San Francisco Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi recently commented on the team’s deadline plans. Marc Delucchi offers up his interpretation and suggestions.
With a 19-14 record since the beginning of June, the San Francisco Giants have looked like a solid Major League Baseball team.
Veterans like Evan Longoria and Jeff Samardzija have started to perform closer to their career numbers, while a number of new faces have begun asserting themselves into everyday roles.
Rookies Tyler Beede and Shaun Anderson have become mainstays in the rotation. While both have struggled with consistency, they both look like contributors going forward. Mike Yastrzemski hasn’t been exceptional, but he at least looks like an above-average fourth outfielder. Austin Slater is off to a red-hot start and Alex Dickerson looks like a legitimate everyday player.
There are a number of reasons to be excited about the Giants today and in the future. It’s been a long time since fans felt that way. With that being said, we will soon be saying goodbye to some of our favorite players.
In a recent interview, team president Farhan Zaidi tried to be coy with the team’s deadline plans, telling reporters the following (via Kerry Crowley of The Mercury News):
"“If we can continue to play well over these next couple of weeks, then some of the narratives that are out there about what we might do at the trade deadline are probably going to conflict with that goal to keep pushing on in a season where we still hope to accomplish some things”"
Does that mean buying is an option for the San Francisco Giants?
Sure. After all, we’ve already seen prospects traded for the likes of Michael Reed, Tyler Austin, Kevin Pillar, and Alex Dickerson earlier this year. Moves like that are always on the table with Zaidi. That doesn’t mean the focus will be on adding veteran talent.
With regards to what kind of players the Giants might target on trades, Crowley offered up the following:
"“It’s unrealistic for the franchise to be a true buyer at this year’s deadline, but Zaidi hinted that the prospects he would target in trades would be advanced players who already have limited major league experience or are nearly ready for their first taste of big league action.”"
That approach has been suggested before and it makes sense in theory. Prospects closer to the major league level have a more proven track record and are more likely to succeed.
However, there’s an obvious catch. Any contending team is also going to place tremendous value on prospects close to contributing as well since they’re focused on the short-term.
Still, that’s the correct initial approach. Target good prospects who are close to contributing at the MLB level, perhaps prying loose a player who doesn’t have a clear path to playing with their current organization.
Considering that approach, teams with deep farm systems like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, and Tampa Bay Rays line up well as trade partners.
There has been some recent buzz linking the Dodgers to the Giants stable of relievers, and I laid out a potential pathway to a deal with the Dodgers back in May as part of my Sell-off Series. As frustrating as a trade with the rival Dodgers may be for Giants fans, their system is filled with players who are currently blocked but could make a near-term impact in San Francisco.
The Rays also line up well given their wealth of middle infield prospects and the Giants clear long-term need at essentially every infield spot. With immediate needs at second base and shortstop, guys like Vidal Brujan and Nick Solak make a lot of sense as prospect targets.
There’s another type of prospect on the other end of the spectrum that the Giants front office should also be targeting.
Contenders might be more willing to give up raw prospects who are far from the major leagues. With that in mind, the Giants might be able to land players with higher upside if they are still playing in the lower levels of the minors.
Prospects like that are high-risk lottery tickets, but that approach is exactly how the Giants acquired Gregory Santos from the Boston Red Sox in the Eduardo Nunez trade.
It seems the Giants primary focus in the trade deadline will be to add pieces close to contributing. If that means settling for marginal Triple-A talent for players like Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith, it would be a grave mistake.
The Giants can’t afford to sacrifice upside for proximity to the majors.
While someone like Dodgers slugger DJ Peters makes sense as a potential MLB-ready target, the front office shouldn’t shy away from raw, toolsy talents in the lower levels of the minors. Moves like that could pay major dividends years down the road.
There’s no reason for the San Francisco Giants to pigeonhole themselves into one specific approach when it comes acquiring young talent. They should cast a wide net from the upper levels of the minor leagues all the way down to rookie ball to get the best return possible.