Monday, July 29, 2013

Giants Making a Deal on Capitol Hill?

Veterans, Lopez, Pence and Lincecum are On the Block

Could Pence be Traded?
Remember when Brian Sabean said that he didn't envision trading anyone because the Giants needed them to get back into this race?  Looks like you won't need to worry about getting back in this Sabes...

The Giants who visited POTUS today to remember happier times are now 10 games behind the 1st place Dodgers, fresh off a sweep by the Cubs who scored a total of 6 runs against the Giants in 3 games.  The Giants of course only scored 3 runs in those games including a 1-0 shutout after 8 shutout innings by Bumgarner.

Yes folks, this is the "real" rock bottom.

And by "real" rock botttom I mean that even if the Giants do end up doing even worse, or more people get injured, there's really nothing else that could happen this season that would be worse than falling out of the race having been swept by the Cubs.  With 2 days left before the non-waiver trade deadline, the Giants' focus has now turned from 2013 to 2014.  This is not a win\now team, this is a win next year and beyond team.

Speaking on that, the Giants must figure out what they want to do with their 3 most prominent players who are becoming free agents at the end of the season, Lopez, Pence and Lincecum.  Supposedly Sabean is now entertaining offers for all three, although the price for each have been reported to be very high, perhaps even prohibitively high.  Here's why the Giants should or should not trade each player

Javier Lopez

Why he'll be traded:

Of the 3 impending free agents, Lopez is the most likely trade candidate, he's absolutely devastating against left handed hitting.  Left handed hitters have only hit .172 against Lopez this year and he's shown that he can be a lockdown lefty specialist many times in the playoffs and an ideal fit for a team vying for a world series.

Of the three, Lopez is also the most expendable because to rebuild this team, the Giants are going to need to fill a lot of holes in their depleted farm system, and a lefty specialist like Lopez is a luxury the Giants can afford to give up in order to make that happen.

Why he'll stay:

Although there is probably the largest market for Lopez near the trading deadline with potential playoff teams hurting for extra bullpen help, the Giants' price has been reportedly been very high, as they are asking teams for a major league ready starting pitcher.  What the Giants are banking on, is that a playoff bound team is going to get just desperate enough to make an offer that gives the Giants that 5th starter they need next year.  This strategy however sounds like a good idea unless the Giants hold fast to their demand and will not accept anything less.

For a guy who the Giants acquired by trading John Bowker and Joe Martinez (who?) the chances that the Giants are going to get a high level prospect in return for Lopez is very low.  If the Giants don't lower their asking price, they may end up getting nothing, and Lopez may very well leave in the offseason while the Giants get nothing in return.

Tim Lincecum

Why he'll be traded:

Timmy just isn't Timmy anymore.  I know he just threw the no-hitter, I know he's been looking a lot better in his last few starts, but if anything that just gives the Giants more reason to trade him now so that they wont have to sit on the sinking ship Lincecum in 2014 or beyond.  The Giants know that Timmy has been an invaluable piece on this squad and they know he's a fan favorite, but fans like winning also, and I don't see the Giants doing much of that in the future if they hold on to him.

Why he'll stay:

The Giants plan on offering Timmy a qualifying offer this offseason which means a 1 year deal worth at least $14 million dollars.  What this does is that it triggers a compensatory 1st round pick if a team other than the Giants sign Timmy as a free agent.  That compensatory pick of course comes from the team who signs him.  For this reason and this reason alone, the Giants will not trade Timmy before the 31st.

In order for the Giants to even entertain a trade for Lincecum, the offer must be better than a player that the Giants would most likely get in the 1st round of the 2014 draft.  This means that a team must give up a high level prospect or at least a mid-level prospect that looks major league ready.  With teams looking at Lincecum as a solution for bullpen woes and not as a starting pitcher, this makes Timmy cost prohibitive and will keep away all potential suitors.

Hunter Pence

Why he'll be traded:

Pence has been a great Giants for a full season now, but with an impending free agency and him being high on every team's list, the Giants could get the most value out of Pence in a trade right now.  Pence will legitimately be worth a high level prospect and since the Giants also plan on making him a qualifying offer, they will not take anything less than a guy who's on the top 5 of every team's prospect list.

Therefore, guys such as the Pirates' Jameson Taillon are an actual possibility if the Giants are willing to part with something else in addition to Pence.  Taillon is currently ranked 12th in the top 100 prospects in the nation and would be perfect to fill the void at starting pitcher next year with Lincecum and Zito both possibly leaving.

Why he'll stay:

The Giants already have a gaping hole at left field and the Blanco/Torres/Tanaka/Francouer platoon isn't working out so well.  If the Giants were to trade Pence, they would need to fill the void at right field as well.  With Pagan coming back from a long DL stint on his bum hamstring, the Giants can't afford to trade away one of the most durable and consistent outfielders in the game today.

If anything the Giants need to make a legitimate offer to Pence and try to re-sign him before the season is over.  Pence has already shown interest in returning and the Giants don't really have any options in free agency to replace him if he leaves.


Sabean has already shown a willingness to stand pat this season and try to re-sign all three of these players in the offseason.  Since the Giants will not be able to offer Lopez a qualifying offer, he will be the guy who is most likely traded.  If somehow Sabean can get a team to agree to part with a major league ready starter for Lopez, the Giants might be able to endure the blow of losing a Lincecum or Zito this offseason and allow their own top prospect, Kyle Crick to develop longer in the minors.

At the end of the day, the Giants are no longer contending for 2013, they are contending for 2014 and whatever move they do or don't make by Wednesday, I just hope the end goal is to make the 2014 team better.

Laws of the Day

Tim Lincecum did something he's NEVER done in his entire career.  Have double digit strikeouts in 3 out of 4 straight games.  He's had 3 double digit strikeout games in a month one other time in his career in 2008 when he won his first Cy Young.

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