went on to post similar numbers following the trade. He also came with one more year of team control, and the Giants flipped him in another trade at the 2017 deadline.
Left-hander Adalberto Mejia was the No. 10 prospect in the Giants system at the start of 2016, according to Baseball America, and he has posted a 4.50 ERA in 134 innings with the Twins over parts of the past four seasons.
August 1, 2016: LHP Matt Moore acquired from Tampa Bay Rays for 3B Matt Duffy, SS Lucius Fox, RHP Michael Santos
Matt Moore was once ranked as the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball at the start of the 2012 season, according to Baseball America, and he had established himself as a solid MLB starter when he joined the Giants at the 2016 deadline.
He had a 4.08 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over 130 innings at the time of the trade, and he had an identical 4.08 ERA in 12 starts following the deal. He also threw eight strong innings against the Chicago Cubs in the NLDS in his lone postseason start, allowing two hits and one earned run while striking out 10.
Adding to his appeal at the time of the trade was the fact that he was just 27 years old and under control through 2019 with a series of club options. However, he struggled to a 5.52 ERA the following year and he was traded to the Texas Rangers prior to the 2018 season.
In exchange for Moore, the Giants gave up Matt Duffy who was a year removed from finishing second in NL Rookie of the Year voting, along with touted international signing Lucius Fox (No. 4 prospect per Baseball America) and high-ceiling right-hander Michael Santos (No. 19 prospect per Baseball America).
August 1, 2016: LHP Will Smith acquired from Milwaukee Brewers for C Andrew Susac, RHP Phil Bickford
Will Smith was excellent in a setup role immediately following this trade, posting a 2.95 ERA and 12.8 K/9 with 11 holds in 26 appearances.
He missed the entire 2017 season and part of 2018 recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he has returned with a vengeance, emerging as one of the best closers in baseball this season. The ultimate grade on this trade will depend on what type of return the Giants are able to land in exchange for the free-agent-to-be this summer.
Andrew Susac was once hailed as the catcher of the future in San Francisco and he was still just 26 years old at the time of the trade, but he has played just 26 games at the MLB level since the trade.
Phil Bickford was the No. 18 overall pick in 2015 and he was the No. 3 prospect in the Giants system at the time of the trade, via Baseball America. However, he too has failed to live up to expectations and has yet to advance beyond the High-A level.
After entering July with a 50-31 record, the San Francisco Giants went 37-44 the rest of the way to limp into the postseason with a wild-card berth.
The knocked off the New York Mets in the Wild Card game before they were ousted by the Cubs in the NLDS. It was a disappointing finish for a squad that looked like the team to beat during the first half of the season.
The biggest takeaway here will be the Will Smith trade, which has a chance to go down as one of the best in franchise history and serve as a major catalyst for the current rebuild.
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.