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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Nunez dealt as trade deadline nears

Breaking News: Eduardo Nunez was traded to Boston for a couple lower level RHP prospects Tuesday. Starter Ryan Anderson (20 years old) and reliever Gergory Santos (17 YO) will each be headed San Francisco's way. The deal, which was reported earlier Tuesday afternoon became official before the end of the day. I know absolutely nothing about the guys the Giants got in return so can't tell you much outside their numbers. I really had hoped Nunez could have netted another squads top-10 prospect (probably wishful thinking on my end) although Anderson ended up being the cornerstone of the deal at #18 in the BoSox system.

Over the better part of the last decade, as mid-late July arrives, Giants fans have usually been busy speculating on which player(s) this ball club could add and acquire as they make their stretch run and attempt at another World Series tittle. Instead, the 2017 trade deadline will pose a much different goal for Bobby Evans, Brian Sabean and the Giants brass and we saw it in action Tuesday.

With the Giants well out of it, they certainly won't be trading away any prospects this summer, but instead, they may try and re-stock their farm system with some other teams bring young players as they enter the trade season as firm sellers. The Giants are in rebuild mode right now and with the deadline approaching quickly (only a week out), we're entering crunch time. We talked here before about some of the targets on the Giants roster that other teams may have interest in and, indeed, most of the guys you'd imagine as being targets for other teams are indeed that. At the top of seemingly everyone's list though is someone who the Giants may have the most difficult decision on, and that's Jeff Samardzija. With MadBum missing most of the year so far and just now returning, Samardzija has easily been the Giants best, most consistent starter during the 2017 season. His record certainly doesn't reflect that but his low WHIP, high strikeout rate and low walk rate have contenders believing he could be a legit 2 or 3 on a team that will give him some run support and actually close down his wins.

The conundrum the Giants are in with Samardzija is whether or not they think they'll be competing in the next year or two. If they think this is going to be a 2+ year rebuild then they should definitely be open to dealing "Shark". His contract isn't outrageous and he's locked up for 3 more years after this one so that makes him more than just a rental and increases his appeal to potential suitors. Because he's not just a 2-month rental and isn't making crazy money in this climate, the Giants should be able to obtain a nice little haul in return should they so choose to deal him. I'm sure they're taking calls with that in mind and if they get offered what they're looking for, then Samardzija could be on his way out.

The other two Giants that seem most likely to be dealt are infielder Eduardo Nunez and set-up man Hunter Strickland. Relief pitching is at a premium this summer, so I would be surprised if the Giants can't find a nice little package for Strick. I mean, David Phelps, who is nowhere near the caliber reliever Strick is, just brought in a haul for the Marlins on his own. For a slightly above average mid-relief guy the Marlins received two prospects within the Mariners top-10, including their #2 in 19 year-old outfielder Brayan Hernandez. That kind of tells you what relief pitchers can get in this market and Strickland is one of the best late-relievers out there on the market. He should yield a nice little return should the Giants choose to part ways. Even George Kontos and Corey Gearin may get some inquiries but neither of those guys are going to bring in anything to write home about. But it seems that just about every arm in that Giants' pen could be had.

Now, again, the issue with dealing a Samardzija, Strickland or possibly even Matt Moore is that it would signify the Giants entering a long-term rebuilding stage. I mean, I know this team is within distance of losing 100 game this year, but they're 1 season out of the playoffs and 3 seasons removed from a championship, so I just can't see them going with complete rebuild from scratch. Factor in that you have Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Brandon Crawford, Mark Melancon and Brandon Belt all under contract for multiple years to come and those guys are all just entering their prime for the most part. You'd hate to put your core through a rebuilding process during their peak years.

So, all this being said, my prediction is the Giant stay pretty quiet during the deadline. They just pulled the trigger on Eduardo Nunez, although I feel they could have gotten much better (more on that later), and it wouldn't break my heart to see Gearin or George Kontos go, but I really hope 'Strick sticks around. He's the best reliever the team has and by a longshot (although we haven't see Melancon healthy yet). If they let Strick and Shark go then it all but guarantees their direction of heading towards another 2-3 years of losing baseball, at least, and coming off 3 tittles in 7 seasons, I'm just not ready for that.
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