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The Sports Daily > The Giants Cove
Why the Giants Won’t be Sellers or Traders at the July Deadline

First, There’s Some Disturbing News

The San Francisco Giants’ critically ill 2017 season just received something akin to emergency resuscitation. While the current four-game winning streak is nice, it’s not a cure. It’s just… well, nice.

San Francisco’s 16-24 record after the first forty games of the season is a deep pit that can only be overcome if you can honestly answer “yes” to the following question: is this Giants team capable of playing at a .575 clip from today through September?

[Spoiler alert!] The correct answer is “no”, this team is not going to go 70-52 the rest of the 2017 MLB season. And that’s what they would minimally need to do if there’s any hope for even a Wild Card slot in October.

Understand there are foundational reasons the Giants have the third worst record of 30 MLB teams on May 15, 2017. It’s not a fluke, it’s not due to (as many Giants fans persist in believing) bad luck or injuries, and it’s most definitely not easily fixable.

“So give me some of that foundation stuff”, I hear you demanding in a threatening tone. Sure!

The Giants -57 run differential (DIFF) is the second highest in baseball (only the Padres -64 DIFF is higher). Breaking that down by hitting and pitching performance shows why the smell test needle has cracked the secure glass case on the smell test gauge.

The Giants are 28th of 30 MLB teams with 139 RS. To compare, Arizona is 5th overall with 196 RS; the Dodgers are 6th overall with 195 RS. So there’s that.

San Francisco is 30th overall with just 31 HR and 26th with 100 extra base hits. Arizona is 3rd in XBH with 135 and 5th in HR with 53.

The bullpen has not been a bright spot. SF is 17th in bullpen ERA at 4.09. Cleveland is #1 with a 1.92 bullpen ERA; the Dodgers are #6 at 2.99.

What we inevitably hear from the mindless rooting community is “sure, but mathematically the Giants can still do this”. Yes, I admit that San Francisco could get to 89-73 at the end of the season by playing at a .600 clip the rest of the way.

But you have to ask yourself one question. Do you feel that lucky with this team, punk? Well, do you?

The July 31st Non-Waiver Trade Deadline is a Deadend

The July non-waiver trade deadline is the #1 in-season reality check for all MLB organizations.

Top level teams (Houston, the Cubs, the Nationals, Yankees, St. Louis, etc.) can fine-tune their rosters in preparation for an October run.

Poorly performing teams (Kansas City, Miami, Pittsburgh, Seattle, etc.) have an opportunity to trade front line players for quality prospects or to simply dump some salary.

The San Francisco Giants are in a difficult position as the July deadline approaches.

First, the Giants only have four players who would bring an impactful, high-end return in a trade. But the team’s branding-marketing model makes it nearly impossible for the front office to trade Madison Bumgarner, or Buster Posey, or Brandon Crawford, or Brandon Belt.

The rest of the offensive roster wouldn’t bring anything of value to the 2017 team or beyond.

The local sport-talk radio community believes that the Giants would get a great return on some package that includes the aging and frequently injured Hunter Pence and one of the team’s many marginal players (Eduardo Nunez, .611 OPS; Joe Panik, .680 OPS; Denard Span, .725 OPS; C Nick Hundley, .603 OPS; Michael Morse, .606 OPS; Gorkys Hernandez, .480 OPS; etc.).

Which of course is illogical. Whenever you think you’ve come up with a great trade for your team, just reverse the proposed trade and ask yourself if you’d make that deal.

Second, the pitching side is equally dismal.

San Francisco has two very huge, very bad contracts with starters Matt Cain ($20m in 2017, $21m in 2018 or a $7.5 m buyout) and Jeff Samardzija ($18m/year 2017-2020). So they’re not tradeable.

The talented Johnny Cueto can opt out of his 6 year $120m contract after this season. Which he will. Any team trading for Cueto would have to be OK with a potential 3-month rental. How much could the Giants get in that kind of deal?

It is hard to believe that newly signed “closer” Mark Melancon would be dealt since GM Bobby Evans publicly celebrated Melancon’s signing as the last piece the Giants needed to get to the post season this year.

So what’s left? The Giants will certainly hold on to rookie IF Christian Arroyo, and their low-rated farm system only has one other player of any real value, RHP Tyler Beede.

No doubt these are tough times for San Francisco, and the road ahead looks murky. Certainly there is a recent history of success and players like Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner bring leadership and character to the organization.

But in the end, nothing replaces having an exceptional 25-man roster that can actually produce; a flexible 40-man roster that provides league-average back-up; and a vibrant and talented farm system continually bringing new life to the organization.

