A couple of days ago, we made the case that the SF Giants should pull Alex Wood out of the rotation. However, the latest rumor from Robert Murray of FanSided indicates that the veteran pitcher could not just be pulled out of the rotation, but moved to a different team at the trade deadline.
Could veteran SF Giants lefty pitcher be on the trading block?
On the Baseball Insiders podcast, Murray and Adam Weinrib discuss the trade deadline and what to expect. An unprompted Murray lists Wood as someone who could be moved within the next week:
""I think a guy we should talk about as a potential trade target is Alex Wood of the San Francisco Giants. I think we should be paying some attention to that... Wouldn't surprise me if he does get moved.""- Robert Murray
For one reason or another, it just has not worked out with Wood in 2023. The 11-year veteran has posted a 4.99 ERA, 5.24 FIP, 1.54 WHIP, 8.0 K/9, and a 1.70 SO/W ratio in 15 appearances, including 11 starts. By the way, Murray's response did make it seem like the Giants were gauging trade interest in the veteran.
There are some concerning trends as both Wood's strikeout rate and walk rate are going in the wrong direction. The southpaw has generally relied on solid command throughout his career, but that quality seems to have disappeared this year as he has tallied an unusually high 4.7 BB/9.
Furthermore, Wood's starts have generally been quality over quantity as he has rarely pitched deep into games over the past couple of seasons. However, the quality has diminished and he has pitched over five innings just once this season. It is neither quality nor quantity.
Based purely on observation, it does seem like the left-handed pitcher is unhappy with how he is being used and would prefer to be stretched out. That said, the numbers do suggest that he should be limited to just two turns through the lineup.
I should caution that this does not indicate that the Giants plan to be sellers. Rather, Wood is in the final year of a two-year, $25 million contract. In essence, he is a rental and rental players are the most likely to be moved at the trade deadline.
A trade could be as simple as a move between two change-of-scenery players. One such move that makes some sense would be trading Wood to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for outfielder Jesse Winker.
The Giants have too many underperforming pitchers, so moving Wood would be a way to free up a roster spot for a position player. Winker would be an oblong fit for several reasons as he has struggled to the tune of .559 OPS, but with a solid 13.3 percent walk rate. Though, Wood is not going to generate much of a trade return.
Plus, Winker is in the final year of a two-year, $14.5 million pact. He will become a free agent at the end of the season, so it could be, in a sense, a tryout. The money is not a complete wash, meaning that the Giants may need to pitch in some cash.
It does feel like Wood's roster spot could be better utilized with one of the Giants' young pitchers or a hitter with a track record of success like Winker. So, this would not be a seller's move, but rather, a change in roster composition.