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Monday, May 25, 2009

Trade Winds Swirling

The Giants have been a hot topic on the MLB rumor mill lately, as they've been mentioned as having interest in a few hitters that may become available over the next 8 weeks. There was also a rumor started this weekend that had the Giants shopping Matt Cain in order to find that bat they desperately need.

Giants fans can take a breath of fresh air, because Matt Cain isn't going anywhere anytime soon. A Giants executive shot down the notion of shopping Cain immediately and said the story had no merit to it. I didn't really see any logic in shopping Cain anyway. He'e arguably been the teams most consistent starter this season (sorry Tim Lincecum) and at 24 years of age, hasn't come close to peaking. Cain isn't going anywhere and even with guys like Alderson and Bumgarner a year or 2 away, the Giants aren't quite as deep with starting pitchers as some make them out to be. They're comfortable, but to say they have an abundance of young starting pitching wouldn't be accurate. While team sources denied the shopping of Cain, they couldn't deny that the Giants had expressed interest in some of the proven hitters on the trade market. A couple of names that aren't going away are Marlins second basemen Dan Uggla and Nationals' first basemen Nick Johnson. I've talked about positives and negatives to Uggla in the past here, but that was written at the end of last year, after he just finished up a 32 home run, 92 RBI campaign for the Marlins. The 28 year-old second basemen has struggled to get going this season, carryign a .205 average into play on Monday. He has, however, heated up lately as he's hit four bombs and 8 RBI over the last 6 games. I just don't know what kind of price I'd pay to attain Uggla. The Marlins are going to want at least Jonathan Sanchez and possibly another young arm. The positives about Uggla is that he's under team control through the 2012 season and he's a 30 home run-a-year type bat that the Giants haven't had on their roster since Barry Bonds left after 2007.

There's also Emmanuel Burris to take into account in this situation. He's had his ups-and-downs so far this year for sure, but he's shown that he certainly has upside and the ability to eventually be a solid, everyday major league middle infielder. The only issue with Burris is his meager .278 slugging percentage, an area in which Uggla would be a drastic improvement. Uggla has played some third base in the minors before, so a move to either of the corner infield spots may not be too far-fethced of a plan if the Giants indeed intend to add him.

The other guy who has been mentioned, although not quite as seriously as Uggla, has been Nick Johnson. The 30 year-old first basemen is in the final year of his contract with Washington and probably won't last the hole year there. Johnson is a proven left-handed hitter who's always around .290-.300 with his batting average and over .400 with his on-base percentage. Johnson doesn't have quite the power that Uggla possesses, but will be on base more and hit for a higher average then him. Johnson is also a better defender at his particular position, where he's considered one of th better defensive first basemen in the game, while Uggla is average at best up the middle. The Nats also have a surplus of outfielders and could slide Adam Dunn into Johnson's place at first when they move and other teams know this so Johnson isn't going to cost anybodies top-3 prospects. Since he's a free agent after the year and probably doesn't have a large market, I'd bet the Giants could acquire Johnson without giving up one of their big league starting pitchers, or either of their top two arms (Alderson and Bumgarner) in the minors. Those are the positives on Johnson, but there are some negatives that come along with him as well. Not only is he a free agent after the year and will probably be seeking a multi-year deal, but he's had a history of injury problems and has played over 100 games in a season just three times in his 7 prior seasons. He's been healthy so far this year, but he's a tad overweight (and that's putting it nicely). He's also not quite the power bat the Giants are looking for. He's a very solid hitter when healthy, but he's never been a big power guy and as a lefty at AT&T Park, it would further diminish his limited pop.

A couple of other names that have been tossed out there, though there has been no conformation that the Giants would have interest, are Hank Blalock, Matt Holliday and Adrian Beltre. That same Giants source who denied the Giants were shopping Matt Cain, also said he didn't see a situation where the Giants would land Holliday, as the A's asking price will probably be too high, and the Holliday is yet to prove his abilities away from Coors Field. Blalock and Belte are both free agents after the year, so neither of them would be ideal adds.... Beltre has had a horrific year offensively, one that makes Travis Ishikawa's look decent, so I don't really see how he could come in and provide a spark to the offense. I guess a move back to the NL wouldn't hurt, but the only way I take Beltre is if he's basically given to the Giants. No way I part with any relevant prospect for third basemen carrying a .568 OPS.... Blalock is interesting though. I've always liked his bat and now he's healthy and playing everyday for the first time in a while and it's reflecting in his numbers. The corner infielder/DH has 11 home runs and 25 RBI on the year while filling in at first base on occasion and looking very comfortable there. With the Rangers atop their division, I'm not sure they'd look to deal any of their impact players right now, but Blalock could make some sense as a first basemen here in San Francisco for the right price.
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9 Comments:

  • At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Fire Sabean!!! said…

    Why not Matt Holliday? Wouldn't he be a perfect fit in left field. Finally give the GIants a power hitter, a real #4 hitter? Guess not.

    ..I personally would much rather have him over Uggla and Johnson, that's for sure.

     
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  • At 11:52 PM, Anonymous Mac Walker said…

    Your right about Johnson, he's not the right fit for the Giants and he's not dependable. Holliday is definitely proven elsewhere then Coors Field. Look at his away splits in the National League (2008: .308 avg, 10 HR, 29 RBI) and 08 was a down year from is hot 2007. He is just not proven in the AL this year. He is heating up though as of late. However, his deal ends at the end of this year and Boras is his agent... so odds are he would be an expensive resign.

    like your stuff though, keep writing

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  • At 2:01 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Mac-

    You hit it on the head regarding Holliday. The fact that he's a boras client is a huge deterant. I think he'd be fine back in the NL west. Not the .340, 36 HR 140 RBI guy he was in in 2007, but probably closer to his 25 hr, 100 RBI .300 average he put up in '08. That said, he's going to be seeking at least a 5 year deal in the neighborhood of 16 million a year. I don't think the Giants will want to go there. Maybe it they found someone to ditch Rowand off onto, but that's unlikely as well.

     
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