The SF Giants have a 54-42 overall record on the year while sitting in first place in the Wild Card standings. They expect to be buyers at the trade deadline, so what are the priorities that they need to address?
Ranking the top 3 SF Giants needs for the trade deadline
It feels like the Giants have an identity in terms of how they win games. The lineup is good enough to scratch four or five runs across home plate and the bullpen has been one of the best in baseball over the past couple of months.
The key is finding a way to score early so that the bullpen has a chance to close it out. On top of this, the defense has shown considerable improvement compared to last year when they were one of the worst in baseball. This year, the team's defense has been worth -2 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and +7 Outs Above Average (OAA).
Defensive metrics have their flaws, so they do send some mixed signals. However, based on the eye test, the Giants have not lost many games because of their defense this year. The same could not be said at this point last year.
So, the roster has quality overall components, but which areas do they need to bolster?
1. The starting rotation
Perhaps, the biggest surprise of the first half of the season was the performance of the starting rotation. Logan Webb and Alex Cobb were fantastic as they have been some of the better starters in the National League with a 3.11 ERA and a 2.82 ERA, respectively.
However, the rotation outside of these two has struggled to find any type of consistency. The Giants have used Sean Manaea, Anthony DeSclafani, Alex Wood, and Ross Stripling out of the rotation. It would be nice to see them give an opportunity to Tristan Beck or Keaton Winn, but both are back in Triple-A at the moment.
In fairness, Wood had a solid start recently against the Colorado Rockies where he tallied five scoreless innings. And, Stripling had a quality outing on Wednesday as he yielded three earned runs across six innings in a 3-2 loss against the Cincinnati Reds.
However, none of the four veteran options have put together anything that resembles consistency. The Giants hope that someone like Stripling can step up and help them out down the stretch.
The rotation is a clear need despite the fact that this unit has posted a 3.97 ERA in 2023. The trade market has not fully formed yet, but Jordan Montgomery or Jack Flaherty of the St. Louis Cardinals or Lucas Giolito of the Chicago White Sox make some sense. All three pitchers are rentals, so the cost will be relatively low given that any of the three would only make 10 - 12 for the remainder of the year. Of course, the Giants could pursue an outside-the-box upgrade as well.