Could the SF Giants be interested in Oakland A's outfielder Ramón Laureano? Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirms (subscription required) that the Giants have interest in the A's outfielder as they look for defensive upgraes.
Ramón Laureano and a brief history of recent SF Giants-Oakland A's trades
The Giants have been abysmal with the glove. They rank as below-average at nearly every position and that is especially true in the outfield. As an outfield unit, the Giants have been worth -21 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and -14 Outs Above Average (OAA), which ranks as the second-worst and worst mark in baseball, respectively.
Even an average outfielder would be a considerable upgrade on defense. Given Laureano's reputation in center field, it is fair to suggest that his addition would be impactful for a defense that really needs help.
The right-handed bat is having a nice season, slashing .230/.311/.406 (108 OPS+) with 10 home runs, 22 RBI, and 36 runs in 273 plate appearances. This includes an 8.1 percent walk rate against a 24.9 percent strikeout rate. Laureano missed the first part of the season due to a PED suspension.
He has two years of control after this season and he has typically been a valuable player on the roster. The A's would be reasonable to demand a decent haul for the five-year veteran, but would it even matter what the Giants offer in any prospective trade?
Of course, if the Giants decided to part with some of their better prospects like Marco Luciano or Kyle Harrison, then the A's would likely agree. I am not saying that is what they should do, but the A's would have to be overwhelmed to accept any trade with the Giants.
This is an issue that goes back decades. It is a long story, but the A's ownership ceded territorial rights to San Jose to the Giants as San Francisco's ownership group was considering a move to the South Bay in the early 1990's.
This was not meant to be in perpetuity, but the Giants would need to relinquish the rights back to the A's, which is unlikely to happen. This has soured relations between the two ownership groups to the point where the A's have been reluctant to approve any trade with the Giants. Since 2000, the Giants and A's have connected for a total of three trades:
-July 16, 2004: Adam Pettyjohn purchased by the A's from the SF Giants
-February 15, 2020: Burch Smith purchased by the A's from the SF Giants
-April 5, 2021: Skye Bolt selected off waivers by the SF Giants from the A's
Bolt was traded back to the A's one month later in exchange for cash, so it is four trades if we are being particular. The two teams have been much more active recently, but none of these moves were earth-shattering by any means. However, Smith did have a nice season with the A's where he posted a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings in 2020.
He was not able to sustain that production and is now pitching overseas. There have been rumors in the past of the Giants and A's agreeing to a trade, but not receiving the final approval from the owners.
So, could the Giants and A's connect for a Laureano trade. Recent history would emphatically disagree but it is not out of the realm of possibility.
After all, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has ties to the A's organization from his time as Oakland's assistant general manager. However, the Giants might need to overwhelm the A's to make a trade happen for Laureano. More than likely, San Francisco and Oakland will continue to work smaller trades as both are some of the more aggressive teams on the waiver wire.