A red-hot month of July could be enough to convince the San Francisco Giants to make some additions before the trade deadline. In the days to come, we’ll highlight some potential trade target and propose hypothetical deals.
Even after losing on Saturday, the San Francisco Giants are still 13-3 in the month of July, and right in the thick of the NL wild-card race.
That could be enough for them to pursue some potential upgrades ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, and second base looks like an obvious spot to address.
We’ve already talked in-depth about the struggles of Joe Panik and the second base position as a whole this season.
Now it’s time to look at some potential targets.
Let’s start with Baltimore Orioles speedster Jonathan Villar.
The 28-year-old joined the O’s at last year’s trade deadline as part of the deal that sent Jonathan Schoop to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Villar posted a 117 OPS+ with 38 doubles, 19 home runs and an NL-leading 62 steals for 3.9 WAR during a breakout 2016 season, but failed to duplicate that level of offensive success in subsequent seasons.
That said, he would still represent a significant upgrade over Joe Panik (stats as of 7/19):
- Panik: 68 OPS+, .231/.308/.313, 15 2B, 3 HR, 4 SB, -0.5 WAR
- Villar: 93 OPS+, .257/.320/.407, 21 2B, 10 HR, 17 SB, 0.9 WAR
Both players have one year of team control remaining, so it would be a chance for the San Francisco Giants to add a more stable short-term solution while they continue to search for a long-term answer.
So what will it take to acquire Villar?
Consider the following trade proposal:
- To SF: 2B Jonathan Villar
- To BAL: 2B Joe Panik, LHP Garrett Williams, RHP Israel Cruz
Panik would give the Orioles a stopgap replacement for the rest of the season. If he shows them something, he’s controllable for another year through arbitration. If not, he can be non-tendered during the offseason with no further financial commitment.
Left-hander Garrett Williams currently ranks as the No. 18 prospect in the San Francisco Giants system, according to MLB.com.
The 24-year-old has a 3.95 ERA and a .218 opponents’ batting average with 78 strikeouts in 82 innings at Double-A this season. A seventh-round pick in 2016, he has a 60-grade curveball and can touch 96 with his fastball, giving him a high floor thanks to his reliever potential.
That said, improved command and further refinement of his changeup could give him a middle-of-the-rotation profile.
Right-hander Israel Cruz finally made his full-season debut this year after five seasons in rookie ball. He was acquired from the Texas Rangers in the Matt Moore trade and he’s opened some eyes with a 1.59 ERA and a 14-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 11.1 innings out of the Salem-Keizer bullpen this year.
Consider him a stand-in for any low-level minor leaguer outside the team’s top 30 prospects who happens to catch the Baltimore Orioles eye.
Would that be enough to get a deal done?
It’s tough to say, but Villar should be on the San Francisco Giants radar as a potential trade deadline upgrade for the second base position.