San Francisco Giants: Pros, cons of holding onto top trade chips
The San Francisco Giants have a big decision to make whether to hold onto their top trade chips. What are the pros and cons of standing pat?
It seems like just yesterday that the San Francisco Giants were poised to be one of, if not the biggest seller at the 2019 MLB trade deadline.
A bad record and attractive veteran trade chips gave them the prototypical profile of a team ready to be raided by playoff hopefuls come trade season.
Then, just when that season was about to kick off, the Giants flipped the switch in a major way.
Suddenly the pitching went from below average to above average, while the offense did a complete 180, going from the bottom tier to the best in baseball in July.
From 11 games under .500 at the end of June, they have moved to two games over .500 while climbing out of the NL West cellar and into second place in the division. More importantly, they are now just two games back for the second NL wild-card spot.
It’s been an amazing thing to watch, and if the turnaround is sustained, it would truly be one of the best in MLB history.
However, it has also created quite the wrinkle in the San Francisco Giants midseason plans.
Even as recently as two weeks ago, the front office was undoubtedly planning for a trade deadline sell-off. Now the question is whether they should be trading anyone or standing pat.
Ace Madison Bumgarner and relievers Will Smith, Tony Watson, and Sam Dyson ranked among the most attractive trade chips on the market when they were readily available.
The pros and cons of keeping them are pretty simple.
Pro: The Giants keep their best players and improve their chances of completing this unforeseen playoff push. They also keep one of the most iconic players in franchise history in a Giants uniform for a bit longer.
Con: The franchise misses out on a golden opportunity to bolster the farm system and better position the team for the long-term. There’s no guarantee this magical run they are on will end with a trip to the postseason.
That’s really what it boils down to.
Of course, you can dig a bit deeper.
The fact that Bumgarner and Smith are both free agents this coming offseason and could be lost for nothing this winter has to be taken into account.
On the other side of that argument is the fact that while both players would bring back a solid return, neither is going to command a franchise-altering haul like what the Chicago White Sox received for Chris Sale or the New York Yankees received for Aroldis Chapman.
The front office would likely be gambling on high-ceiling prospects rather than acquiring slam-dunk young talent unless another contender gets desperate.
The likelihood of the Giants completing this push to the postseason also has to be considered.
FiveThirtyEight.com gives them just a 10 percent chance of reaching the postseason, and with the Los Angeles Dodgers running away with the NL West, a wild-card berth is their only hope.
One final pro: The front office can now not only leverage the fact that they could be keeping their top trade chips as a means of asking for a bigger return, but they can also then sit back and weigh if a potential return package is worth it over a greater chance of making the playoffs.
As of now, the general public knows nothing.
Every Madison Bumgarner start and Will Smith save could be their last in a San Francisco Giants uniform, even with the team’s recent run of success. All we can do is it back and have some faith in Farhan Zaidi.