Monday, July 26, 2010

MLB Trade Deadline Approaching

We're just 5 short days away from the most active trade deadline in all of professional sports, and it's been eerily quiet so far.

Normally there are a few big moves in the weeks leading up to the deadline, as teams want to try an avoid bidding wars, but there really hasn't been much so far. The biggest move to date has been the Dan Haren/Joe Saunders deal in which the Los Angeles Angels made out like bandits. Dan Haren is a perennial Cy Young candidate who is just entering his prime, the type of pitcher you build rotations around, and the D-Backs let him go for a league average left-handed starting pitcher. I don't mean to bash Saunders, but the stacked Angels teams of recent years is really the main reason Joe Saunders' career record is at 54-32. His era, outside of 2008, has actually been below league average. So obviously, I see the Angels as the big winners in that deal, and that's really the only big one to talk about so far and I think it's going to stay relatively quiet this year. There's really only one other big name that is likely to be dealt, and that's Roy Oswalt, but outside of him, the names out there haven't been to exciting.

As far as some of the hitters go, Jose Bautista, Jorge Cantu, Cody Ross, Derek Lee and Garrett Jones have been the names tossed around in recent days. The Giants have apparently contacted the Marlins about one of or both Cantu and Ross, but I don't think either of those guys are big upgrades over the people they'd be replacing. The one guy I like in that bunch for the Giants is Garrett Jones. The 29 year-old came into his own last year with Pittsburgh, and is on pace for a 25 homer, 100 RBI season again this year. He hits for a respectable average (.273 in 758 at-bats) and can play either corner outfield position or first base and is a solid defender. Most importantly though, I don't think the Giants would have to give Pittsburgh the farm to get him. Maybe a Travis Ishikawa/Joe Martinez combo could do it, especially with the way Ishikawa has picked up his offensive game. Also, if the Giants are going to deal with an AL team, they have 26 year-old Jesus Guzman (20 hr, 90 RBI, avg over last 3 seasons), a prototypical DH, waiting in AAA hitting .307 with 14 bombs who could draw interest. Jon Bowker is another guy who just can't seem to find his way into a crowded outfield mix with the Giants and could use a change of scenery. In his last 148 AAA games, the 27 year-old has hit .330 with 33 hr, 113 RBI and is a couple points shy of a .600 slugging percentage. Not saying a contender will come calling for him, but there are plenty teams like the Royals, Nats, Marlins, Pirates, Astros ect..... that could take a flier on a 20-something hitter with some real upside.

I would certainly take Jones over the other outfielder's/infielder the Giants are supposedly looking at, Toronto's Jose Bautista and Kansas City's Scott Podsednik. Not saying Baustista's 27 homers wouldn't look nice in the Giants lineup, and even though his patience and high OBP help make up for his low batting average, I just wouldn't give up a top prospect for him and I know Toronto will be looking to cash in. That holds true for Podsednik as well. Is he really that much better than Andres Torres anyway? If somehow the Giants could get Bautista for more middle of the line younger players like Nate Schierholtz and Ryan Rohlinger, or a package along those lines and stick him out in right field, then sure, he'd be a good add. But if they're going to put together a package of relevant young prospects, that list consisting of the top-12 in my mind at this point (Thomas Neal, Brandon Belt, Francisco Peguero, Charlie Culberson, Ehire Adrianza, Zach Wheeler, Brandon Crawford, Roger Kieschnick, Tommy Joseph, Chris Dominguez, Eric Surkamp and Jorge Bucardo), it better be for someone who's proven himself for a few years at least and will stay around. Dan Uggla is someone who is a realistic possibility and someone I'd consider parting with a couple of those guys for, granted the Giants could keep him around for a few years. If the Giants want a veteran rental they should look at Lance Berkman or Jose Guillen.

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