Late last week, the SF Giants added veteran infielder Johan Camargo to the organization. His contract was purchased after two games in Sacramento, so how do the Giants see him helping them down the stretch?
What is Johan Camargo's role for the SF Giants on the 2023 roster?
The trade deadline came and went with the Giants staying quiet. It was very much a seller's market and the supply of impact trade candidates was unusually thin. Could they have made a trade?
There just were not many trades that even made sense. Adding Jordan Montgomery or Michael Lorenzen would have bolstered the starting rotation. There is no doubt about that.
Maybe veteran infielder Paul DeJong represented a marginal improvement compared to the production that the Giants have received at shortstop. Of course, the Giants could have traded with the New York Mets for either Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander.
Both pitchers had a no-trade clause, meaning that they could use that leverage to influence where they were traded. For Verlander, it was a return back to Houston, which is where he finished last season. Scherzer was sent to the Texas Rangers, who look like a legitimate World Series contender. Plus, the Mets were clearly using their spending power to maximize prospect capital in return.
Do you want the Giants to trade a top prospect such as Marco Luciano after investing so much time in developing the farm system? Maybe it makes sense, but that is the balancing act that the Giants had to weigh.
So, the trade deadline passed and the Giants did not add any reinforcements with the exception of AJ Pollock and Mark Mathias. It is possible that both of their tenures with San Francisco have already come to an end.
This brings us to Johan Camargo. It was not an exciting addition by any means, but the Giants have been stuck in a rough offensive stretch. Slumps end, but this one feels like there is no ending in sight.
Camargo played both of his games with Sacramento at shortstop and that could be a sign of where you might expect to see him play. While the offense, as a whole, has been struggling badly, shortstop has been especially bad.
Giants shortstops have combined to post a .516 OPS with just two home runs in 164 plate appearances since the All-Star break. Most of those contributions have been from Brandon Crawford and Casey Schmitt with the latter recently optioned to Triple-A.
Crawford hit a bit of a hot streak in the middle of the season, but his bat has gone cold over the past two months. Plus, the defense at shortstop has not graded out well as it has been worth -15 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and +1 Outs Above Average (OAA).
The Giants are looking to wring out production from the shortstop contingent anyway they can. Camargo may not represent anything more than a marginal improvement. His defense has rarely graded out poorly at any position and he has experience at shortstop.
The switch-hitter appeared with the Philadelphia Phillies last year where he posted a .613 OPS with three home runs while being worth 0.4 fWAR. That is a large decline from the .806 OPS and 15 home runs he tallied with the Atlanta Braves in 2019.
While his overall numbers were not great, they would represent an improvement over the current production at shortstop. In the early going, he has three hits in seven at-bats, which is too small of a sample to draw any type of conclusion. If the marginal improvement helps the Giants squeak by with an extra victory by the end of the season, then maybe the experiment is worth the shot.