San Francisco Giants should replace Joe Panik at MLB trade deadline

If the San Francisco Giants decide to buy at the MLB trade deadline, second base looks like an obvious area to upgrade.

The San Francisco Giants are on a roll with seven wins in a row and a 13-2 record in the month of July.

At this point, they seem far more likely to stand pat or even buy at the trade deadline than they do to sell, and understandably so with just two games separating them from the No. 2 NL wild-card spot.

If they do decide to pursue additions, second base looks like the obvious place to start.

Here's a quick look at how the team's production from the second base position stacks up to the rest of the league:

  • BA: .243 (21st in MLB)
  • OPS: .640 (28th in MLB)
  • HR: 4 (30th in MLB)
  • XBH: 23 (27th in MLB)
  • RBI: 39 (24th in MLB)
  • R: 40 (23rd in MLB)

The biggest culprit has obviously been starter Joe Panik, who is hitting a punchless .231/.308/.313 with 19 extra-base hits in 357 plate appearances.

That adds up to a 68 OPS+, which means he's producing 32 percent below a league-average rate offensively. That ranks 154th among the 155 hitters who have tallied enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title.

The former Gold Glove winner has also turned in negative Defensive Runs Saved in each of the past three seasons, including -1 DRS so far this year. In other words, he's not offsetting any of his middling offensive production with his work in the field.

All of that has added up to a minus-0.5 WAR which backs up the idea that he's producing significantly below a league-average level and makes him one of the least valuable players in all of baseball.

The 28-year-old has one year of arbitration remaining, but at this rate, there's a good chance the San Francisco Giants front office opts to non-tender him during the offseason.

If the writing is already on the wall, the team might as well start searching for his replacement now by targeting options with team control beyond this season who can also serve as an immediate upgrade for the playoff push.

Next: 10 best shortstops in franchise history

So if the San Francisco Giants do decide to buy, second base is where they should start. We some follow-up ideas on who they could target, so stay tuned.