At 29-30 entering the day, things don't feel fully hopeless for the 2023 SF Giants, which is a good place to start. The club is not likely to leapfrog the Dodgers or Diamondbacks in the NL West standings, but a Wild Card spot still feels like a possibility as we proceed through the month of June.
While many media outlets are already tabbing the Giants as potential sellers this year, that just doesn't feel like the likeliest outcome. Instead, there may be a few places on the current roster that the team could look to upgrade in hopes of making a huge run to October.
There is perhaps no hole more important to address than the club's starting rotation. Through the first 60 or so games of the year, the starting five has not been bad by any means, but injuries have begun to creep in and the group of starters has not been immune to some rough outings.
Let's take a look at which starting pitchers are likeliest to be traded at the deadline that the Giants could be interested in.
An early look at the starting pitching trade market for the SF Giants.
Lucas Giolito - Chicago White Sox
While Shane Bieber is the top available starter in this year's trade candidate class, he feels a bit too expensive for the Giants' taste. The next best thing could come in the form of Giolito as his White Sox continue to fade further and further in the standings. The right-hander is on an expiring contract and could represent an exciting rental for the Giants down the stretch. In 12 starts this year, he is 4-4 with a 4.08 ERA, 4.45 FIP, and a107 ERA+. While none of these numbers necessarily jump off the page, he is one of the more durable hurlers in the league and would be a stabilizing presence in the Giants' rotation.
Michael Lorenzen - Detroit Tigers
Sticking in the AL Central, the 26-31 Tigers are another club that feels "out of it" already in a division that's largely up for grabs with no clear cut best team. Lorenzen, 31, is in the midst of a nice bounceback season for the club and is an obvious trade candidate. The right-hander has made nine starts so far and sports a 3.21 ERA and 134 ERA+. He is another hurler on an expiring contract and could even be brought back for cheap(ish) if the Giants manage to land him and like what they see.
Jack Flaherty - St. Louis Cardinals
While the Cardinals aren't to be fully counted out just yet, their 25-35 start is a massive embarrassment. The club entered the season expecting to win the NL Central but boy, oh boy, has that plan gone south.
This could prompt the club to make some sort of change to see if that could inject some life into the roster, and a Flaherty trade feels like the likeliest move on the pitching side of things. The right-hander is a free agent at season's end and currently sports a 4.545 ERA and 93 ERA+. He is not far removed from being one of the more promising right-handers in the National League, so he will likely still demand a bit more of a return than any of the others on this list, but for good reason.
Brad Keller - Kansas City Royals
Sticking in the AL Central once again, the Royals are the only team that's truly to be considered out of contention ... already. At 18-41, this club needs to sell anything with a short contract and a heartbeat. Enter Brad Keller, who is walking entirely too many batters but remains statistically above average. The 27-year-old has managed to post a 4.36 ERA and 101 ERA+ in nine outings and 43+ innings this year despite walking a whopping 40 batters against just 31 strikeouts. While the walks are surely enough to dramatically hurt his value, he is yet another arm that could be had for cheap and remains an effective innings eater.