With rumors swirling as the MLB trade deadline inches closer, it feels like the SF Giants are connected to another big name every hour. Already tied to stars like Trevor Story and Kris Bryant, they may even be able to build a trade for Nationals ace Max Scherzer. However, even if Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi decides to pass on the most notable names available, that does not necessarily mean he made a mistake. In fact, they could easily end up winning the deadline with these three trades.
SF Giants: How to win the trade deadline in three minor moves
1. Alex Cobb
While he may not have the pedigree of someone like Scherzer, Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Alex Cobb has quietly had a fantastic resurgent 2021 campaign. In the final year of a four-year, $57 million contract, Cobb has made 15 starts and recorded 84 strikeouts, 26 walks, and a 3.82 ERA across 77.2 innings pitched. Perhaps more importantly to front office analysts around the league, several advanced analytics are even higher on his performance (2.62 FIP and 3.17 xFIP).
The Angels are still above .500 on the season, and many of their players are hoping for an opportunity to make a run at the playoffs in the final months of the season. Still, with Cobb slated for free agency at the end of the year, the front office could easily try to recoup some players with long-term control. Cobb does have a 10-team no-trade clause, but it’s unclear if the Giants are on that list. More importantly, located relatively close to southern California and deep in a postseason race, it would seem like Cobb would be inclined to allow a deal with San Francisco.
Tyler Beede may not be a centerpiece in a trade package like the former first-round pick could have been a few years ago, but the Angels have quietly found great success at helping pitchers like Cobb revitalize their careers. Command has always been the biggest impediment to Beede’s success, but the 28-year-old still has strikeout stuff and the arsenal to be an effective mid-rotation starter. His control may ultimately force him to the bullpen, but he’d be an easy gamble worth taking for Los Angeles.
Outfielder Jaylin Davis could also conceivably contribute at the MLB level in 2021 and beyond. While he has dealt with a series of injuries, Davis has obliterated Triple-A pitching when he’s received the opportunity in 2019 and 2021, posting a combined OPS of over 1.000. However, injuries and the Giants deep outfield depth have limited him to just 68 big-league plate appearances spread over the past three seasons. Davis has all the tools to be an impact player but might be someone the Giants are willing to part with. For an Angels team that already has a vision for its outfield of the future, Davis would not need to fill an everyday role but should be able to carve out a spot as at least a fourth outfielder.
The Angels would still want a legitimate prospect to be the centerpiece of any deal for Cobb. With a farm system that lacks notable catching prospects, it’s easy to envision the Angels looking to add a backstop. While the Giants may be willing to part with 2020 first-round pick Patrick Bailey, the Angels would probably prefer catcher Ricardo Genovés, who may rank among the ten best prospects in San Francisco’s farm system. Genovés is hitting .286/.392/.486 this season between Low-A and High-A with 10 home runs, 35 walks, and 57 strikeouts in 260 plate appearances.
Still, Davis and Beede are ancillary pieces on the Giants 40-man roster, neither have a significant amount of value. The Angels would likely be intrigued by the prospect of adding either one, but Cobb is legitimately one of the better starters that would be available at the deadline. It would probably take an additional prospect, like Seth Corry, to get the deal done. Corry is a southpaw who easily ranked among the Giants top-ten prospects entering the season, but has really taken a step back this season at High-A. He’s still racking up strikeouts at an elite rate (31.5%), but his 20.4% walk rate is impeding his overall success. Still, Corry has the potential to be an impact player if he can develop even 40-grade command. He should add just enough upside to get a deal done.