On paper, the SF Giants and Chicago Cubs appear to be a match for trades involving Craig Kimbrel and Kris Bryant, but a pair of under-the-radar names make sense as well. The Giants have the third-best bullpen in baseball ERA at 3.29, but there is still plenty of opportunity for tinkering. Adding one of Ryan Tepera or Andrew Chafin would go a long way in bolstering this area of the roster.
SF Giants: Two potential under-the-radar Cubs trade targets
The current iteration of the Giants bullpen features Jake McGee and Tyler Rogers in the high-leverage spots to go along with Dominic Leone, Zack Littel, Jarlin García, and José Álvarez. There have been some bumps in the road, but this group has performed surprisingly well.
Despite this, the SF Giants should still be in the market for pitching. Team president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi indicated that the Giants would be in the market for starting pitching, but a modest pivot could lead them to the bullpen market.
If the Cubs are looking to sell, then either Andrew Chafin or Ryan Tepera make a lot of sense for the Giants. Both are veteran relievers who attack the strike zone and are on contracts that expire at the end of 2021. In the case of Chafin, his contract includes a mutual option for $5.25 million for 2022. That seems like a steep price for a team that could be heading into a rebuild, so the Cubs might be inclined to trade the left-handed hurler.
That said, both relievers have performed well this season. Tepera has registered a 3.02 ERA, 2.88 FIP, 0.816 WHIP, 10.4 K/9/ and a stout 4.00 SO/W ratio across 41.2 frames with the Cubs. His ERA is relatively consistent with the 3.57 mark he has set in seven seasons as a major leaguer and, interestingly, he pitched well enough to earn an MVP vote last season.
On the other hand, Chafin has posted a 1.37 ERA, 2.53 FIP, 0.737 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, and a 3.70 SO/W ratio in 39.1 innings. With relievers like these two and Craig Kimbrel, it is no surprise that the Cubs have one of the better bullpens (3.39 ERA) in baseball.
As a lefty, Chafin might make a tad more sense in comparison to Tepera. The Giants have six games remaining against the Los Angeles Dodgers who have a handful of good left-handed hitters including Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, and Corey Seager. Seager is on the injured list, but he is expected to return at some point this season.
Adding Chafin would give San Francisco another high-leverage lefty who excels against left-handed hitters.
In either trade scenario, the SF Giants would have to consider the cost. Tepera is strictly a rental, so the cost to acquire him would be modest at best. The Giants boast one of the better farm systems in baseball and a trade centered around Camilo Doval or Jayin Davis could be a conversation starter.
However, Chafin has controllability beyond this season and it would take more to initiate a trade. Davis or Doval could start the conversation, but they may need to sweeten the deal with a prospect such as Logan Wyatt.
The SF Giants are, surprisingly, leading the way in a tough NL West at 61-36, but they will want to bolster the depth to better position themselves for a run down the stretch. The Cubs appear to be open for business and the Giants are in need for some help on the pitching side. Both teams appear to be a match for a trade from a couple of different angles and it seems like they could sync up for a move before the trade deadline next week.