12 thoughts on “Why the Giants Won’t be Sellers or Traders at the July Deadline

  1. you are right on with your talent evaluation. however i believe that a package of cueto and belt could have some pretty good value to the yankees or red sox maybe baltimore, and if its a lost season and you get a couple mid range prospects its better than nothing. maybe even pence and panic/nunez gets something back and they are not going to be factors in the long run

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    1. Brandon Belt is one of three or four players who could bring the Giants an impact return at the non-waiver trade deadline. But they would be trading away one impact player to get another. I do like the packaging with Johnny Cueto, even though he would be a three month rental. That combo could get the Giants a significant return.

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  2. This short stretch coming up including the cubs, cards, braves, and nationals will say a lot about this season. If it goes well maybe they can win 6 out of 10 the rest of the way getting back into the wild card. If not trade what you can at the deadline and look toward 2018

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    1. Mike-
      It’s interesting almost two months into the season to look at the potential Wild Card teams in the National League.
      The Mets and Pirates were supposed to be in the WC hunt but they aren’t looking so bueno. St. Louis, Colorado, and Arizona on the other hand have the talent and management to make a run. We’ll see where we are in August.

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  3. It won’t happen, but the first move the Giants need to make is to find a new GM who actually understands the talent level (or lack thereof) on this team. As it stands now, the GM team (Evans and Sabean) are either part of the marketing team or in denial.

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    1. Listening to interviews with Bobby Evans is painful. Like Brian Sabean, Evans talks in bland generalities like he has important secrets to hide and rarely says anything of substance.

      Meanwhile there is a new generation of extremely bright young GMs around the game who openly discuss their teams’ problems and their strategies moving forward. When they are interviewed you actually learn more about baseball and just where analytically progressive franchises are going.

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    1. BoxMan-
      I appreciate your opinions and perspective. And it’s natural for fans to stick up for their team and believe in the team’s ability to overcome difficult times. And you’re right, it has happened before.
      But your message stands strong on its own and doesn’t need the addition of playground name-calling to back it up [edited out].
      As Lon Simmons used to put it, if the Giants turn this around what a story it will be…

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  4. In sports and business your either growing or dying. The problem most/all Giant fans do not realize is the past 3-4 years the organization has been focused on the big money making Mission Rock project next door. The money making potential of the project makes the Giants as a money maker pale in comparison. The average fan is being duped into thinking the front office cares about this season when all there are focused is Misson Rock. Mission Rock once completed stands to generate for the Giants over…get this…1 as in ONE BILLION a year in revenue. Think. It’s easy to understand.

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    1. PS The Giants cannot serve two masters in chasing the buck. There are only so many resources available. When the Giants have an owners meeting all attending turn their attention to one number on…..the bottom line. Mission Rock is the next cash cow. The Giants team is a smaller subsidiary and less profitable. For the Giants to rebuild the team think…2022

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    2. Giants President and Chief Executive Officer Larry Baer is a remarkably smart and talented business and baseball guy. In 1993 Giants’ principal owner Peter Magowan, along with Baer, brilliantly took financial control of the Giants and they have turned what was a failing franchise into one of the most valuable in the history of baseball.

      In theory, any additional business deals and revenue streams created by Giants ownership should only help solidify the team’s overall status and value. But it appears that ownership is unable or unwilling to bifurcate the baseball side and the business projects side– to provide parallel tracks of excellence and success.

      This group is smart enough to do both, but right now the San Francisco Giants have mediocre front office leadership– apparently employee acquiescence is more valued than actual talent, drive and creativity.

      And it’s not just about winning and losing. Other than an accidental World Series win in 2014, the San Francisco Giants have been a dull, anti-progressive, lifeless franchise the past five years.

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      1. Rich is absolutely correct. When Magowan took control in the early 90’s in order to save the team he stressed time and again the Giants were a ” Community Asset “. The idea took and folks like myself bought it and jumped into the Charter Seat program to contribute to the team and building the ballpark. Since the early 2000’s the annual cost to renew our seats has more than doubled. The ” Community Asset ” increased in value many times over making the owners an incredible return on their money…. and yet… they still passed on to the fans EACH YEAR an increase in the cost of tickets. Not including the fact the ballpark has now been fully paid off !!! And now Mission Rock and its potential $1B in revenue.

        There are many ways to look at this. No one denies the ownership should have an opportunity to make money. But a tremendous imbalance now has taken place where to money being made overwhelmingly outweighs the rewards being exchanged for the fans allegiance. How about this: maintain or lower ticket prices ? What a concept and a drop in the bucket for ownership but entirely out of the question. Check out what the Dodgers have been doing the past 4 years in ramping up scouting and decision making in the organization. It has left the Giants in the dust along with the obvious results in the standings.

        Eventually something has to give. Since 2000 the Giants have made 100 upon 100’s of millions and it may be time for fans to consider demanding excellence for their hard earned $ rather than chasing what has become the fattest and wealthiest of clubs.

        Thanks again, Rich.

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